Poll results: Which grocery store do you want?

The phenomenon that is Trader Joe’s jumped out to a strong, early lead in our latest poll and held steady for weeks at the 60 percent mark until voting closed last night. It was really a race for second place from the start:

What kind of grocery store do you want?
Trader Joe’s — 59 percent (80/135)
Whole Foods — 8 percent (11/135)
Wegman’s — 8 percent (11/135)
Fairway — 5 percent (7/135)
Other — 4 percent (6/135)
A&P — 3 percent (5/135)
Aldi — 2 percent (4/135)
Stop & Shop — 2 percent (4/135)
Pathmark — 2 percent (3/135)
ShopRite — 2 percent (3/135)
Supreme — 0 percent (1/135)
Brave/C-Town — 0 percent (0/135)

The poll question grew out of the January reorganization meeting of City Council, where President Samson Steinman, who’s up for re-election this year, announced that the city is in discussions to try to bring a grocery store downtown.

Several stores in our poll can be ruled out based on proximity of existing franchises to Rahway: ShopRite, A&P, and Aldi. Most of the options, such as Wegman’s and Stop&Shop also can’t be considered for the sheer size necessary for their stores; a 20,000-square foot grocery would require at least half an acre, and that’s probably just a starting point. Still others don’t seem to fit Rahway’s demographic profile, in my opinion: Whole Foods, for instance.

Trader Joe’s: The closest stores to Rahway are Westfield, Millburn and Staten Island, all within eight miles.

Whole Foods: I’m not sure that their demographics fit Rahway; the closest store is 12 miles away in Vauxhall, which also might not have the demographics, but it’s a newly-built, enormous store that’s just down the road from Millburn, which likely has the demographics WF seeks.

Wegman’s: A personal favorite, though there’s a massive store just down the road in Woodbridge.

Fairway: Only one store in New Jersey, in Paramus. Not sure what to think of their demographics either, as other stores are located on the Upper East and Upper West sides, Harlem as well as Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Stamford, Conn. Maybe it is a good candidate to pursue for expansion into New Jersey, as one reader mentioned.

Other: As some have suggested — and I think might be a good strategy — Rahway might be wise to pursue a chain that’s looking to expand its presence into New Jersey, such as a Stew Leonard’s or Fairway. Among “Other” options mentioned by readers is Kings, which might not match the demographics for Rahway but they do have stores that are on the smaller side which might actually fit a downtown space.

A&P: The huge store in Clark is only a few years old, and former A&P on Westfield Avenue is still vacant.

Aldi: Another personal favorite, it’s owned by the same company as Trader Joe’s, but there already are four stores within 10 miles: Linden, Roselle, South Plainfield, Union.

Stop & Shop: No shortage here; at least 10 Stop & Shops or Super Stop & Shops within 10 miles of Rahway. The Super stores are just too darn big to fit in Rahway, but a regular Stop & Shop (if they still open those) might actually fit.

Pathmark: They’ve already started closing some stores in and around New Jersey the last few years, so I’m not sure they’d be a good target. Also, there are existing stores in Linden and Avenel.

ShopRite, Bravo/C-Town, Supreme: I’d forgotten, until someone reminded me, that C-Town had taken over the former Dembling’s market on West Grand Avenue a few years ago but never worked out.

Any others that we’ve missed? I’m also open to any suggestions for future polls.

12 thoughts on “Poll results: Which grocery store do you want?”

  1. If Trader Joe's wouldn't take the old A&P on Westfield Ave in Clark, where there is already parking (better than they have in Westfield) and basically a turn key operation- the prospect of them coming to Downtown Rahway is slim. I've heard different stories about how A&P/Pathmark held or hold the lease to the property and wouldn't let another supermarket rent the space. If you shop Clark you can easily see why, Shop Rite is jacked and A&P is shriveling on the vine.That said; why does it have to be a chain supermarket? I've brought it up before, but maybe it's just too much work. As far as the progress made down here over the past 30 years….you have to be kidding me. Great strides were made, not everything has been accomplished, but to say that Rahway is worse off than it was when I first came to town in 1987 is ridiculous. Sure, I had to move because that's just what happens when redevelopment happens. It wasn't in my ''business plan'' to ever more out of downtown, but if you're not flexible enough to go with the flow, and you're so rigid, you snap, and in business, that means, you're out of business. I had no intentions of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on my buildings, my stores, my home only to have to move, but I had to. That doesn't make me bitter or mad. It makes me think that perhaps now is the time for it all to come together. If not? OH WELL, all I know is I tried, I did my best, and my customers have supported me all these years; and God knows it's not for the money (have you seen my house?), it's the ugliest one on Milton Ave, but I'm trying. I'm not about to give in, give up, or turn my back on something I believe in. I've had multiple surgeries and medical issues during the whole process, yet I still haven't turned away, and I won't. Rahway is a gem. I'm sorry if other people don't see it like I do, too bad for them; it's kind of like people who don't ''get'' the love of a puppy or kitten, either you see it and feel it…or you don't. I'm glad I do. 🙂

  2. "down the rode"? Mark, I am disappoint. 😉 There used to be a little family-owned independent store right on Cherry St, about 10 years ago. It was pretty filthy, and to call it a "grocery" would be generous, but they did carry a fair amount of produce as well as Mexican foods. So there is precedent for a non-chain store.

