Government

City to Search for New Users of Bottom Dollar Sites

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mayor John McNally says the city plans to reach out to potential users of three former Bottom Dollar locations, now that Aldi Inc. has elected not to reopen these stores and instead sell or lease them.

“In our discussions, they wanted to get the transaction closed first, then they would set the guidelines on which ones they would continue to operate,” McNally says. “So this gives us some clarity.”

German grocer Aldi Inc. said Friday it would not reopen five former Bottom Dollar grocery stores across the Mahoning Valley and western Pennsylvania the company purchased in November as part of a $15 million, 66-store asset acquisition of Bottom Dollar sites. Aldi plans on reopening 30 stores in New Jersey and Pennsylvania under the Aldi name, but said it would evaluate the others for sale, lease or assignment.

Aldi, an international grocery chain, purchased the assets of Delhaize Group subsidiary Bottom Dollar’s locations at 890 E. Midlothian Blvd., 3377 Mahoning Ave., and 2649 Glenwood Ave.in Youngstown. It also purchased locations at 1756 North Road in Warren and at 1700 Wilmington Road in New Castle, Pa.  Bottom Dollar ceased business at these locations in January.

McNally says now that it’s clear that Aldi will not reopen the locations, the city wants to work with the company to find a new user for the buildings.

In November, McNally wrote a letter to both Aldi and Bottom Dollar requesting that the property on Glenwood Avenue be returned to the city, since the city gave the land to Bottom Dollar to build a freestanding store there. The land was formerly used as a public park.

The mayor says  Aldi’s real estate division would be in contact with him regarding the prospects of a transfer or a lease to a third party to operate the stores on Midlothian and Glenwood. Bottom Dollar leased its location at the Mahoning Plaza.

“Glenwood needs a grocery store, Midlothian does as well,” McNally says. “We’ll go back to some of those who’ve expressed interest.”

McNally is concerned that these areas could become “food deserts,” that is, sections of the city that lack access to fresh foods and produce because there are no grocery stores in the vicinity.

Aldi operates stores in Austintown, Boardman and Howland.

In December 2013, the company embarked on an accelerated growth plan to open 650 stores by the end of 2018 with the goal of operating 2,000 stores across the country.

“Not only are we growing our geographic footprint, but we’re expanding our product offerings as well,” Aldi CEO Jason Hart said in a statement. “We will continue to increase our healthy food and on-trend options.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.