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My Austin Trader Joes Lament

Richard Fenno Sep 30, 2001 03:55 AM

I've been lurking for a couple weeks, getting my bearings, and I've got a point that might start a discussion going.

I'm in the same business the Lead Dog Jim is in, and every couple of months I fly out of Austin with a saxophone over my shoulder to work someplace distant. As a one-time southern Californian (glad to be done with that), I have an umbilical attachment to Trader Joes. In the last couple years, I've noticed myself leaving town with an extra suitcase completely empty, and returning with it completely full of coffee, cheeses, chutneys, various eggplant dishes, sweets, canned and bagged Indian main dishes . . . Well, you get the idea.

I realize that distribution is the determining factor in the expansion of TJs, but, now that they are on both east and west coasts, plus in Indiana and Illinois, wouldn't it seem like Austin, home of more food junkies than any place I've ever lived, would be THE place for the first Trader Joes in Texas? (And there are LOTS of guys and gals with Hawaiian shirts who aren't all snobbed out by certain local markets I could name but choose not to who could staff the place.)

Richard Fenno

  1. a
    amazinc Jul 16, 2007 01:05 PM

    The closest TJ's to Texas is Santa Fe. Was there in April and the store was wonderful and packed to the rafters with customers. I'm so hoping all y'all are right about TJ's in San Antonio. We have a lovely Central Mkt., but TJ's would be oh so welcome. That said, I used to drive to Austin to shop for meat at The Meat Shop and still go to the fabulous Whole Foods there so if TJ's comes to Austin, I'll be there.

    1. r
      rfenno Jul 11, 2007 04:54 PM

      Good news! http://www.star-telegram.com/news/sto...

      Aldi is moving to Texas, starting with Hurst and Ft Worth. And that means there's going to be a distribution system in place. Aldi is TJ's OWNER. Joe sold out a long time ago. They often expand into markets by opening a network of Aldis first, then TJs follow.

      1. LeroyT Jul 3, 2007 11:01 AM

        I have heard that the first TJs will be in the dallas area, not San Antonio. Not sure if that's right, but I work in the grocery biz.

        4 Replies
        1. re: LeroyT
          Cheflambo Jul 3, 2007 11:30 AM

          I agree -- Austin would be a good candidate for the first Texas TJs, but HOUSTON needs one too! We only have one Central Market (Austin has at least two) and just as many foodies as Dallas or SA or Austin. I would gladly drive to Austin/SA/Dallas for business, and throw an extra cooler in the trunk for goodies. C'mon TJs ... what are you waiting for? (standing on the curb with my fork in my hand.....)

          1. re: Cheflambo
            jim1126 Jul 3, 2007 11:42 AM

            I agree - Houston needs TJs - but if TJs follows most other retailers' Texas expansion patterns, they'll be in Dallas and Austin LONG before they ever get to Houston.

            1. re: jim1126
              Cheflambo Jul 3, 2007 12:07 PM

              Oh yes, Jim .... I am familar with the pattern. I was a faithful visitor to the original CM in Austin, and every time I went, I stopped at the service center, found the highest ranking manager there, and begged for a Houston store. It CAN happen!

          2. re: LeroyT
            kuidaore Jul 3, 2007 04:51 PM

            LeroyT, when and where in Dallas?

          3. m
            mlschot Jun 18, 2007 05:44 PM

            uhh, NO. Coppell is the distribution hub for TJ's!! Right next to DFW airport, and i've sent them an astonishing number of emails now that beer and wine can even be sold here. Sorry about the jones you have for it, just pack your bags with stuff everytime you travel. and BTW, check out David's Instrument Repair in Carrollton, TX. Master saxophone repairman with beagles-nuf said.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mlschot
              Chicago Native Jun 18, 2007 07:54 PM

              Ditto on the add'l luggage when in a TJ town!
              Here is a link to voice your opinion on a future store.

            2. r
              rfenno Jun 18, 2007 04:11 PM

              Update: 6 years later, rumors have come to me that the ink is dry on a lease at TX TJ's #1 in San Antonio. I also had an interesting discussion with the manager at TJ's Santa Fe while on vacation. He said that TJ opened a distrbution center in Arizona to service JUST the Santa Fe store and future expansion. Cuts out a lot of time when the perishables don't have to come from Southern California.

              1 Reply
              1. re: rfenno
                LaurenTX2CA Jun 18, 2007 04:23 PM

                That makes me really excited that someday when I'm back in TX there will be a TJ's waiting for me!!

                The best things about TJ's are definitely NOT the produce, but I guess a lot of the frozen food, and fridge section has to be distributed through that center. SA is a surprising choice, I would expect more customers in Austin, inside the loop Houston, or Dallas.

              2. y
                yodbug Aug 23, 2004 03:05 AM

                I'd love to see a TJ in Texas also...i have enjoyed it on both coasts also...i'd like to see one in Dallas also...

                1. d
                  Deven Black Sep 30, 2001 09:47 AM

                  Welcome to the chowtalk. You know, I notice there is no Trader Joe's in the big dog's neighborhood either. Maybe they just don't like brass players. Take up a keyboard and see what happens...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Deven Black
                    Richard Fenno Oct 2, 2001 04:10 PM

                    Actually, there are TJ's in suburban Westchester County, where there are many gigs. I was in New England visiting the ancestral homeland at the beginning of the summer and found one outside Worcester (WUH-stah). Geographically the closest one to Austin is Tucson, and don't think I haven't done the math about renting a UHaul truck and setting my stuff in for 4-5 months at a time. Anyway, here's the link to find one near you:

                    Link: http://www.traderjoes.com

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