Montclair Lidl – What to Expect When Lidl Supermarket Comes to Lackawanna Plaza

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Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza has been without a supermarket since November 2015. That will change when Lidl, a German supermarket chain with over 10 thousand supermarkets in 29 European countries, including 66 stores in the United States, opens in Montclair. The Montclair store would be 29,000 square feet (Lidl has pivoted, moving in a smaller size direction than its previous US stores) and shoppers can expect it to be filled with Lidl’s own brands — 80-90% of Lidl’s products are private label, including its Organic brand. A majority of Lidl’s product are sourced in the US with some imported European products as well; Lidl has won various awards for product quality.

The first Lidl store in NJ to open was Vineland where employees danced on opening day; the closest Lidl store to Montclair is Union, New Jersey. Here’s a look at what we found and noticed visiting Lidl’s store in Union:

Produce

Lidl offered a good selection of produce — both regular and organic. A bag of organic rainbow carrots were $1.79 for a 2 lb. bag a bag of six mini avocados (normally $2.99) was on special for $1.49. Driscoll raspberries were on sale for $1.39.

Brand names

Yes, Lidl also carries brands you know — Kelloggs cereal, Crest toothpaste, Chobani yogurt, Pampers diapers, Betty Crocker cake mixes, Trojan condoms. Finding name brands is like a scavenger hunt — they are sprinkled throughout, you just have to look.

In addition to brand names, there are lookalike products: Lidl’s version Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and Lucky Charms cereal.

Random stuff

The center of Lidl shifts from typical supermarket staples to the unexpected — think items you might find in Costco. We found aluminum trekking poles ($17.99); USB turntable ($29.99); sous vide machine ($29.99); and a salt lamp ($14.99). There were satin robes, stuffed animals, children’s clothes, toys, books and puzzles, and lots of home decor items, too.

Low prices

Deals throughout the store have orange signage to get your attention. During our visit, there was a buy one, get one free deal on 100% grassfed ribeye steak and a 7 oz. package of bacon wrapped scallops for $4.99. A duck leg confit and stuffed snails were among the more unusual protein offerings. The freezer section was amply stocked with frozen entrees including Lean Cuisine, breakfast sandwiches from Jimmy Dean and Pillsbury toaster pastries, and an extensive selection of frozen pizzas.

And unlike Aldi, you don’t have to leave a quarter deposit to get a shopping cart. You are encouraged to bring reusable shopping bags, but if you forget, you can purchase a paper bag for 7 cents or a plastic bag for 10 cents. Lidl also offers a My Lidl app with rewards, coupons, grocery lists and recipes.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Loved Lidl when we lived in Europe! Great addition for Montclair! And a correction to the last line: Aldi doesn’t charge to use the shopping cart. The quarter is to unlock it. You get it back. I love Aldi, too!

  2. Montclair traded a 100 year old train station for a really big parking lot and a small grocery store experimenting in the US market. It proves the adage: a bird in hand is worth an entire landmark structure hiding in the open. Well done, Planning Board! Your lack of perspective is criminal.

  3. Both adages are stupid. And for the record, the PB’s action was not a good deed, it was a poorly executed rubber-stamp. I still don’t understand how it took a full year to come to the determination they had at the start.

  4. We’ve traded one of Montclair’s most historically and architecturally significant landmarks for the ability to purchase discount salt lamps. The developers are laughing all the way to the bank!

  5. Dumbass me had to Google salt lamps.

    If Pinnacle follows form, the train station demolition should happen during next year’s run-up to our municipal election. It may hand the losing candidates some extra votes, but that’s about how the voters will react. Maybe some stanchions could be directed to next year’s Hillside Swap.

  6. We went to see what all the fuss was about in the Union store. Lidl is an interesting concept that should be experienced before judging it. The bulk of the items in the store are private label items that mimic well known brands. The prices are very, very competitive and we left with three bags of groceries for $75 — try doing that at Whole Foods. The store is open and bright and there is a pretty good (not great) selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Not overly impressive, but adequate. I wasnt especially excited about the bakery products and prepared foods are virtually non existant. Maybe they will up their game in Montclair. Even so, fresh baked bread was far less costly than you find in the local super markets.
    You are not going to find lots of gourmet prepared foods or the feel of a farmers market or specialty food store. For example, cheese selections are limited. All the meat and fish is sealed in plastic. And, there are all sorts of low cost home and clothing items in the middle of the store.
    Not sure of my bottom line judgement yet. Things I have tried are all basic and fine but this is not the store you are going to for a party or a quick dinner. But, for a family looking for basics, it should fit the bill.
    On the architectural comprimises, I am witholding judgement. The heart of the station remains. The train sheds were lost years ago, for and intents and purposes. HPC members (just some) are fighting a lost cause. The front facade has gotten better. And it could even get better yet because of the smaller food store.
    The town council and most residents say they wanted a good quality food store that will not break the bank of the everyday shopper. Well, we got it. Lets give it a chance and offer some positive suggestions to make it work even better.

  7. If you bulldozed the trainshed and put up a fairly substantial circus tent every major grocer worldwide would be begging to get in. FILED: Mar. 6 a TRO to stop the teardown.

  8. If have an open mind you should visit their store in Union or Eatontown on Rt 35. The store is a good fit for the area and better quality than you will find at aldi’s that opened in Bloomfield. In my opinion you can expect millianians and middle income shoppers. The stores are typically 48,000 sq ft this site will be its smaller protype. You cant stay strong stagnet with vancant retail which is an she sore.

    My back ground is with new store development with Applebee’s and IHOP Restaurants over a 40 years so I have my pulse on what would work and not. Been to more planning board meeting around the country to see some of the concerns that I see thathat have been going on.

  9. “The stores are typically 48,000 sq ft this site will be its smaller protype. “

    Appreciate your perspective. The above sentence raises two question for you. If 47,000 sf supermarket space was available and their typical format is 48,000 sf, what do you think is the likely reason Lidl went with a much smaller format here? If this is a U.S. prototype, what is your experience with how many prototypes successfully transition into a new business format and how long do companies typically give a prototype to prove itself?

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