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Trader Joe’s shooting for fall opening in Meridian

A chalkboard sign outside the Trader Joe’s store at 300 S. Capitol Blvd. in Boise confirms the arrival of a Meridian location this fall.
Photo by Kim Burgess

For those shoppers excited about a new Trader Joe’s famously “dropping anchor” in Meridian — and there are many — good news is on the horizon.

The wait for a new store opening may not take as long as expected, according to a spokeswoman for the California-based specialty grocery chain.

The likely location is the former Rosauer’s store off Eagle Road.

In April, BoiseDev first reported that building plans submitted to Meridian indicated the store might go in at the southeast corner of Eagle and Ustick roads in the Gateway Marketplace, taking the place of a Rosauer’s which closed nearly three years ago. A number of permits by subcontractors also have been pulled recently, BoiseDev reports.

Clearly, there are tell-tale signs of work activity at the vacant space where Rosauer’s once did business, and the company has a chalkboard posted at its downtown Boise store where it’s taking applications for employees (aka “mates”) to staff a new store in Meridian scheduled to open in mid-October.

“I am not able to confirm an opening date at this time; however, we hope to open the store this fall,” spokeswoman Kenya Friend-Daniel said in an email to the Idaho Business Review. She declined to confirm the actual address though.

“Feel free to follow up in the next week or two” for any updates, she added.

Trader Joe’s is famous for keeping information close to the vest until everything is in place.

What can’t be denied is the store’s fiercely loyal following, generated in part by its product lineup, including brands under the Trader Joe’s name, quirky merchandising, ringing bells, employees in Hawaiian shirts, chalkboard signs and, yes, Two-Buck Chuck.

According to several published reports, TJ’s small footprint — stores and parking lots — translates into cheaper prices for consumers. Most locations average between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet. The former Rosauer’s comprises nearly 17,000 square feet, and it looks like customers will have plenty of space to park.

“Trader Joe’s sells twice as much per square foot as Whole Foods,” the investment firm JLL reports. “Trader Joe’s sells a whopping $1,734 per square foot…In comparison, Whole Foods sells $930 per square foot.”

As noted by Bloomberg, Trader Joe’s competes head-to-head against Whole Foods in many markets, whereas the major food sellers, including Walmart and Kroger (parent company of Fred Meyer), have little overlap with Whole Foods.

Full-scale supermarkets will probably have little to fear from the arrival of Trader Joe’s, analysts say, despite the retailer’s cult following among some consumers. The state’s largest grocery chain is Albertson’s/Safeway, with a market share of 34%, according to industry tracker Shelby Report.

The exterior of the former Rosauer’s store in the Gateway Marketplace.
Photo by Sharon Fisher

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