March 02, 2005

OOH OOH OOH (and about fuckin' time)!

A Trader Joe's is on menu for boro

BY DEBORAH KOLBEN
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Chalk one up for the gourmands of Brooklyn.
Trader Joe's, the laid-back purveyor of gourmet foods, is looking for a storefront in the Borough of Kings.

"We've been looking in Brooklyn" said Audrey Dumper, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe's. "But we need to find a deal that makes sense for us."

The California-based grocery chain sells inexpensive luxury foods like organic snacks, fancy frozen foods and olive oils from Greece, Italy and California.

They have 220 stores in 20 states but none in New York City.

Stores are typically between 8,000 and 15,000 square feet, a fraction of the size of big-box discount stores like Costco.

"We've identified some areas that we're very seriously interested in," said Dumper who declined to name any particular neighborhood.

The company also is still looking in Manhattan.

Employees at the off-beat grocery chain wear Hawaiian shirts and products have names like "Prelude to a Quiche."

Many shoppers load up on the store's special line of Charles Shaw wine, better known as "Two buck chuck," for its $1.99 price tag in California (it's more in other states).

With Trader Joe's in the mix, Brooklyn may soon have its own gourmet gulch.

Whole Foods is opening a 42,000-square-foot organic foods supermarket in Park Slope with as many as 220 parking spaces.

In Red Hook, Fairway is converting a 19th-century warehouse at the end of Van Brunt St. into a massive supermarket slated to open in the fall.

The fancy food influx is scaring some longtime grocers.

"We don't feel like it will be the end of the coop," said Joe Holtz, manager of the Park Slope Food Coop. "But it will be less crowded in here."

"They have parking and we don't, so that could make them more attractive," he added. The coop is considering expanding its hours and adding services such as helping customers carry groceries to their cars.

Trader Joe's is still considering how much parking it will need.

"We're trying to be open-minded," said Dumper, "because that area is different than any other store we've opened."

Originally published on February 17, 2005

1 Comments:

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