Aldi interior

This is a photo of a typical Aldi supermarket interior.

Bakersfield’s first Aldi store will open May 19, the same day the German-based supermarket chain is scheduled to unveil six other stores as far away as Calexico and Palm Desert, the company announced Tuesday.

Aldi Inc. is planning a grand opening event with gift certificate and shopping bag giveaways, as well as a “Produce for a Year” sweepstakes.

The Bakersfield store at 2120 Panama Lane measures an estimated 18,000 square feet. It was built on previously undeveloped land near Highway 99.

Aldi is seen as a discount retailer competing with Walmart. It operates 1,500 U.S. stores in 33 states.

The 24th annual Shoes for the Homeless Shoe Drive kicks off at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Guarantee Shoe Center, at 21st and Chester Avenue.

The drive benefiting the Bakersfield Homeless Center has gathered more than 65,000 pairs of shoes in its history.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it has $22 million in grant money available to support the fight against Huanglongbing, the pest-borne disease threatening California’s citrus industry.

The money comes from the Specialty Crop Research Initiative Citrus Disease Research and Extension Program, authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Pre-applications are due May 16, and final applications are due Aug. 18. For information on how to apply, go online at nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/citrus-disease-research-and-extension-cdre.

Bakersfield is getting a new young sporting league franchise.

The franchise, Florida-based i9 Sports, offers flag football, soccer, basketball and baseball and other sports. It operates more than 4,100 youth programs in 780 communities across the country.

The Bakersfield franchise, owned by former Faast Pharmacy owner Lisa Faast and her husband, Jason, is expected to launch this year.

A Tehachapi company has been named the 2016 Small Business of the Year for the Fresno District of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

World Wind & Solar provides consulting services to companies involved in wind and solar power construction and maintenance. It employs 95 people.

Nearly ruined by the 2012 expiration of the Production Tax Credits, the business has since grown with the support of the SBA and Cal State Bakersfield’s Small Business Development Center, according to an SBA news release. The business is owned by husband and wife Buddy and Nikki Cummings.

The Cummingses will be honored with an SBA award May 12 at the Tehachapi Business Conference.

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