It’s no news that Charlotte is in the midst of a grocery war. What you might not know is that Monroe Road had the earliest Charlotte market entry by a powerhouse international grocer. MoRA got a first hint of this when we spotted a rezoning on Orchard Lake Drive near Sardis Road North. Yes, we track rezonings for you!
Here is the rest of the story.
Lidl (rhymes with needle) bought land along Orchard Lake Drive at Monroe Road last year. A May 2015 rezoning approved construction of a new grocery store at the empty site next to Arby’s. The German-based chain, with 10,000 stores all over Europe, had decided to jump the pond. With plans to open 100+ stores along the eastern seaboard, Lidl has acquired sites in four other hotbeds in the battle for local grocery dollars, including South End, University City, Indian Land and Mooresville. Further signaling their intent to be a serious contender, Lidl is building a $125 million regional headquarters and distribution hub in Alamance County. The latest estimates are that they will begin opening stores in 2018. Meanwhile, they are looking for vendors, staff and even more sites to feed their expansion.
Lidl is similar to another German retailer, ALDI, which is experiencing US success by adding customers with a thoughtful expansion of offerings. Both are considered “no frills” grocers with small format stores. If Lidl can repeat its successful launch into the UK market, MoRA shoppers are in for a treat. Lidl was named UK Grocer of the Year in 2015. It gets high praise for its fresh produce section that includes organic and exotic items. More importantly, its quality to price ratio is deemed “very high.” Lidl’s US public relations and marketing manager told the Charlotte Observer “its markets will offer fresh meat, produce and bakery items, as well as a wide selection of household goods.”
What Lidl could mean for Monroe Road
Business writers have noted major shifts in how we all shop for groceries that are putting pressure on traditional stores. Lidl will play a role in those changes in our area. That could mean MoRA shoppers would benefit as all stores redial their offerings in an effort to stay competitive. At the very least, it will give area customers a new grocery option close to home.
MoRA is in communication with Lidl and will keep you informed as details are finalized. In the meantime, answer this five question survey to give us feedback that MoRA and others can use to recruit grocers to the area, or to encourage improvements to existing ones!
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