Crowdsourcing the Grand Opening of Trader Joe’s on Grand Street

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From the looks of things, your neighbors took Friday’s opening of Trader Joe’s on Grand Street very seriously. Laurie Gwen Shapiro reports that her friend Juliet Goldsand was the very first customer when the store opened at 8 a.m. She arrived at 6:45 a.m.

Some of you shared photos with us. Here’s an aerial shot from François Lacherez:

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From Victoria Reichelt’s Facebook:

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And this one from Abe L:

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A few more from Ronni Siegel:

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Finally, these from Terry Keller:

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Lower East Side Trader Joe’s is Open

ECF7FCF4-3A1F-4794-8D0A-4F0D3DADE269 Here’s a look inside the new store, which opened this morning at 8am.  There was a line to get in, but it wasn’t the mob scene that some had predicted.

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The staff greeted shoppers with flower leis as locals entered and began combing through the aisles.

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Trader Joe’s is in the basement of the new Essex Crossing building at 400 Grand Street (on the northwest corner of Grand and Clinton streets), beneath the Target store that opened in August. The store is open daily from 8am – 10pm.  The opening comes after a bit of rumormongering, raising doubts that the store was indeed opening.

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Trader Joe’s, 7:15 a.m.

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No line outside the new Trader Joe’s on Grand Street yet! The 30,000 square foot store in the basement of the Essex Crossing building known as “The Rollins” opens this morning at 8 o’clock. We’ll be checking back later today…

Jobs at Trader Joe’s: Open Houses Coming Up in August

Rendering of New Trader Joe's at Essex Crossing.

Rendering of New Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing.

Coming up on Friday, Aug. 3, and then again on Aug. 9, the Lower East Side Employment Network is hosting open houses for jobs at Essex Crossing. Yes, conspiracy theorists, the store is opening at Essex Crossing in the fall!

Both events take place at 11 a.m. at Grand Street Settlement’s community center inside 175 Delancey St. (that’s another Essex Crossing building). If you plan to attend, you’re asked to fill out this form.

The Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing will be located in a 30,000 square foot space in the basement of 145 Clinton St. (at Grand St.).

LESEN Open House August 2018

 

 

Yes, Trader Joe’s is Coming to Essex Crossing. Don’t Believe the Silly Rumormongering

Rendering of New Trader Joe's at Essex Crossing.

Rendering of New Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing. Image provided by Trader Joe’s public relations office.

Stop the madness! Trader Joe’s is coming to the new Essex Crossing project. No amount of ridiculous rumormongering will change that.

In recent weeks, there’s been all sorts of online speculation — suggestions that the wildly popular market might be backing out of the Essex Crossing project. The other night at the 7th Precinct Community Council meeting, Essex Crossing Community Relations Manager Katie Archer was called on to address the rumors. She assured traumatized locals that everything is on track for a TJ’s opening later this year.

The public relations office at Trader Joe’s has contributed to the confusion, telling a local blogger (SPBuzz) that the company is, “still interested in the Lower East Side as a potential store location,” without acknowledging that it’s a done deal. [An October 2016 press release from the company’s pr office carried the headline, “Trader Joe’s Signs Lease to Open a New Lower East Side Store Scheduled for 2018.”] The location, at 145 Clinton St., is not listed on Trader Joes’ “Store Openings” web page.

We reached out to TJ’s PR Director, Kenya Friend-Daniel, yesterday, who said, “Our plan is to open a store at that location this year.”  She said no one should be concerned about the fact that the opening is not listed on the company’s website. Trader Joe’s, she said, likes to have store buildout details worked out before announcing a target opening date. James Yolles, a spokesperson for the developers (Delancey Street Associates), said the buildout is expected to begin in a matter of weeks.

Trader Joe’s is a notoriously secretive company. In other cities, it has been similarly cagey about opening details. The Commercial Appeal in Memphis spotted work permits for a new store in January but reported, “a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman still would not characterize the permit application as definitive confirmation that the chain is headed to Germantown.”

