So, whatever happened with that campaign to push for a Trader Joe’s to come to Rahway?
In his State of the City this year, Mayor Samson Steinman encouraged people to complete a Location Request form on Trader Joe’s website, announcing a campaign to get 10,000 requested filed with Trader Joe’s to open a store in Rahway. The mayor said at the time that the city had recruited a developer willing to offer free rent for a year, or if TJ’s preferred to own its site, property taxes paid for a year.
It’s unclear how many location request forms Trader Joe’s received from Rahway. I followed up with Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago but never heard back from them. When I did reach them earlier this year, a spokesperson shared a few interesting insights into how they choose locations though.
Trader Joe’s opens approximately 25 to 30 stores a year across the entire country. The company plans two years out at a time, reviewing its list of potential cities every year. Part of its formula includes:
- Overall population;
- Average income;
- Current and future growth;
- How neighboring stores are doing; and,
The best way for residents to assist in getting a Trader Joe‘s is to submit the “Request a TJ’s in My City” form through our site. “We do not monitor any other sites, track social media and do not accept petitions or track campaigns for stores,” according to a spokeswoman.
“We track all the city/state suggestions we receive through our ‘Request a TJ’s in My City’ form for our market research when looking into areas for new locations, but please note the number of requests does not fast track a store opening.”
I asked City Administrator Cherron Rountree after a City Council meeting this summer about whatever happened to the campaign to push for a Rahway store. There were a lot of social media comments and conversation but not a lot of response otherwise, she said. After last month’s Planning Board meeting, I asked the mayor if anything ever came of the campaign. The decision by Trader Joe’s to move forward to reconstruct the Westfield location pretty much ended the campaign, he suggested.
Just this week, there was some news about German grocer Lidl, which has made inroad in the U.K., has plans to come into the U.S., “hiring staff and scouting retail locations along the East Coast.”
Of course, Rahway also might have some difficulty meeting a few of their primary needs for a site, such as 20,000 to 28,000 square feet, and 1.5-acre-plus stand-alone units or up to 4 acres for mixed-use.
We’ve talked about grocery stores quite a bit over the years with readers here at RahwayRising.com.