Checkout lane: A new grocer is entering the area’s already hotly competitive market.

Germany-based Aldi, which this month opened nine Houston-area stores, plans this year to open markets in both Webster and Kemah, according to the company’s website.

The Webster store is planned for 3100 FM 528; the Kemah store is planned for 100 FM 518. Aldi will go up against entrenched chains such as H-E-B, Kroger and Randalls in the north county and Clear Lake area, not to mention Walmart and some Target stores that sell groceries. Arlan’s Market also does a brisk business in Seabrook.

Altogether, Aldi plans to open 30 Houston-area stores in the next three years. A typical supermarket carries about 30,000 items.

Aldi sells only about 1,400 of the fastest-moving products, mostly under its private label and for prices 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets. Smaller inventory and stores mean lower rent and electricity costs, Aldi officials said.

The grocer also encourages shoppers to bring their own bags and requires a 25 cent deposit to use a cart. When shoppers return the cart, they get their quarter back. The system cuts down on the labor of collecting carts left in the parking lot.

Also, a typical Aldi store stays open only during the most popular shopping hours, which depends on location. Staying open later adds to labor costs, officials say.

Aldi plans to open the Webster and Kemah stores later this year but did not provide opening dates. Officials did not return calls about whether more area stores were planned. Stay tuned.

Brushing up: Here’s a creative way to spend time with friends and family. Donna Mittendorf plans a June 21 opening of Painting with a Twist, a franchise at the Gulfway Plaza at La Marque, 11009 Delany Road.

At Painting with a Twist, patrons can bring their favorite bottle of wine, invite their friends and get step-by-step instruction with experienced artists.

Patrons leave with paintings of their own creations. The studio also will accommodate private parties, date nights and team-building events. And it will offer a Kids Academy in July and August.

Painting with a Twist will provide paint, brushes, canvas, easel and a local artist for instruction at the Kids Academy.

The new business will offer some part-time work for local artists. Mittendorf is seeking artists to interview in early May. For information, call 409-933-4700.

Front burner: There’s a new island eatery. Look for an 11 a.m. Wednesday opening of Sandbar Grill, 6310 Heards Lane, in the building formerly occupied by Boudreaux’s on the Bayou. Robin Morrison and business partners Ken and Joy Taylor are behind the concept, which will offer a full menu with such fare as steaks, seafood, hamburgers, hot dogs and more.

Sandbar Grill will be open during lunch and dinner times.

Sandbar owners are leasing the building from owner Ray Caballero. Eventually, they’d like to buy the facility, including the nearby RV park, Morrison said.

Look for grand opening events to coincide with Cinco de Mayo. For information, call 409-744-2111.

Nice exposure: An unusual West End beach house known as Coastal Colors and marketed by Sand ’N Sea Properties got some positive publicity when it was featured in the latest issue of Texas Highways Magazine.

“True to its name, Coastal Colors is a riot of color with a mix of contemporary and vintage furnishings,” the magazine reported.

Coastal Colors is a four-bedroom, four-bath rental with a turret-shaped master bedroom that looks out onto the Gulf of Mexico.

Coming soon: More news about high-end development on the island’s East End and updates on that land-clearing near Tanger Outlets in Texas City.

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to laura.elder@galvnews.com.

(1) comment

Paul Ruiz

ALDI- Has more the 1200 stores in 32 states. Primarily from Kansas to the East coast. By contrast Trader Joe's has more than 395 stores. Approximately half of its stores are in California, with its heaviest concentration in Southern California. The company also has locations in 30 other states and Washington D.C. .

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