SILVIS -- Customers, civic leaders and company officials gave ALDI all "A's" on Friday.
The discount grocery chain opened its fifth store in the Quad-Cities with a 9 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony, before opening the doors to more than 75 customers ready to shop at the 1210 18th St., Silvis, store.
A 90-slot parking lot quickly filled with cars, and most of the 120 shopping carts were quickly put into use. Customers kept coming and many needed to park along the road and hoof it to the front doors.
Silvis city administrator Jim Grafton said the turnout left him almost speechless. ''To see such a crowd is amazing. It's better than I ever expected.''
Getting everything ready to open went right down to the wire, ALDI Dwight, Ill., division vice president Heather Moore said. ''But we made it.''
ALDI maintenance worker Jay Clover said crews worked until late Thursday night, and returned to the store at 6:30 a.m. Friday to put the finishing touches on everything.
''The store's looking great,'' he said, while drinking a glass of Mountain Dew and carefully eating a doughnut, saying he was trying hard not to drop any crumbs on the floor.
''They really put everything together nicely,'' Mr. Grafton said. ''I give ALDI's all 'A's' for their efforts. They've been so great to work with.''
'"That's a fantastic report card,'' Ms. Moore said. '"And customers have had only positive things to say.''
''I really like it,'' said customer Korry Doxsee, of Silvis, who was first in line. ''I just had to be here for the grand-opening. This is so much closer for me. It's within walking or bike riding distance for me. It's got everything I need.''
"It's great that it finally opened,'' Silvis Mayor William Fox said. ''People have been calling me about every day, wanting to know when it was going to open.''
''This is a great addition to the city of Silvis,'' Ald. Tom Conrad, 4th Ward, said.
Mayor Fox reminded the crowd that the store was a four-year process.''It was an arduous journey that started before I was even elected mayor.''
Customers were treated to free samples of some ALDI brand products, and the chance to win five $100 Thanksgiving packs.
The 17,514 square-foot store showcases ALDI's "new look,'' with higher ceilings, improved natural lighting and environmentally friendly building materials, according to a news release.
Floor space also makes it far easier to fit in more items, store manager Angie Short said. A12-year ALDI veteran, she previously worked as a store manager in Sterling, but said the Silvis store is much closer to her Erie home.
The store will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. ALDI accepts cash, debit and EBT cards.
The Silvis ALDI is the fifth one built in the Quad-Cities in recent years. The last one, at 4211 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, opened in September 2010 and replaced older ALDI stores in Moline and East Moline.
A new ALDI that opened in May 2010 at 1817 38th St., Rock Island, also replaced an older one. New ALDI stores also have opened at 1702 Brady St. and 5262 Elmore Ave., both in Davenport.
ALDI operates more than 1,200 stores in 32 states, primarily from Kansas to the East Coast. It opened 75 stores in the U.S. in 2011 and plans to open more than 80 stores in 2012.