A Trickle for a Treat
Two days before hallowe’en and there was no razzmatazz at the 8 a.m. opening of Aldi’s new
Ruthin store, reports Peter Daniels
October 29th and if anyone was expecting to arrive at 7.55 a.m. and be the very first customer within
our new Aldi store, they’d be disappointed. And no marching bands, no balloon arch, no local junior
football team, no DJ compere, no minor celeb. Especially no held-back queue or communal new
year’s eve-style countdown.
Contrast this with November 2017’s Aldi fanfare in Denbigh and you realise that Management
decided the wisest course was to do things quietly. Opening in the teeth of a fire break lockdown
would have its
instead, as early
at 7.30 a.m. we
trickle for a treat
rather than a
tumult for a
with the fever of
at the end of a
Mind you, by mid-morning, the car park was much livelier, with a fuller car park but still about 70 per
cent of the total cars parked at the same time at Tesco. Things will shake out in time. A fortnight later
and cars at Aldi had reduced.
The journey to October 29th began in May 2019 with a consultation at Llanfwrog Community Centre.
There, we wondered why Aldi would ever want to build Ruthin’s third supermarket in a town of barely
6,000 (remember the days when we had a solitary Kwik Save?).
It turns out that Aldi expected Ruthin’s store to do better than Denbigh’s, in spite of a larger
population eight miles farther north. Something to do with the socio-economics of Ruthin, they said.
Aldi had moved into the middle ground, they said.
As if to emphasise this point, 8 a.m. saw a local 11-month-old Porsche Macan SUV turn up in the
car park while its owner went to shop. Such cars retail for a minimum of £47,000. Truly a sign of
Aldi's middle class appeal perhaps, chasing the beer battered fish, the Parma ham, the fresh pesto,
the coconut oil, the gingerbread mulled wine, the houmous, the alcohol-infused mince pies and the
damson plum & pink gin pudding.
Work on site commenced immediately before the March 2020 lockdown and it continued throughout.
There was some minor criticism in March that Aldi had not halted (but construction was exempt). Of
those who expressed an opinion either way, most were keen to see Aldi completed. Aldi themselves
pointed out that they would be providing an essential service (but so was the Co-op & Tesco). Seven
months later, we see that realised.
There were concerns, too, that the site was too far from town but few seemed bothered that it was
on green fields. The site was in the LDP, after all. Contrast this with Clwyd Alyn’s development to the
side of Glasdir, where some
locals considered building on the
If there were no held-back
queues athirst for their first Aldi
fix, there to witness the event
were Aldi’s managers. I spotted
six black company Audi A4 cars.
Four wore 67-plates; one was an
18-plate; and another sported a
19-plate. A sprinkling of black
Audis was also present during
the lead up to the day, with managers no doubt fussing and bustling over last minute details. Today’s
clutch of inky flivvers weren’t the usual shiny examples you tend to see, thanks to the rain that
tarnishes black cars quickly. Aldi managers must spend much of their time cleaning and waxing their
carriages. Black is such an unforgiving colour.
Meanwhile, in a renewed push for your loyalty, Tesco continues to promote Clubcard prices that can
see as much as a third off. They’ve made cosmetic improvements especially to the car park. Within,
Tesco is also promising to match Aldi’s prices.
The two supermarkets are certainly very different and no one can claim that Aldi can substitute
entirely for Tesco but it will make a dent. When the novelty of a brand new Aldi wears off, when Aldi
becomes second nature, when the activity subsides and when the black Audis have forsaken Ruthin
for the next store launch, there’s no doubt for the first time Tesco will still have a run for its money.
The 7.55 a.m. trickle on October 29th. By mid-
morning, the car park was much fuller