A Maryland engineering firm working for German grocer Lidl, has submitted plans and rendering for a new grocery store in Bear to the New Castle County land use department. The company plans to build a 29,136 square foot grocery store at the site.
Plans also call for a 7,300 square foot specialty store on the site of the former Countryside Garden Center between Salem Church Road and Brookmont Drive.
Countryside closed its garden center earlier this year. The owner has been selling off equipment but has not vacated the site.
The Lidl development would be located on four commercial lots on 5.1 acres. The store would be located across Route 40 (Pulaski Highway) from the Food Lion store. The stores would share a Glasgow Drive traffic light to Route 40. A traffic study has been conducted for the site
Lidl (pronounced Leed El) has targeted the East Coast for store development. It recently opened a distribution center west of the proposed store in Perryville, MD. The Perryville center was put in mothballs for a time as the company hired a new US executive and reassessed its strategy after opening a number of stores including its first Delaware location in Middletown.
The company has since purchased a small grocery store chain in Long Island, NY. Lidl plans to build a store in Dover, but backed away from a location in the Brookside area south of Newark over an apparent renegotiation of the sale price or Vince’s Sports Center.
Lidl has been looking at smaller locations in urban centers and other areas where suitable sites are hard to find.
Trader Joe’s, another German-owned company, has been targeting urban areas with small-format grocery stores. Trader Joe’s has a store off Concord Pike in north Wilmington but has not opened stores elsewhere in Delaware, despite requests from fans in Newark and other areas.
Family-owned Lidl is an archrival of German-based Aldi. Aldi gained a big head start in opening stores in the U.S. and the Mid-Atlantic, but has no location in Bear. Aldi does have locations near Dover and along Kirkwood Highway, west of Wilmington.
Aldi also operates a store off Pulaski Highway in Elkton.
Like Aldi, Lidl offers house brands at discounted prices along with a limited selection of non-grocery items.
Lidl spokesman William Harwood said no timeline has been issued regarding the store, adding that the company will have a better idea toward the end of 2020.
The site requires rezoning a process that has been known to take a couple of years or more. Lidl has been submitting materials to the county since January of this year.
The filing of the plan was first reported by Delaware Business Times. (Subscription).
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