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Trader Joe’s trading in East Downtown?

February 29, 2008

The opening of any Trader Joe’s outside California makes news. I mean, what other grocer offers gluten-free organic TV dinners precooked frozen meals and two dollar bottles of wine? Exactly.

So, we all know the the sole Trader Joe’s in Albuquerque has gone completely gangbusters from day one. Heck, that wasn’t too hard to predict. SoCal ex-pats + -(Trader Joe’s) = Demand. Not very surprising, TJ opened their first Burque store smack dab in the middle of the most affluent part of town. (Forgive them for being risk adverse.) Anyway, after the Albuquerque store’s first week of operation the obvious question was, “Where are they opening the next one?”

Trader Joe’s is a fifty year old company, and if they wanted to be everywhere they could have easily raised the capital and done it by now.  Let everything marinate for a minute… ah, Trader Joe’s gestation period is a little longer than Starbucks.

So, are we getting another Trader Joe’s? Well, yes… to the best of my shaky/what you might call/close enough to knowledge.

Trader Joe’s locations are popping up a little faster around the country. TJ isn’t committed to a one store per town policy. So, more store openings and a bona fide hit in Albuquerque mean we’re getting another Trader Joe’s, right?

Yeah, those are good indicators, but we don’t know until we know, you know?  And, here is what I know: no one has said there won’t be more Trader Joe’s in Albuquerque’s future. BAM! How is that for insight?!

We’ve all heard murmurs about a new grocery store in Huning Highlands East Downtown… a Whole Foods? Trader Joe’s? Tesco’s Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market? We’ve also all heard a grocer won’t move in because there aren’t enough people. (*Cough* Bullshit. Residential density, while an important part of the equation, isn’t the only part of this algebra.  How about the near 100k that work in or commute through downtown daily?)  And, people are moving back to Downtown. Naysayers, do what you do, but folks are buying some (relatively) expensive square footage in Albuquerque’s core.

It is only a matter of time before Downtown strikes a grocer (besides Lowe’s). The hot action is still near Old Albuquerque High. While I like the idea, I have my doubts. Namely, traffic. Grocery stores are busy. Where are you going to put the cars? What are you going to do when the intersections back up? I’ve heard several folks suggest a store on Arno St. Well, the only space with the right footprint seems like the ABQ High Arts building. Nice pad, but you can’t have grocery store traffic there (unless you maybe block auto access to/from Central Ave.). I’ve visited other downtowns’ grocery stores with underground or rooftop parking, but I think it’s safe to say we won’t get anything like that at Old ABQ High. Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea, but logistically I don’t see it happening. Someone, show me how it is suppose to work.

Back to Trader Joe’s. Last year I spent several months working in California. My temporary residence was across the street from a TJ. I’d stop in every two or three days to pick up some carbs, protein and other food pyramid blocks. Anyway, checking out one day, the manager rung me up. He wanted an ID for the booze. Scoping it, my bearded clerk voluntarily voiced, “New Mexico? Don’t see to many of those. You live in Albuquerque– we opened a store there not too far back. It’s doing hella good business. We’re going to open at least another there.”

And there you have it. Some store manager out in California says we’re getting another Trader Joe’s. It’s gotta be true, right? Yeah. Well, we’ll see.

I like the EDo idea. It’s the whole fruition part I’m waiting for; we’re waiting for. There has to be something behind it.  You’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, we’ve all heard it. Golly-gee. Enough hearing, let’s see something.

In other grocery store news, I think we’re a day or two from seeing our another Whole Foods proper. Peep the Carlisle/Indian School Wild Oats, yo.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Mario permalink
    February 29, 2008 1:44 pm

    I don’t see why the TJ’s would not open at least 2 more stores. Nob Hill / Downtown works as does the Coors Corridor.

  2. chuk permalink
    February 29, 2008 10:11 pm

    Well, then I guess compared to you I have first-hand knowledge. Because when I was talking to a cashier at the Albuquerque Trader Joe’s a few months ago, she said that there were plans to open another one here in about a year. And they factor in the ZIP codes people give them when they check out into their decision on where to build.

  3. John permalink
    March 3, 2008 7:35 am

    There *are* two large parking areas nearby the High School. One is the private garage, which would be a hassle, but TJs could set up something if they wanted it bad enough. The other is the Baptist Church (for a closed church, it seems like the parking lot is always full…), which is a full block away, but huge.
    Of course, if TJs just wanted to buy the church, problem solved.

