Aldi is a German founded supermarket chain. While it’s been awhile since I stepped in one, it’s still one of the stores which I keep in the back of my mind because it was the ‘go to‘ when you can’t stock up on name brands. For less, a whole household could be fed and not only that, those who are on welfare rely on the no-hassle service famous for shopping there.
It wasn’t too long ago that I worked with a company which repaired Medion electronics. Being new with the process, I was located in the computer department so I have never heard of the brand before. Soon I learned the vast variety of products was carried throughout Aldi superstores. GPS. Radios. Handhelds. Computers. You name it. They got it.
It was here I got some insight on the German-based company. When you call customer service, there was only one location in the US. While I had little on-phone conversations, those that I had on repairs, I found that parts were shipped overseas and when needed ordered there as well. It didn’t cross my mind that the laboratories were located over in Germany. Now it clicked.
Aldi’s Relationship to Trader Joe
Today as I read news on Aldi’s co-founder, I learned a few things. Theo Albrecht, also bought Trader Joe’s back in 1979. Wow! I’ve heard a lot of great things about this chain as well. One friend recalled it as a place to shop for vegetarians. No matter, that still sounds good to me. I just haven’t made a trip inside to see for myself but the chocolate-chip granola bar which she gave me is convincing enough for me to stop by.
As you can see, the colorful catalogs I’ve received in the past were captivating enough. I don’t have to shop inside to know what’s within. Cheese. Wine. World spices and oddities. My liking to stores which creatively made food their mission to serve was reason enough.
Back in 1971, Theo was kidnapped. For a ransom of over 7 million German marks, he was released. Until then he has been living as a recluse. Recently news of Theo passing away and the mystery of his death were pretty vague in the reports. Only his accomplishments were highlighted. It seems the man is laid to rest without the world knowing.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t know who the man is until now. News like this is captivating to me. It clues me into the world economy and asks me to question further the merchants which I shop at locally. It seems I have taken for granted what is out there. Instead I see what is available and rather than question it for it’s value, it becomes a mean towards my liking.
How has my thinking changed?
Well hard times seeks hard lessons. I’ve been very shallow indeed but time eventually rewards me with knowledge. Besides, who knew Aldi is short for ALbrecht DIscount. As for Theo and his brother Walt Albrecht, they are two names who have made their way across the richest men in Germany’s list. But here in the states, Aldi is all I know of them.
Their story though is one like the American dream. As soldiers for the German army, after World War II, they worked at the grocery store of their parents. Their motto was:
Concentrating on the basics: a limited selection of goods for daily needs.
To this day there are over thousands of Aldi stores in both Germany and the US. What I noticed is while the logo is different from what it is the US, the big A is prominent enough to be noticed by just about anyone familiar with the superchain name. Yep, it’s Aldi alright.
While we step into stores and local chains everyday, not knowing the value of what they provide to our life isn’t noticeable until suddenly it’s taken away. This is the case with Theo Albrecht whom I have read about recently. While I have never heard of him in regards to my economic education, I am familiar with Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
I think highly of these stores and view them as a models which quietly play with the giants. Little did I realize that these inspirations are worth studying to learn from. There are underdogs playing with the big dogs everyday and they come and go quietly without us knowing it. They have weaved themselves into our lives in ways which we cannot imagine because it seamlessly fits. We cannot complain.
The value here is in learning about an entrepreneur who brought to the world his reality, we lived ours as well. Yet the process which it all came about has over the years become so big, we fail to see it as a big achievement in our community. At least for me. I see it as a need and nothing more. Thus, I do not question the validity of the business which has made me happy.
That there is what I consider true business. It is one which provides a need without asking from you too much but provides what is already available to your need not add to it. Not only that, without a lot of convincing, the basics is enough for you to know this is one of those places which you shop at because it is who you are.
- Theo Albrecht, secretive co-owner of Trader Joe’s, dies at 88
- Trader Joe’s Co-Owner Theo Albrecht Dies at 88
- Trader Joe’s Owner, German Billionaire Albrecht Dies
Have you heard of Theo Albrecht? What does Aldi mean to you?