Eager shoppers line up for opening of Aldi in Pooler. Anticipated Bluffton site vacant

Crowds of shoppers lined up for the opening of the new Aldi in Pooler on Thursday morning.

The Germany-based grocery store offered a $100 gift card to the first 100 in line, and early shoppers also were included in a sweepstakes for a year’s supply of produce.

The store is located at 152 Traders Way and is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Earlier this year, the retailer announced it would also open on Abercorn Street in Savannah. That location is expected to open in November, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Nothing about a Savannah store was listed on Aldi’s website.

Also not listed: Any site in Beaufort County.

Aldi expressed interest in a location in Bluffton in the summer of 2018 when it appealed to the county’s design review board to make changes to the exterior of the building that anchors the shopping center at U.S. 278 and Burnt Church Road.

“At this time, it is still too early to confirm any details about potential stores in Bluffton, Beaufort or Hilton Head, South Carolina,” Shaun O’Keefe, the Jefferson Division vice president for Aldi, told The Island Packet in late July.

The Bluffton space that Aldi expressed interest in was once meant to be a Fresh Market, but that fell through in May 2018 amid legal disputes over conditions of the lease with Jaz Development. Green-and-white striped awnings in the Fresh Market style were still in place as of Thursday.

In 2017 Aldi announced a $5 billion plan to remodel 1,300 stores by 2020 add 1,200 stores nationwide by the end of 2022.

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Lisa Wilson is a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.