Trader Joe’s

How many Pipeline People have ever shopped at a Trader Joe’s? Jane and I are pretty big fans, but the three Twin Cities TJ’s are all waaaay out in the suburbs and not convenient to get to. Now, there’s a plan to build a Trader Joe’s, oh, about a block from our house. It’s not official yet, but it seems to be moving through the process towards final approval.

We are firmly in favor of the proposal. Hell yes, I’d like to be able to literally walk to Trader Joe’s any time I want. And I mean real walking distance, not three blocks, which looks good on paper but ends up being a walk you don’t take nearly as often as you thought you would.

There is local opposition to the project, citing traffic concerns, but we already live near a pretty busy intersection. If anything, some of the infrastructure improvements they would make as a part of the project would help the situation, even if there were more cars overall.

And, the intersection where TJ’s would stand is currently pretty much urban blight, some of the only urban blight in our part of town. For a project that uses no government funds, that would contribute jobs and tax revenue to the city, that would keep many St. Paul shoppers from traveling out to the burbs and keep them here in town, what’s the downside? I don’t see it.

Frankly, I wonder how many of the people who are against the project would change their view if they had shopped Trader Joe’s and knew what it was like. That’s not to say that there can’t be some legitimate reasons for people to oppose the project. Some people may prefer looking at blight as opposed to a parking lot. I get that, to a point. But there’s no question our own support is not about generic development, but rather this specific development. I wouldn’t support a supermarket, or some fast-food joint. (Well, a Chipotle wouldn’t be all bad.) But Trader Joe’s kicks ass. And we want one.

The only problem for us is that we were pretty much set on moving in the next year or two. Is the convenience of a store like Trader Joe’s worth staying for, even if it means adding on to our house? We don’t have any idea.

Throw in that Chipotle and I’ll have the plans drawn up tomorrow.

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9 Responses to Trader Joe’s

  1. Nathan D says:

    The real issue is whether your property value (and those of the people complaining) would go up or down. In our old ‘hood in San Francisco the entire neighborhood overnight became more valuable (and livable) when they put in a Whole Foods within walking distance. But, traffic was never our issue in the middle of a major city.

  2. David says:

    Wow. I’ll buy your house if I can walk to a trader joe’s (and I’ll need to walk, given the amount of cheese cake I would be consuming). I think it’s a win / win situation for you guys. A tj will boost your property value when it comes time to sell (after all, it’s not on your block), and in the meantime, you can run out for a three dollar bottle of wine whenever you get thirsty.

  3. Charley says:

    I agree–it’s win/win. You get the Joe’s while you’re there and the higher home value if you move.

    What if they put in a Happy Chef next to it?

  4. pipelineblog says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty much a solid win for us. We already live near an interstate. If the choice is interstate plus blight vs. interstate plus super cool market/liquor store, it seems like a pretty clear choice unless you happen to be one of the six houses or so that live RIGHT next to it. Sucks for them, but a clear win for us and the greater good of St. Paul.

    And yes, I will substitute Three Buck Chuck for water henceforth.

  5. Mike Berre says:

    They have the best licorice ever.

    St. Paul, and other urban areas, needs to make some long-term decisions on neighborhood development. Things will not go back to where they were. A business like Trader Joe’s is only a positive. Grand Ave, I think, is becoming complacent in this regard. Managed growth is right, but there may not be anyone following into locations that are closing (Sydney’s?).

    Three Buck Chuck is just too good.

  6. Steve C says:

    I can honestly say that I have never been to a Trader Joe’s.

  7. mrfares says:

    Joe has the best price and selection on almonds too. Will StP allow them to sell wine?

    By the way, I am mobile posting on the 21A which is not something I considered a future scenario in high school.

  8. Charley says:

    is this just a MN tax thing? It called 2 buck Chuck out here in CA. It’s $1.99 at TJs here.

  9. pipelineblog says:

    We’re pretty big on the sin taxes here in God’s country. I think that’s why it’s 3 Buck Chuck here, not 2.

    jane (not Doug)

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