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It’s a special kind of FOMO when you live in a town without Trader Joe’s.
All year long, articles pop up to share the grocery chain’s trendy new products or employees’ “goodies to stock up on,” not to mention faraway social-media friends touting their latest TJ’s obsessions.
It’s enough to make a gal beg the company to come to her neighborhood or city — and it turns out that’s one of the best ways to get the TJ’s bigwigs to take notice.
In an appearance on the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, TJ’s senior vice president of real estate and construction, Tracy Anderson, said the company does listen to consumer requests for new locations.
“We’ve got a plan, and that plan is based on customer feedback,” she said.
Anderson said she gets multiple daily emails and calls from folks asking for TJ’s to come to their neighborhood, but it’s not the only way they decide on new spots.
“We look at current stores, where things are really hot,” she said. “We look at accessibility, visibility, parking and square footage.”
And yes, you read that right. The company looks at parking closely, as TJ’s has a bit of a reputation for what Anderson called “crazy parking lots.”
A Freakonomics podcast, reported on by Allrecipes, said that an analysis from AggData also found that many Trader Joe’s locations are in counties with a median income that’s $10,000 higher than the average, but the frugally-minded chain favors cheaper areas inside their upscale market. So a campaign to bring TJ’s in might have a better chance if your location is in a place like this.
Trader Joe’s currently has more than 500 locations in 42 states.
I know what it’s like to live without TJ’s. Denver’s first Trader Joe’s stores opened in 2014 after years of worry about whether they’d ever come to town. Rumors persisted that Colorado’s relatively strict liquor laws were to blame. (One of Trader Joe’s signature attractions is its inexpensive selection of wine.) But according to Anderson, local alcohol regulations don’t impact their decisions.
“It’s not a consideration at all. We just want to open great neighborhood stores,” she said.
Because of those liquor laws, just two Colorado-based Trader Joe’s sell booze — one in Denver and one in Colorado Springs. The other five stores are groceries-only. Which is fine, because the food is good, the selection is interesting and best of all, the prices are totally reasonable.
So we finally got our Trader Joe’s in Colorado, which means it’s possible elsewhere! Just keep sending those emails, or fill out a form on the “Request a Trader Joe’s in My City” web page.
Soon enough, you, too, could be snacking on three-layer hummus and having Speculoos Cookie Butter for dessert!
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