  4. *Anon* permalink
    March 11, 2008 12:26 pm

    Just FYI…Mitch Blacher is interviewing a few EDo residents, including myself, for an investigative piece on the vacant Manual Arts building. I was personally hoping for Nicole Brady…or at least Steve Stucker. I’m going to reserve judgment, but his pieces tend to be more combative than insightful.

  5. *Anon* permalink
    March 18, 2008 7:55 am

    Interview with Mitch went well, if it airs, it won’t be until late April. Looks like he managed to get the owner’s attention, though. When I walked by last night, three people were inside the construction fence talking about improvements to the first floor (the only one zoned for commercial).

  6. April 10, 2008 7:54 am

    I agree about Mitch Blacher. He’s just come in from who-cares-where and wants to stir up as many stories as he can to get ratings and make a name for himself, the little prick.

  7. Mario permalink
    June 5, 2008 2:29 pm

    No posts since Feb 29th? What’s going on, surely we have some updates in the Q. I beieve, but can’t confirm Sephora is making it’s way to ABQ Uptown, and that’s about all I know.

  8. ~A~ permalink
    June 21, 2008 11:19 am

    Sephora is going to be in coronado mall

    and TJs will be at ABQ Uptown

  9. Mario permalink
    June 23, 2008 6:04 pm

    @A – I followed the link you provided and most of the Sephora locations have been built already with ABQ and one other yet to be built. The other location does show on Sephora’s website as opening soon, any ideas when they’ll build out the location inside Coronado? My wife has missed Sephora a great deal since leaving the Bay Area.

  10. Kay permalink
    July 31, 2008 2:26 pm

    ABQ Uptown is what I’ve heard from the folks at the TJs already in town. Also Nob hill on the distant horizon.

  11. Michael R. Bernstein permalink
    August 12, 2008 11:49 am

    I’ve also heard ABQ Uptown. More specifically, they are going to be in phase 3 (construction of which has not yet started), so the TJs there will open sometime in late 2009.

  12. Marcel Browne permalink
    November 25, 2008 8:31 pm

    I just stopped by the downtown smoke shop/market on Central and 3rd street, and was informed that they are no longer selling beer due to fear of a fine for selling to underage kids. I understand that fear, but now I am truly amazed. There is no place — not one single place downtown — to by a six pack (besides Marble IPA which I do love)… So now it is official, downtown is in a crisis and we need a grocery store now. It is hard to believe that you cannot buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or a six pack in a major downtown in the good old US of A… Is there any other downtown in this country, or in the world for that matter, where this is true? Come on Marty… Throw us a bone here. We have two giant parking lots there where the old Greyhound station used to be… We need to encourage the owners of those lots to go grocery. I know they are making bucks off the movie crew parking, but come on — total eye sore and grimy/gnarly to boot. Is this really so hard to understand? We need a grocery store.

  13. December 24, 2008 10:50 pm

    Vwell to me, I thinka dee bessta part iz off 40 and 98 towards blake etc. we hava soo mucha trafic here and residents & only a choicee we hava iz a walmart typa supomaket–so mizter trader joey, come take our moneyee

  14. TJmike permalink
    February 11, 2009 9:12 am

    Trader Joe’s is going to open a store @ uptown right along Indian School. Should be open second qtr of 09. They do use the zip code survey to help determine where not to put a store, Ie if your from Rio Rancho and you spend your extra 20 bucks at TJ’s the dollar amount spent during this survey tells them that ave sale from that zip is going to be 20.00 Therefore no TJ’S for you! The Uptown location will have 120 parking spots, so should be apple for the trade there. They did look into putting a store in Nobhill, but feedback was that customers will travel out of Nob hill and UNM to a Trader Joe’s but not into that mess to go to a TJ’s I agree.

  15. February 16, 2009 5:19 pm

    We miss your posts. I can back up the Uptown comment – unless that is just something the TJ management has trained their cashiers to say. 🙂
    It’s celar that this would totally rock in the Nob Hill area. It is always such a tough sell for out of town businesses. I was shocked and happy to see Sunflower to go in at San Mateo and Lomas. This should bode well for TJ down here.

    Mark Baker
    Baker Architecture + Design
    Albuquerque, New Mexico

  16. tjmike permalink
    March 26, 2009 4:03 pm

    SEEEEEE I told you so, they have broken ground in uptown. Will open in July 09

  17. Elaine Baca permalink
    April 14, 2009 11:48 am

    “Let it MARINATE (not marinade) for a minute”. Merinade is a pronoun, and marinate is the verb you wanted. Can’t believe it got past (how many people?)

  18. June 15, 2009 8:04 am

    New TJ is under construction in ABQ Uptown.

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