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Aldi cancels plans for Dawson store
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Corporate officials have announced that plans for an Aldi grocery store in Dawson have been called off.

"At this point we are not pursuing a site in Dawsonville," said Thom Behtz, Jefferson division vice president. "ALDI chooses its site locations based on population density, proximity to competition, cost of the property and traffic patterns to be conveniently based where ALDI shoppers are located."

According to an email from Behtz, the Dawson market is "too small" at this time.

Aldi, which bills itself as the "nation's low-price grocery leader," had plans to build a new location between Kani House and Beartooth Parkway on Ga. 400.

The cancelation came just weeks after the Dawson County Planning Commission approved the grocer's request for a 25-foot reduction in frontage from the required 100 feet setback to allow additional space for tractor trailer delivery truck access to the back of the building.

Aldi's initial plan to bring a store to Dawsonville was well-received in the community.

Aldi has more than 1,300 locations, including locations in Cumming and Gainesville.

According to the company, ALDI is a model of efficiency that eliminates overhead costs by offering "smart" practices, such as a cart rental system and "more than 1,400 of the most frequently purchased items sold under ALDI exclusive brands for prices up to 50 percent less than traditional supermarkets."

Charlie Auvermann, executive director of the Development Authority of Dawson County, said his office, while disappointed in the decision made by Aldi, remains hopeful the grocer will reconsider Dawson County in the near future.

"Every firm has its specific criteria and strategy for expansion and we fully respect those internal parameters," he said. "The development authority will continue to work to attract to Dawson County quality companies like Aldi and many others because we understand the dynamics of our county and our neighbors."

There are plans for several new stores to open in Dawson County, according to Auvermann.

"We will continue to work with those firms as we focus on our future," he said. "At the same time our latest studies ... have determined that the population within a 15 mile radius of the intersection of Ga. 400 and Hwy. 53 is now 326,000 people."

With a median income of $65,500 and a growth rate at about 3.5 percent in the area, Auvermann believes "this is in fact a very significant market."

"You have to look at our general area not just in terms of Dawson County, which admittedly is a rather small county, but also in terms of North Forsyth and Western Hall counties," he said. "People that live in those areas routinely shop in our commercial district.

"That is the reason we have not one, but two new retail centers actively being designed for our Ga. 400 corridor."

Large scale shopping centers are planned for the east and west intersections of Ga. 400 and Dawson Forest Roads.

Those plans also include a national grocery store, though the name has not been formally announced.