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New Aldi store opens in Christiansburg amid talk of new businesses for the Marketplace

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – Hundreds of people gathered Thursday for the grand opening of the Aldi grocery store in Christiansburg. 
Some had been outside the new store since 6 a.m.,trying to win free gift cards.

“It’s something different for this area and we don't have anything like this,” said shopper Haregewin Bekele. 

This is Aldi's first store in town. Just in the last few months both Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree have opened in the Laurel Plaza. Many are hoping to see even more new businesses soon.

“There have been a few vacant real estate (parcels) in this area of commercial space and that certainly has been concerning to me. And the mindset is to really find anchor tenants,” said Deveron Milne, Christiansburg resident.

It is a completely different story less than a mile away at the Marketplace strip mall.

As the town celebrates the opening of the new grocery store, the question remains, what will become of the Marketplace, which has been deserted for several years. 

Christiansburg is working to change that. It is spending more than over a million dollars to install a traffic light at the intersection of North Franklin and Shoppers way.

It would allow drivers a straight shot to the neighboring stores. It is expected the changes will attract new businesses.

"They already have commitments from three or four restaurants, bigger restaurants, not particularly the fast- food restaurants. And they have asked me not mention any of those,” said Christiansburg Mayor Mike Barber.

 Barber said he has a meeting scheduled Friday with the developers to further discuss the future.