Poll: What kind of grocery store do you want?

It’s time for another fun blog post, like a new poll. It was mentioned during the annual reorganization meeting of the City Council that the city is in discussions to bring a grocery store downtown, upward of 20,000 square feet in size. A grocery store has long been among the top priorities for residents, so our next poll question isn’t whether you want a grocery store downtown, but what kind?

Which grocery store would you prefer downtown?
Fairway Market
Stop & Shop
Trader Joe’s

Whole Foods

Given the proximity of a few (ShopRite, A&P, Aldi, Trader Joe’s), the demographics of some (Whole Foods) and the size of others (Wegman’s), I doubt whether these are realistic possibilities for downtown but we needed to give you something to vote for. For some perspective, of the 10 or so Whole Foods stores in New Jersey, the smallest is about 17,000 square feet (Montclair), so I’m not sure what could fit downtown, if anything.

Consider the “Other” option for any boutique or single-location store you might be familiar with, and feel free to share details in the comments. Who knows, maybe someone who can do something about it is reading.

57 thoughts on “Poll: What kind of grocery store do you want?”

  1. I've been hoping for an ORGANIC CO-OP downtown for years now. If that's not to be, a Trader Joe's would probably work in that space (although I'd LOVE a Whole Foods within walking distance!)

  2. Nothing would make us happier than a Whole Foods or a TJ's. These are stores we make weekend plans around because they are not nearby and take us out of our normal routine. Consider that Rahway could be the hub for that type of shopping experience and we'd be pulling in people from near and not so near, the latter being the real key to success. A good amount of the clientele would probably be keen on an arts district (think Montclair), building up the general interest in the town.

  3. Oh my God, STOP Building in Rahway until we get the rest of the city full. There are so many empty units all over town. It looks like complete cr@p.If we MUST build how about building things for our kids to enjoy? How about fun things to keep the kids off of the streets. I'm 37 and have been in Rahway since I was 2. I went through ALL of the Rahway Schools, and am very involved with the community such as coaching baseball and soccer.We need more Kid and Teen friendly stuff.How about a smaller version of the Liberty Science Center. Or even a Teen club on the weekends that is used for other community events during the week? Stop building all of these apratments and condos. Rahway is just 4 square miles, and is NOT Hoboken.-Bill

  4. I'd like to see an organic/locavore type of store. One which has fresh meat, produce and dairy of high quality, some interesting gourmet fare with decent prices.Ideally for me, someplace like Alan's in Westfield, but much larger, with better prices and would carry staples along with the food. I'd like to see it run by people who actually care about the products they sell. That, would be a novelty.I'm a fan of several of the stores listed (Wegman's, Whole Foods, Fairway, Trader Joe's) and find others deplorable in every single way I can think of (C-Town, Pathmark, Stop & Shop, A&P). Some, are too close by and will never be built in Rahway due to competition (Wegman's, Shop-Rite) and others stock items far too expensive for this area (particularly Whole Foods).Whatever the case, if this actually happens, if it's new, and clean, and and not one of my least favorites I'll probably be happy with the choice. Having a supermarket right here is of major importance. I'm really tired of getting of the train at night, and buying EXPIRED food from the little grocery on Cherry Street /makes angry face

  5. Mark,You have to think more out of the box on this one. You should have included Fairway & Stew Leonard's in the list. Sure, they're based in NY but are looking to establish a NJ presence. Whoever gets one of these stores in their town will surely win…

  6. All for a trader Joe's or whole foods like store! My concern would be mostly with the parking required for any such type shops. on another note I would like to start up a collection to purchase rotten's house in order to get that cry baby and his negative comments off this constructive blog.Keep up the good work!

