A Trader Joe's in downtown Los Angeles? Hipters haven't been this excited since Dumb Starbucks opened in Los Feliz.
In both cases, however, it would seem that their enthusiasm has been misplaced. As the company has said previously – and hindsight proves it spoke the truth – a rep told LA Weekly recently that there are no plans for a much-desired TJs in that most gentrifying of hipster neighborhoods, D to the TLA:
The rumor mill, of course, has been on overdrive regarding this prospect:
The blog DTLA Rising appears to have started the latest firestorm over Two Buck ($2.99) Chuck, organic salsa and fat-free muesli:
… Several reliable sources have confirmed that the immensely popular market chain (which started here in LA in 1967) is now actively looking for a suitable location downtown. No specific site has been chosen yet. Eventually it could end up in an existing retail space (with loading capacity) or as part of a new ground-up mixed-use development (like Whole Foods) with a build-to-suit opportunity.
However, as the blog itself notes, TJs is denying this.
And the last time Trader Joe's denied DTLA was in its sights, it was right. In fact, DTLA Rising itself reported in 2011 that TJs said the community was not in its three-year plan. It's 2014, and that certainly appears to be true.
Interestingly, TJs' spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki gave downtown another two-year denial. She told LA Weekly:
At this time, downtown Los Angeles is not in our two-year plan.
Maybe DTLA will have to serve out the final years of a five-year sentence. Still, downtown residents continue to say getting a Trader Joe's in their barrio is at the top of their retail wish list.
A Downtown Center Business Improvement District survey last year, unscientific as it was (it was basically an online, opt-in questionnaire), found that 9 out of 10 downtowners would “likely” shop at TJs if one opened nearby.
Trader Joe's is one of the most profitable grocery store chains in the United States, and we would guess that the corporate bosses are very particular both about space needs and prospective demographics.
However: Never say never. The Trader Joe's spokeswoman certainly didn't.