More than two years after Lidl received approval to build its third Delaware store, it’s still unclear when the German grocer’s Bear location will open.
The store has been under construction since the middle of last year, but company spokesman Chandler Spivey said the store is “still in the planning stages.”
Spivey said Lidl “expects more updates in the coming months”.
The approximately 30,000-square-foot store replaced Countryside Nurseries and Garden Center at Pulaski Highway and Salem Church Road. Other details, such as store signage and shopping cart enclosures and some landscaping, have been in place for several months. A “coming soon” sign was recently posted along Route 40.
At one point, Lidl planned to open the store in July 2020, according to New Castle County planning documents. At the time, the company was still in the process of getting county approval.
DELAWARE Grocery Stores: Delaware’s first Wegmans is taking shape. The store will be smaller than the Concordville store.
The county finally approved the project in May 2020. A few months later, the Bear store appeared on the list of 50 Lidl stores expected to open by the end of 2021.
Today, 45 of those 50 stores have been opened.
Lidl pushed back the timetable for the store’s opening to autumn 2022, when asked about the apparent progress of construction in September 2021.
“Like thousands of businesses, we’ve seen COVID-19 put pressure on our materials supply chain and that’s affecting our planning,” said Will Harwood, Lidl’s director of communications.
Lidl still has to pass a final county inspection before opening. County Planner Janet Wink said there are “several interior design elements that need to be addressed and all the necessary landscaping needs to be installed.” After these points have been considered, the company can request a final inspection to obtain the necessary housing certificate to open the business.
Lidl received its commercial building permit in December 2020. After receiving an extension in January, the permit will expire on June 10. Wink says the Department of Land Use will allow two permit extensions “provided the project is still close to completion.”
If Lidl gets a second extension, its building permit will expire at the end of the year.
Lidl positions itself as a high-quality, low-cost alternative to traditional “cookie-cutter” grocery stores. Like its German counterpart Aldi, Lidl’s offerings are more limited than traditional grocers and are displayed in shipping boxes. About 90% of Lidl’s products are produced under its own brands.
Both companies have more than 10,000 stores worldwide, but Aldi has far more in the US. With more than 2,000 stores, Aldi is the third-largest grocer in the US, according to JLL. Lidl has about 150 stores in the United States, concentrated on the East Coast.
Since Lidl announced its Bear location, Aldi has added more stores in Delaware, located in Christiana Town Center on Route 273 and along Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach. The company has plans for another location in Millsboro, bringing their number in Delaware to eight.
Lidl has stores along Warwick Road in Middletown and on Route 13 in Dover.
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