  7. Bill, Interesting idea. My only question is, if Liberty Science Center is just a 20-minute drive away, is there a market for something similar in Rahway? Doesn't the Arts Center have kids' programming? What do you mean by empty units, Residential or storefronts? Most of the new residential construction is actually filled. Not sure how many at Carriage City, but Park Square, Meridia Grand, most of Riverwalk is filled.Rich L., Fairway is on the list, but I like your thinking, a great strategy. Stew Leonard's didn't occur to me, though I've heard they're pretty big stores. That's why I like the idea of Kings too; the demographics might not fit, but Kings does seem to have some smaller stores, which likely fits Rahway better (good thinking Joe).Tabula, They didn't specify but 20k square feet would probably require no less than an a half-acre. Not many options downtown as far as I can see.

  8. I'm so glad this is being seriously discussed!!!! There are over 26,000 people in town and we don't have a grocery store? It's weird. Personally I would love a Wegman's, although it probably won't happen. I agree with a lot of people who have commented that an organic grocery or at least a supermarket with a lot of organic produce, and especially meat, would be ideal. It's hard to find organic food around here and there is a big demand for it. Trader Joe's is a great idea, but that's not a regular grocery so you will still have to go to another store for some items. I would like to see a Trader Joes AND maybe a shoprite.

  9. Howdy,Location, Location, LocationI suppose a logical location for this thang would be the empty lots behind The Waiting Room. Though I can't see that there is enough parking. How about City Hall? It was on the table to tear it down a few years ago. Maybe that would be the place? If I had to choose, it would be the Post Office block. That would work great, though the federal gov't might not agree. Peace, Bill

  10. I agree. I think the area behind the waiting room would be good if it is big enough. I hope this is something that is being seriously considered by the city of Rahway. This would bring so much more traffic to the downtown and to the businesses there.

  11. It would absolutely bring a lot of people to town which is sorely needed. The spot near the waiting room would be great, but a parking garage would have to be part of the plan, either on top or bottom of the store . . . maybe under ground.

  12. I voted for Trader Joe's. I know my wife would love a Whole Foods, but that isn't going to happen in Rahway, both demographics and store size reasons. I agree with a lot of the comments. We don't need another low end store or bodega, but s mid-level store to bring in people from other areas also. Let's get some traffic through Rahway and then maybe people will notice and start filling the empty store fronts.Thanks for this poll Mark.

  13. An ideal spot would be up on St. Georges Ave., where people from all parts of town and out of town could get there easily. Easy access in & out.

  14. There is a Pathmark on Saint Georges Ave about 1 mile away. I think it is important to have the traffic coming into downtown. To have it on Saint Georges Ave would not have the same impact as having it downtown.I’m moving into Rahway in April and I know a lot of artists, young professionals, musicians, entrepreneurs that I have personally taken downtown to show/check out the area. They had interest in downtown Rahway since seeing it and two are moving there within the next few months.I wanted to share the comments have gotten from about 14 people I have taken there (many shared the same thoughts)• Many said they didn’t realize that they were building this much• Everyone was excited about the Hamilton Stage• Everyone loved Cherry Street and said should be turn into promenade (a couple of people said it could be a the northeast version of Espanola Way in South Beach)• Many comments on not realizing Rahway had so many places to eat. • Everyone loved the Waiting Room• Many comments on the NO foot traffic• Many though the some new apt buildings were a just a little over priced for the area at the moment• Got comments that is missing a supermarket and a coffeehouse- Like Rockin Joes (in Cranford, Millburn, Westfield, etc)• Got comments needs some small cool shops• They all thought it has potential to be a cool little city

  15. Speaking of organic food, I just want to mention that the pet food place that opened up on Cherry Street; "Pet Essentials", is really worth going into. I hesitated for a long time, for some reason it didn't look very appealing to me and the fact that there were people frequently hanging out smoking at the entry didn't exactly make me want to enter either. However, I did finally go in the other week and I was very impressed with the owner and the items they are selling. If you're the kind of person who is into feeding your dog/cat better quality food this is YOUR store. And, they will get you any other brand you currently use if they don't have it (I don't mean Purina here, I mean healthy food). The owner is highly knowledgeable about what he sells and it was a pleasure to speak with him. Hopefully his store won't fade away like so many others.Ok, back to discussing people food 🙂

