July 12, 2018

Trader Joe’s preps for late summer store, warehouse openings

PHOTO | Trader Joe's
PHOTO | Trader Joe's

Grocery store chain Trader Joe's is aiming for a late summer opening of its first store east of the Connecticut River, a company official said Wednesday.

Its new Bloomfield distribution center is on track to open around the same time, a town official said.

The store, at 1510 Pleasant Valley Road in Manchester's Plaza at Buckland Hills, is listed on the company's website as store No. 563 "coming in 2018."

Employment applications are being accepted at Trader Joe's West Hartford store, 1489 New Britain Ave., in the Corbin's Corner shopping plaza, company spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said Wednesday.

While an opening date hasn't been confirmed, Friend-Daniel said the company is "hoping to open to customers towards the end of summer."

Trader Joe's is taking over the former Eastern Mountain Sports store, which has been vacant since the sporting goods retailer went out of business after a bankruptcy filing in 2017.

The Manchester store will be the grocer's eighth in Connecticut and the second in the Hartford area. In addition to West Hartford, the chain has stores in Danbury, Darien, Fairfield, Orange, Stamford, and Westport.

Trader Joe's also is preparing to open a 690,000-square-foot distribution center in Bloomfield, which will employ 675 workers, José Giner, that town's director of planning and economic development, said. The facility has been completed, and town officials are in the process this week of scheduling final inspections, Giner said Monday.

"They have had temporary certificates of occupancy for a couple of months now and have been busy hiring and training employees," he said.

"They are ramping up to be fully operational by the end of the summer," he added.

The Trader Joe's grocery chain, which has an avid following, operates 475 stores across the country. It is known for its private label store-brand offerings as well as a casual atmosphere featuring Hawaiian-shirt-wearing employees.

The chain's stores are smaller than traditional supermarkets, averaging less than 15,000 square feet, according to company's website.

Trader Joe's started in the late 1950s in the Los Angeles, California, area, as a group of convenience stores then called Pronto Markets. In 1967, founder Joe Coulombe, changed the name to Trader Joe's, enlarged the stores, and expanded their offerings.

In 1979 the Albrecht family of food retailers acquired Trader Joe's. The Albrechts also operate the Aldi supermarket chain. The chain boasts of "no sales, no gimmicks, no clubs to join, no special cards to swipe."

The chain keeps prices low by buying directly from suppliers whenever possible, in volume, the website adds.

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