Last Updated on October 16, 2021
There are many stores that are named after people. McDonald’s is named after the McDonald brothers, who founded the restaurant chain in the 1940s. Hardee’s and Carl’s, Jr., subsidiaries of CKE Restaurants, are named after Wilber Hardee and Carl Karcher, respectively. Culver’s is named after Craig Culver, Kohl’s is named after Maxwell Kohl, Macy’s is named after R.H. Macy, Sam’s Club is named after Sam Walton … you get the idea.
Because many stores use a possessive to describe their stores, there are a fair number of people who do the same with Aldi, including many long-time shoppers.
But there is no apostrophe in Aldi. It’s not “Aldi’s.” It’s “Aldi.”
Aldi actually is derived from a name, but not in the traditional sense. Aldi was originally founded by the Albrecht family near Essen, Germany, in 1913. Shortly after World War II, the Albrecht sons, Karl and Theo, bought the store from their mother and began expanding it. The two brothers didn’t always agree, though, and when the two could not agree on whether to sell cigarettes, they decided to split the company in 1960.
But that split didn’t mean the two brothers were finished with one another. In fact, they decided to keep a common brand name, even as they ran separate companies. In 1962, that brand name became Aldi, which was short for Albrecht-Diskont (or Albrecht-Discount, in English). The two Aldi companies, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, expanded throughout Germany, then beyond. Aldi Süd brought Aldi to the English-speaking world in the form of Aldi UK, Aldi Australia, and Aldi US. (Aldi Nord formally came to the United States when it bought Trader Joe’s from that company’s founder, Joe Coulombe.)
So Aldi is not a name. It’s a mashup of the Albrecht family name and the German word for discount. It’s a little like what Sam Walton did when he mashed up part of his last name with the word “mart,” a mostly outdated term for a place where things are bought and sold, to create Wal-Mart (which later became Walmart).
So just like it’s not Walmart’s (unless you’re principal Gerry Brooks), it’s not Aldi’s. It’s Aldi.