  16. I think what would work for Downtown Rahway is a Co Op of merchants, in say the Robinson building or something of that size. Each department can be individually owned, using local and State of NJ dairies, grocers, produce, flowers, ut hum bakers, candy. We do NOT need a corporation coming down here looking for tax breaks, incentives. We need people who want to own a little piece of sky, coordinated, organized, and productive. It's worked all over the WORLD for centuries. I envision a Balducci's feel, a Whole Foods/Trader Joes/Wegmans philosophy, and independent merchants working together to build a community. It starts with food. You have to feed these people in the units being built and not every body can afford to go to a restaurant or order in every night…If anyone is seriously interested in pursuing something like this I will be meeting with people at Little Portugal Restaurant on the 24th of February, again to Occupy RawWay.It's time the people who love this town to get it together, stop listening to nah sayers, dump the negativity, have as much independence from self serving individuals (if the hat fits, wear it) that we can. I've believed in this town for 30 years, gave it my heart and soul and money. I still live here and still want to come back downtown in addition to staying in Clark. But I ain't doin it alone. So people, either put your money where your mouth is, put your time (cause that's all we got) where your mouth is, stop complaining and stop looking for other people to do things for you. If you haven't served the community don't bitch about it until you have.over and "OUT" Joe Levi, That Bakery.

  17. Joe, THAT is a great idea! Great great great! LOVE IT. It can be like a permanent indoor farmers market, but expanded to include lots of specialties like baked goods, a cheese shop, wine, organic meat and groceries, whatever! Very smart.

  18. Joe- I agree that a co-op could be something that would work within Rahway.It is also appealing because it is a socially responsible business supporting local merchants.But this would have to be very organized and well run in order to work I've been to some co-op's in Brooklyn & NYC and the two below were really good.NYC: http://www.4thstreetfoodcoop.orgBrooklyn: http://foodcoop.comI would have loved to go to the meeting on Feb 24th. It’s sounds very interesting but I will be away for work.

  19. @tabula rasa : of course it would:) but there's no better town to make this sort of thing manifest than Rahway. It's mostly a blank slate..I'm not being disrespectful to the businesses that are currently there; but to build a community it takes people will to do a lot of work; and most of the reward will have to be the feeling of accomplishment and knowing we've made a difference. If people are solely looking at the bottom line of business; it's time to realize that financial wealth alone will not give a sense of community..you can't buy it, you gotta be it.

  20. This is a brilliant idea. Have any idea what time you might be meeting that night? I work in NYC, hard to predict what time I might be home at any given evening but if it's possible I'd be interested in coming by and chatting about it.

  21. unknown-I like your blank slate reference ;)I agree with you, I would love this to happen in Rahway. I’m just saying that a strong, sound business plan is needed, just as with any business. That is what I see lacking in many businesses; (be them socially or financially driven) which in turn makes them unsuccessful. I hope that someone with the knowledge on this type of field spearheads this.

  22. @ Siveyaleah any time after 7 on the 24th @ LP.This can happen in Rahway, why not? The large projects of building places for people to live have and are being done, it's up to the people who live in town (I'm on Milton by Harley) to make it a community. It doesn't happen on it's own, but it also does happen organically when people have similar visions of what they want their community to be. It doesn't have to involve all the red tape associated with big corps. We have a canvas to work on. There's tons of talent around here to make it happen. I have believed in this town and I won't give up, sure I had to leave to survive financially, but my spirit still says it can be done. It's time for people to kick ass instead of kissing ass. sorry if that's offensive, but i find it more offensive that a town with beautiful homes, closeness to NYC, the shore, the mountains, the hub of NJTRANSIT's two largest lines, looks like Rahway. That's what I find offensive. Community=Pride=success=a town to live and play in, and you feel as though you're part of something.