  3. If you are talking about the store where the Waiting Room is now – when it first opened, it was clean, stocked and they were doing rather well. They also had a couple of unscrupulous employee's that wouldn't ring items up in the cash register when you purchased product from them. They started a salad bar that was amazing. But, they didn't get support from the community, they were having things stolen, and finally sold to Kim and her husband, who have worked basically 24/7 for years. People do what they can. It's too bad some of them never get the reward of such hard work.

  4. Assuming that there are serious discussions going on about a large store in the downtown, the type of store is not the only factor being discussed.Location is a very important issue. In my opinion the corner of Main and Milton is a superior location to the empty lot/parking lot on Main. There is a lot of traffic on Milton. However, tearing down city hall would add to the cost of the project. And the store wouldn't want to pay for that.Cost is the other important factor. Both locations would probably need parking garages built as part of the project. This could be a deal breaker. Who is going to pay for the extra structure? If I were the investor I would insist that the city pays. Otherwise, I can locate my store somewhere in which space isn't an issue.By the way, before I became a minister, I used to work in the commercial real estate industry.Peace, Pastor Bill

  5. I just wanted to mention that a few of us in town are trying to set up a chapter of a Purple Dragon Food Co-op in Rahway. For those of you who don't know, the Purple Dragon Food Co-op is a bi-weekly delivery of fresh, organic produce to a central location (my house) in your area (Rahway). A Food Co-op is a group of families buying food together and sharing in the labor in order to save money on the food and other speciality items. Purple Dragon sources from multiple farms up and down the east coast, Canada, California and Central and South America. It is different from a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)which is usually one farm. At Purple Dragon, since the food is sourced from many farms and suppliers, there is less risk that a farmer will lose a crop and you will therefore lose your produce and your investment. In season, the food is mostly local. We need 15 full shares to start our chapter, we currently have about 10 families committed. If anyone is interested in finding out more, check out the purple dragon co-op website or email me at mdogsbike@gmail.com It could be a great way to get to know your neighbors and meet others whom are interested in local/organic food and sustainability!ThanksMeghan

  6. @Meghan, that's wonderful. I hope you get enough people involved to get this going for you. I have friends in Sleepy Hallow that do the same. Personally, I've always wished people would stop with the perfectly manicured lawns and landscaping and start growing community gardens, and grow food for people, but I know that's a really big stretch lololol.For the Downtown though, we need shopping. Shopping has to start with feeding the people who live int he downtown, from there it can branch out into other goods needed to sustain ''city'' living with out having to get into your car and drive somewhere. I don't think the focus of a co op supermarket is directed primarily at the people who live west of St Georges Ave. although of course I know people who live there who would support such a thing. If each department of the co op were individually owned i.e, produce, butcher, cheese, seafood, grocer, flowers, bread, cookies and cakes, candy, dairy, and depending upon Board of Health requirements for prepared foods, have kioks (spelling) from either the local restaurants that want to sell prepared foods in a central location, or individual ready to eat take out. This would not only let smaller business get a footing, it would generate jobs and it would generate foot traffic whereby other store could open that are unique, non franchised non homogenized Americana; that would be Rahways ''gimmick'' for a lack of a better word. I know people that are graduates of FIT, SVA who make leather goods (both wallets and shoes and some fetish that would of course be set off somewhere in a store where a parent wouldn't have to explain what that certain ''item'' means and what it's used for. I know people who MAKE shoes, handbags, people who knit, sew, tailor. I have people that make jewelry. I have friends that make organic all natural soaps and body washes. I have a friend who has her own skin care line and developing a mineral make up line who wants to open a store with aestheticians to do facials and make overs. I have someone interested in making and opening ''church'' hats, Agape alone would support him. I have 3 guys from Project Runway who want to have a store front, currently they're hoping for Manhattan and I wish them the best, but they're still high off being on the show and are in the mind set of being the next Chanel (I hope their dreams come true), if they don't or can't get the backing, they would consider opening up a couture store of one of a kind dresses, etc. and selling off the rack or online or delivering to out of towners that may not wish to come to Rahway at this time because of it's reputation of being unsafe and dirty: that's something a PR firm needs to change and we all know perception is reality. And then there's me, who gave my heart soul and $$ for 27 years..and will not give up on this town.

  7. @silent bob…i don't think so, I've driven between Broad and St Georges many times and I think I prevail lolol. What I don't understand is there is/was a program in Union County and Rahway for 2 family homes; you could get a $25,000 grant and then a $25,000 loan, at zero interest and you didn't have to pay it back until you sold your house, and I think you had to stay in the house a certain amount of time….well having a four family, i thought I'd be eligible for it too, nope! It was for siding, windows, etc. According to my brain if a 2 family got 25K why wouldn't a 4 family get 50K or AT LEAST the 25. I get charged at commercial rates for everything, fall under state inspections the same as a HOTEL, but I get no benefits. So NOT fair. I could do a lot with that money on that eyesore!!

  8. Why don't you guys solicit one of the stores that jams a million products into a thousand square feet in Manhattan, like Gristede's or DAgostino?

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