Grocer update: Trader Joe’s in June and the Gaston-Garland-Grand mystery

When we last wrote about Trader Joe’s, we mentioned that employees at the Plano store have been saying the Greenville store is expected to open in June. We also noted that Trader Joe’s is notorious for not divulging information to the media, so we hadn’t been able to confirm that date.

Luckily, it appears that Trader Joe’s does converse with neighbors. After the last post, Patricia Carr, president of the Lower Greenville Neighborhood Association, emailed us to point out a write-up in its most recent newsletter. “At the bottom of the third page is a brief blurb that confirms your June date,” Carr told us.

Sure enough, regional vice president Greg Pauquet told LGNA that the estimated completion date of construction is mid-June. He also noted that Trader Joe’s generally requires a 16-week build-out, but hopes to shorten the window. “As far as we’re concerned,” Pauquet is quoted as saying, “the sooner it opens, the better.”

In other grocery news, or non-news, we still don’t know what grocery store will anchor Lincoln Property Co.’s development at Gaston-Garland-Grand. Commenting on the last post, neighbor Jerri Ann Drake asked whether we had talked to United, the parent company of Market Street, about the possibility of that company looking into the site.

Good question, so we asked.

We profiled the company in the February 2011 cover story focusing on coveted retailers such as Trader Joe’s, H&M and In-N-Out, all of which soon afterward announced plans to move to the Dallas market. At the time, Market Street was being lauded in the Dallas suburbs where the company had opened stores, and Dallasites wondered whether United was looking further south in Dallas proper.

Eddie Owens, 
United Supermarkets spokesman, told us then that United had “considered developing an urban format store — a much, much, much smaller scale [typical Market Street stores are 70,000 square feet], and it might be, to some degree, along the lines of our Taste of Market Street concept where we would have some fresh offerings available as well as the traditional supermarket offerings.” He also told us that company growth was stymied by its sole distribution center in Lubbock, which was maxed out.

Fast forward two years, and the company has a second distribution center in Roanoke, which is allowing it to think more about growth. The newest Market Street — the first one in four years — should open in Flower Mound before Thanksgiving and will be 55,000 square feet, which is “downsizing quite a bit,” Owens says.

“The primary reason is we’re trying to do some things differently and recognize that bigger is not necessarily better, and hasn’t been for us down there in terms of infrastructure,” he says, adding that the Flower Mound store will be “the format of the future” in terms of United’s DFW stores.

As for whether any Dallas stores are in the works, Owens says he doesn’t know of any, but “it’s safe to say that the entire Metroplex is on our radar.” However, “Dallas proper is a frontier we haven’t challenged yet.”

“I don’t know if Dallas proper is on our radar screen or not,” Owens says. “We’ve totally focused on the suburbs, and that’s a different game plan. Every area we’ve gone is where the population is growing and there’s plenty of new land to acquire.”

That’s the other thing: United likes to build from the ground up rather than move into existing buildings, also called retail “infill.” Dallas, which has very little vacant land and lots of old retail buildings, isn’t as appealing to such a company.

“We would consider it,” Owens says of an infill store, “but I’ve been with the company nine years and the only two stores we’ve acquired [rather than built] during that period, we’ve closed shortly thereafter.

“Anything we would do right now we would at least be leaning toward ground-up construction. You could safely say that’s our current MO.”

Based on that interview, we can safely say that the Gaston-Garland-Grand grocer is quite unlikely to be a Market Street.


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.
By |2013-04-08T20:19:32-05:00April 9th, 2013|Business, News|6 Comments

About the Author:

Keri Mitchell
KERI MITCHELL is an Advocate editor and reporter, and also an East Dallas resident and parent of a student at Dallas ISD's Mata Montessori. Email kmitchell@advocatemag.com or follow twitter.com/thequotablelife.