  23. Not offensive at all. I moved here only a few years ago and I've been completely confused why a town such as this, one that as you say, as such lovely homes, and good proximity to the City, is struggling so much and can't seem to get a foothold and find it's identity. I lived on Main Street for 1-1/2 years, came there thinking it was going to be vibrant and instead it was dead and depressing. I purchased a home nearly 2 years ago near Roosevelt School, nice neighborhood, and this town really feels like "home" to me but the lack of amenities makes me crazy; or the ones that are here are of such low quality that I am forced to drive out of the area to get what I need elsewhere. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too picky but then I read comments like those posted here and realize that there are many others who have the same feelings as I do. I'll try my best to be there next week – hopefully my job won't hold me up.

  24. Since we have evolved from talking about grocery stores to ways to improve Rahway, I would like to invite everyone to the Rahway Chamber's next networking event – Tuesday the 21st at Cubanu from 6 to 7:30pm It's FREE! We are working very hard (all volunteer organization) to help improve this town. Find out more on our website. http://www.rahwaychamberofcommerce.com

  25. clea, can i come to the meeting? I don't have a business, well wait, the 4 family home is considered a business by the State, so techinically ya, I do:) lol. It's time to coordinate.

  26. While I'm in full support of the Chamber, the Arts, and Redevlopment for each has their own specific task; my vision to establish a community feel has to start with citizens, whether they want to open a business or contribute to the organization of at least starting with a co op supermarket as I mentioned before. All opinions, suggestions, and prior experience is more than welcomed…as long as everyone can place nice together. I've been witness to some ridiculous back drop stories of who doesn't get along with whom, blah blah blah–get over it…either we're all in this together, those of us who want to see this happen, or the people who aren't in favor of such a thing, then just don't be part of it; do what you think you need to do and do it, and I'm sure there's plenty of room for more than one vision, if we're respectful of one another's views, there will be absolutely no problems. It's that simple. Joe.

  27. Joe your on the money, But one of you'r friends who is selling homes in Rahway told this to all it's client's back in the day's that Rahway was getting a supermarket the Gap and also taking down city hall it was one big dream after another or you can call it a pipe dream Joe.

  28. who said what, who did what, and why they did whatever, is in the past..nothing of the past can be changed. look towards the future with imagination. with out imagination, the computer you are using wouldn't be in front of you, same thing about creating a community. i don't want to see it being used as a self serving vehicle for one or two individual to prosper financially from. There are a lot of people in Rahway (RawWay, Wrongway etc. et al) that sincerely love this town. Me being one of them. I put everything I had into it. It didn't ''work'' so to speak, financially. I had to move. In Clark I have parking in front of my store. Clark also has a reputation of not being tolerant of diversity..but, somehow, the powers that be have embraced me and support my efforts. The powers that be also did the same in Rahway, but when you have to start rebuilding, and change people's patterns, some businesses suffer from that. Mine did, to the point where I had to leave. That and a greedy ass landlord where my coffeehouse was, trying to jack my rent from 1200 to 4500 a month. I put a lot into that space, and it was wonderful while it lasted, I'd love to have it back. I hope no big corporations come into the downtown. I'd hate to see that. We don't need to be so homogenized. We need individual talents collectively working toward building a community that is unique – and from that, people will flock. We do not need a major supermarket, we need a space where individually owned stores that are in one building MAKE a supermarket. We need crafters, jewelry makers, shoe makers, hand band makers, people that make soap, candles, on the outskirts a car wash and auto repair, we need a dog park along the river. What we don't need is corporations coming here and bulldozing us into their idea of what a community should be. We have Merck. They should be willing to sponsor and see to it things get done, I'm going out on a limb here, but I think Merck probably has more money at their disposal than all of us residents combined. Just sayin. Jimmy Kennedy dedicated his adult life to changing this town…it's changing. Jenny and I go way back, Samson I just met, Sal and I go way back, Bob Markey and I go way back Nancy Saliga and I go way back…back to the future??? They've worked hard for this town. Matt D and I have been dear friends for 30 years..He's volunteered more time and energy than anyone I know. We all want the same thing, a beautiful town, full of diversity and talent, and an example that PEOPLE can achieve organically, with out personal greediness, exploitation and whom doesn't get a long with whom: put all of that aside. Focus on the positive vision that this can be an ass kicking town full of light, love, and prosperity.


