By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Shoppers looking for another grocery store option may get their wish as plans are underway to bring an Aldi store to Manchester Road.
The Planning Board will hear more details on the European market plan at a meeting June 18.
Aldi and a MonkeySports store would move into the former Wal-Mart location at 30 Manchester Road. Ocean State Job Lot now occupies part of that building.
Planning Director George Sioras said the proposed business plan is good for Derry.
“This was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “This is good.”
That part of town has been earmarked for potential growth and economic development for several years. The town completed a major Manchester Road expansion project in early 2013, widening the road and creating a tax increment financing district to help support the work and future economic success.
In September 2012, a new Wal-Mart opened on Ashleigh Way as a retail anchor to help spark retail growth.
“That was the magnet,” Sioras said.
The 155,000-square-foot Wal-Mart brought approximately 80 new jobs to town. That was in addition to workers relocating from the old store, bringing the total staff to approximately 280.
Other new businesses, part of the Pinkerton Place complex, call Manchester Road home. That includes Panera Bread, Woof Meow Family Pet Center and Goodwill, all part of the town’s economic development push on Manchester Road.
Another new plan in process is a drive-thru coffee business, Aroma Joe’s, planned for the former Pinkerton Tavern site at 13 Manchester Road.
Ocean State opened in March 2013, and gave new life to the old Wal-Mart building. The discount store only uses a portion of the total space left vacant.
The proposed MonkeySports store would be approximately 46,000 square feet in size and Aldi would take up another 18,000 square feet in the building. That would fill the building. Ocean State owns the building; Aldi and MonkeySports would be tenants, according to planning assistant Elizabeth Robidoux.
A new facade design would be part of the plan, giving a more unified plaza look to the project, Sioras said.
There would also be parking lot improvements and some dock space upgrades for the new businesses, he said.
There are few MonkeySports stores, Sioras said, only five in the world, including one in Norwood, Mass. The new sports superstore would offer a variety of specialized sporting goods, he said.
Aldi offers a different kind of food shopping, including a shopping cart payment system where customers pay 25 cents for a cart, then get the quarter returned when shopping is complete.
Customers must bring their own bags or purchase reusable ones at the store.
Aldi stores have been in the United States since 1976 with more than 1,100 stores in 31 states. The closest store to Derry is in Salem; another one is under construction on Route 125 in Plaistow.