Officials with national retail grocery chain Aldi met with city of Branson staff Tuesday, but a representative from the chain said there are currently no “solidified” plans for a Branson location.

Melody Pettit, city communications manager, said Aldi representatives met with city staff Tuesday, during an Open for Business meeting. According to the city’s website, the meeting is “An informal setting where business owners and city representatives meet to discuss and resolve technical issues affecting proposed business development.”

When reached for comment, a representative for Aldi said there were currently no definite plans for a Branson Aldi location.

“At this time we do not have any solidified plans for a store in Branson,” Mark Bersted, Olathe division vice president for Aldi, said in a written statement.

Discussion on a potential Branson Aldi store surfaced in February 2018, when Branson Mayor Karen Best said she spoke with a district manager who told her Aldi was planning to come to Branson in 2019.

“I said I’d been lobbying for an Aldi for years,” Best told the Tri-Lakes News at the time. “(I asked) ‘When is Branson going to get an Aldi?’ She said ‘We’ll be there in 2019.’”

Friday, Jan. 18, Best posted on Facebook “Aldi’s is definitely coming to Branson. I’m not at liberty to share location until Tuesday.”

Best followed up on Tuesday, after the Open for Business meeting took place, posting “Stay tuned regarding a possible Aldi’s...as there are many factors involved in opening a new location.”

Ted Martin, Branson fire chief, also commented on Best’s post, saying interest in the chain coming to Branson has been encouraging.

“It’s no secret they are looking at expanding their market by securing a store location in Branson,” Martin wrote on Facebook. “The Aldi’s leadership and development teams are working to secure the right location and working with community leaders and city staff to make this happen. Remember, there are a lot of pieces in the puzzle to make a big project like this go, location, access, land price, construction, land development, a lot of planning.”

According to Aldi’s website, the grocery chain operates more than 1,600 stores in 35 states.

At the request of the Branson Tri-Lakes News for comment, Pettit issued an official statement from the city of Branson:

“The City of Branson works hard to encourage and attract a wide variety of new businesses. While the City would welcome an Aldi, at this time, the City does not have any solidified plans for an Aldi store in Branson. Aldi representatives did recently meet with City representatives in an exploratory meeting  called “Open for Business.” It is a free service offered by the City of Branson which consists of representatives from various City Departments. The meeting is an informal setting where business owners and city representatives meet to discuss and resolve technical issues affecting proposed business development.

“The City of Branson would encourage anyone who would like to start a business to visit our “Open for Business” page on our website at http://www.bransonmo.gov/567/Open-for-Business.

“There, we have broken down the steps to opening a business in Branson into four easy to follow steps. If anyone has any questions about this process or questions about businesses coming into town, please contact City Hall by phone at (417) 334-3345.”

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