Could West Palm Beach soon be renamed Trader Joe’s, Florida?
The quirky, Monrovia, Calif.-based grocery reportedly is snooping around West Palm Beach or Lake Worth for its fifth Palm Beach County location.
Retailers in the area say they’re hearing rumors the grocer is scouting sites. The shuttered Winn-Dixie grocery store on Belvedere Road near Dixie Highway has been mentioned, as well as spots along Dixie Highway, from as far north on Dixie near the Table 26 restaurant at 1700 S. Dixie Highway, to as far south as Lake Worth city limits.
Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority, said he’s hearing similar reports.
The news is no surprise to him. “They’ve always made statements saying they’re committed to coming somewhere in the downtown area,” Clemente said. “But they wouldn’t say where and they wouldn’t say when.”
Instead the timeline was “eventually,” Clemente said.
It’s not for lack of trying on Clemente’s part. Last year the DDA started a light-hearted marketing campaign to lure the grocer to the city, with the slogan: “What would you trade for Trader Joe’s?”
The campaign also promised to rename West Palm Beach. If the grocery store set up shop in the city, West Palm Beach would be known as Trader Joe’s, Florida, for a day.
But the hi-jinks failed to sway Trader Joe’s, which picked sites in Palm Beach Gardens, Boca Raton, Delray Beach and then Wellington. In fact, the company’s site selection started to feel like anywhere but West Palm Beach.
Trader Joe’s spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said the company “had nothing to say at this time” about West Palm Beach.
But the company still is expanding in Florida.
Last week, Trader Joe’s announced it is opening a store in Pembroke Pines, its first store in Broward County. A store in Miami-Dade County’s Pinecrest recently opened. (The Palm Beach County stores are set to open in 2014.)
For those not familiar with the store, customers love the laid-back vibe, including the cedar-planked walls and the Hawaiian shirts its employees wear. Appetizers, artisan cheeses and inexpensive but drinkable wines are popular items.
Trader Joe’s says the “trader” in its name reflects the company’s search for items that are good values but unique.
The company has more than 400 stores in 35 states.
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