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Multiple signs that Aldi is coming to Waynesville

Preliminary sketches submitted to the town of Waynesville show Aldi joining Harbor Freight Tools at the old Kmart site on Russ Avenue. Preliminary sketches submitted to the town of Waynesville show Aldi joining Harbor Freight Tools at the old Kmart site on Russ Avenue. Town of Waynesville photo

A real estate marketing flyer along with correspondence between Waynesville’s Land Use Administrator Byron Hickox and an Asheville sign company both point to the conclusion that German grocer Aldi is eyeing a spot in the old Kmart plaza on Russ Avenue.


The plaza boasts a number of businesses including Advance Auto Parts, Blimpie, Hibbett Sports, Little Caesar’s and Big Lots and had been home to anchor tenant Kmart until it closed amid bankruptcy proceedings in 2019.

But the plaza has suddenly become a beehive of activity, with Calabasas, California-based Harbor Freight Tools announcing a location there in 2021. The store opened earlier this spring, and is expected to employ 25 to 30 people, adding to its total of more than 25,000 workers in 1,300 locations across the United States.

Previously, the closest Harbor Freight locations were in Henderson and Macon counties.

Advance Auto Parts is set to move from its standalone building on the northeast corner of the plaza to a new location adjacent to the north side of the Harbor Freight store, according to Hickox.

A 32,000 square-foot spot adjacent to the south side of Harbor Freight — the crux of the old Kmart — remains vacant. To the south of that space, there’s another 26,000 square-foot spot that according to multiple sources will become the newest of Aldi’s 12,000 stores worldwide.

Divaris, a commercial real estate agency in Charlotte, has been marketing the plaza to prospective tenants with a flyer that shows the layout of the plaza.

The flyer confirms the move by Advance Auto Parts and also shows Aldi taking the vacant space south of Harbor Freight.

Around 25,000 cars pass the plaza each day, according to Divaris. Other demographic information listed on the flyer indicates that more than 1,800 people with an average household income of $57,100 live within a mile of the site. Within five miles, there are approximately 31,000 people with an average household income of nearly $72,000.

In February, Hickox heard from Divaris and from Moss Sign Company about making town-approved changes to the Kmart sign. The dialogue about the sign actually began in October, 2020.

Last week, workers could be seen removing the old Kmart sign on the edge of the parcel nearest Russ Ave.

Aldi operates more than 2,700 locations in the U.S. Along with Harbor Freight, Aldi will help plug the sales-tax-collections hole created when Kmart left.

When reached for comment on April 21, Aldi’s Divisional Vice President Shaun O’Keefe said the company did not have any information to share regarding a potential new store in Waynesville.

If Aldi opens a location there, it will be the second new grocer to open on Russ Avenue in Waynesville since Bi-Lo closed in 2019. The Bi-Lo strip mall was razed in 2021, and will soon become the 210-unit Mountain Creek apartment complex.

Also in 2019, Lakeland, Florida-based Publix opened a new location just south of the Kmart plaza, joining regional stalwart Ingles in the growing Haywood County market.

According to Divaris, in addition to the vacant 31,000 square-foot space in the plaza, the current Advance Auto Parts standalone — at 6,000 square feet — will be available once the retailer vacates the building and moves into its new space. There’s also the possibility for a 2,000 square-foot outparcel in the 385-space parking lot.

Leave a comment


  • We've been begging for aldis for years yeah

    posted by Wanda

    Wednesday, 05/03/2023

  • I’ve been lobbying for an Aldi to come to Waynesville with correspondence to the Corporate offices. Well, maybe someone finally took notice. I agree, Aldi will do great here.

    posted by Charlotte Weaver

    Tuesday, 05/02/2023

  • So exited that Aldi is coming !!!!

    Susann Berlin

    posted by Susann

    Tuesday, 05/02/2023

  • This store Aldi will be the best store to come to Haywood in years. Higher cost of groceries in the big bag stores are skyrocketing. Aldi will help the folks in Haywood with very good selections and lower prices. Take your own bags and you will be surprised how fast checkout flies.

    posted by Theresa Hawn

    Tuesday, 05/02/2023

  • This is wonderful news. We love Aldi but only go there once in a while because the closest one to us is in Asheville. I think they will do GREAT!

    Would LOVE to have a Ross store nearby!

    posted by Olga

    Tuesday, 05/02/2023

  • We really hope Aldi's is coming to Waynesville!!!

    posted by Ingrid

    Tuesday, 05/02/2023

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