This past September, a work permit was filed with the Department of Buildings’ for plumbing work at Trader Joes’ Lower East Side’s store. The 30,000 square foot space will be on the lower level of 145 Clinton St., while a smaller Target store will be on the second floor. Target is not quite as shy about trumpeting its LES arrival.

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Breaking: Trader Joe’s is Coming to Essex Crossing

Preliminary rendering.

Preliminary rendering.

It’s been a hotly debated question for years now: which grocery store chain is going to end up at Essex Crossing? This morning, the speculation has ended. Trader Joe’s is taking a corner space at 145 Clinton St., site 5 of the large residential and commercial project.

The announcement came a short time ago in separate news releases from the grocery’s communications department and the city’s Economic Development Corp. While the square footage was not announced (Trader Joe’s is notoriously secretive), developers had set aside 30,000 square feet for the grocery store. It will be located in the basement of the 15-story residential/commercial building.

If the quirky California-based chain takes all of that space, it will be one of the company’s larger New York stores. Trader Joe’s currently has Manhattan locations near Union Square, in Chelsea, on the Upper West Side and on East 32nd Street. A second Upper West Side location is in-the-works. This past spring, there was talk of a Trader Joe’s coming to Extell Development’s new 14th Street project, near Avenue B.

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Trader Joe’s, Union Square. Photo: Spoon University.

The building at the intersection of Grand and Clinton streets is also set to include a 22,000 square foot Planet Fitness on the second floor. Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2018. The first phase of Essex Crossing also includes a 14-screen Regal movie theater, a Splitsville Luxury Lanes bowling alley, a new home for the Essex Street Market, the Market Line shops and a medical center from NYU Langone.

During a community planning process several years ago, local residents said a full-service grocery store was a high priority on the former Seward Park urban renewal site.

Essex Crossing is being built by Delancey Street Associates, a joint venture of L+M Development Partners, BFC Partners, and Taconic Investment Partners. In a statement, Andrew Katz of the Prusik Group, part of the development team, noted that a commitment was made to fulfill the community’s desire for an affordable grocery. Katz said, “We’re thrilled to deliver on that promise today.”

Figuring out the right mix in Essex Crossing’s commercial spaces is critical. There is some concern in the community that a conventional grocery store might hurt the vendors at the Essex Street Market. Trader Joe’s is less likely to compete with the specialty food purveyors in the historic market, which is moving to a new 30,000 square foot space on the southeastern corner of Essex and Delancey streets.

Trader Joe’s is known for its good prices on high quality gourmet items packaged under the store’s own label. As the company’s press materials boasted, “every item in the store has its own virtues, like high quality ingredients, great flavor, or simply an extraordinary price.” About a dozen new items are introduced each month.

EDC President Maria Torres-Springer said, “Bringing Trader Joe’s to Essex Crossing will help provide families across the Lower East Side with quality, fresh food options in their neighborhood… Increasing food access is yet another way the Essex Crossing project meets the needs of current and future residents, ensuring that this long-anticipated project strengthens the Lower East Side community as a whole.”

The news release also included statements of support from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, City Council member Margaret Chin and Community Board 3 Chair Jamie Rogers. “Trader Joe’s will be a welcome amenity to Lower East Side residents,” said Rogers. “It is an affordable, high quality neighborhood grocery store that meets the CB3’s Guiding Principles for Essex Crossing of providing a diversity of goods at diverse price points. Previous reports of attempts to have Trader Joes expand within Community Board 3 were met with enthusiasm by the community. They will be very happy to hear that we have a firm commitment of Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing.”

The neighborhood lost a Pathmark store on Cherry Street in 2012 when Extell Development bought the site for it’s 80-story mega tower. A grocery store is expected to be part of that project when it is finished in 2019. There’s a Fine Fare supermarket directly across the street from Essex Crossing site 5.

Trader Joe’s has more than 450 stores across the country.