  30. I would rather not throw out the baby with the bath water. Maybe the baby just needs a little scrubbing behind the ears. Change is not always better than what you have. The "grass is greener" fantasy is an easy one to fall for. As far as the Chamber is concerned, we are made up of citizens. Individuals, all of whom have one thing in common, and it's not our political affiliation. We all share a positive, constructive, forward thinking vision. We welcome everyone and we want to hear everyone. The Rahway Chamber is a NON-POLITICAL organization made up of a collection of business owners and residents. Our main goal so far has been to give people a place to network, meet new people, and hopefully get new customers. Our vision is evolving and if anyone has suggestions for how that is to happen we would like to hear them. Not complaints. Suggestions. Anyone can complain.

  31. Tabula, Thanks for the great comments. I'm always interested to hear what peopple think about downtown, especially those new to Rahway yet. Hey, another comment and it's 50 comments for this post!

  32. Just a reminder that tonite, from 7 til whenever there will be people at Little Portugal who are interested in forming a community of people willing to do what it takes to make our town what it should be. Everyone has something to offer. It nothing ''official'' , it's starting out organically, from that it should progress to where a vision of a small productive profitable formidable downtown can emerge. It doesn't have to be government sanctioned, government can not make a community, only we can, then from that community a government is formed to serve that community…not the other way around. 🙂 Hope you can make it.

  33. Joe: first you need to get rid of those people firt (Goverment) they are the problem they don't care they only care about them self see your missing the point all they want is free health Ins. and your paying for it. and a free check Joe Like I said you firt need to clean house City Hall. then you can start with a vision.

  34. People need to rid the government they want through the process set up. I'm not here to do that. Telling me what has to be done first, is from your point of you, which you are 100% entitled to have. I see things differently. I think people are capable of doing more than one thing at a time. We can build a community of citizens that have their heart and soul and want to see Rahway as a cool little downtown, and we can have self serving people (I assume that's what you're talking about) in office. If you don't like the people in office, this is a democracy where anyone is free to run for office, and be part of the very same government you want to change. That's your choice. I choose not to be involved on the political end because of the reputation politics has in general and I don't want to fall into that pit. I'm not doing this to better myself. I'm just fine. I'm happier, wealthier and healthier than I've ever been. I don't need this to happen in order for me to feel any sense of accomplishment or self worth. I've done all that. I want to see it for the town. Eventually, God willing, I'll be able to re open my coffeehouse, my restaurant and my assisted living space. Those are my new dreams. But they're not dreams so I can be ''rich''. I already am. And while it may not be in the financial sense, it's in a sense that money can't buy:) and I never would have believed that to be possible, coming from where I came from and going through what I've gone through; it's all a matter of mind set. I do not pay attention nor give attention to things I don't want. That only builds resistance and resentment. I let people do as they please, when how and what. If I disagree with that person, they don't need to be in ''my world'', but they have every right to be in ''their'' world, and all we're talking about here is a viable Downtown, not the West Bank! So I'm sure while 100% of the people are not going to get along 100% of the time, I do believe that for the most part all of us want the same thing, a cool downtown, self run, free of obligations to special interests, and a place where people can live life and pursue their own happiness. It's something we're all entitled too merely by being Americans:)

  35. they're really not ''meetings'' yet, just gathering of people who want to see this town progress. the next one will be the 23rd at Little Portugal.

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