Monday, July 22, 2013

Trader Joe's to open in Boise in 2014; who wants to take the lead in getting one here?

The Trader Joe's building site in Boise, at Front and Capitol. Some thought they'd never see one, but an opening is planned for 2014.
There's been a fair bit of excitement directed toward Natural Grocers, the Colorado-based chain that is building a store on 17th Street and plans to open it in November.

What I'm interested in seeing (as I'm sure many of you are), however, is what might follow in this store's wake. After Natural Grocers opened in Boise in February 2012, Whole Foods followed suit with a store that November. Now Trader Joe's is building a store at 300 S. Capitol Blvd., with an opening planned for 2014.

That's right, Trader Joe's, one of those chains that incites a feeding frenzy in BizMojo Idaho readers. Those of you who have followed this blog since its inception nearly two years ago may remember that I got wind of Natural Grocers in a conversation with Assistant City Planner Brad Cramer, who told me about a cryptic phone call he'd received. They were asking about a possible site for a 15,000-square-foot specialty grocery store. It was all he knew.

I suggested in print that maybe it might be worth calling Trader Joe's to ask if they had any plans for Idaho Falls. They didn't, but this was one of my first lessons in building readership. I learned there was an intense interest in having a Trader Joe's here.

Checking today once again, Trader Joe's stuck to its standard line -- they plan 18 months in advance and there are no plans for an Idaho Falls store within that time frame. But starting next year, you won't have to go all the way to Oregon, Washington or California to get your Two-Buck Chuck or specialty pasta. You can go to Boise, and to be fair, there is a TJ's in Salt Lake City as well.

Trader Joe's told a Boise TV reporter in December 2011 that the market wasn't in their two-year plan. But Boise did have one gung-ho TJ's fan, Jared Buff, founder of the Bring Trader Joe's to Boise Facebook page, which had 5,745 likes when I looked today. Buff saw his dream come true in March this year when he received word the chain would be building at Front and Capitol.

Persistence and patience pay off. Don't you forget it.

Here's a link if you want to pitch Idaho Falls to the Trader Joe's people:

Here's a link to stores they have planned:

And here again is a link to the best and worst of Trader Joe's, which I found entertaining: