Plans for a new Trader Joe’s store on Chicago Avenue in Evanston drew applause, as well as some questions, at a community meeting Thursday night where neighbors got their first look at renderings of the design for the market.

Evanston Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes the grocery store site, reassured residents that all traffic to and from the store, including deliveries and garbage pickup, would  come through Chicago Avenue, rather than through the alley behind the planned building.

Top: A rendering of the planned building, looking south on Chicago Avenue. Above: Alderman Melissa Wynne speaks to the roughly 60 people at the meeting, held in the gym of the Chiaravalle Montessori School.

And she said the city’s traffic engineering staff will be investigating whether any changes to traffic patterns, may be needed to deal with the store’s traffic.

But she noted that the Blockbuster video store that used to occupy the site at 1211 Chicago Ave. also drew a lot of traffic — especially in the evening.

A Trader Joe’s official said the store is likely to employe at least 60 people with at least 40 of them hired locally in Evanston, and that it will most likely be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Scott Gendell of developer Terraco, Inc. said his company has done more than 90 projects since its founding in 1986 in the Chicago metro area and nine other states.

Developer Scott Gendell talks about his company’s track record.

He said those projects include the shopping strip at the corner of Central Street and Crawford Avenue that includes a Starbucks, and the project in Skokie that saw the 1926-vintage Skokie Swift train depot moved and totally renovated.

Wynne said that the city’s $2 million investment in buying properties for use as parking for the story would be repaid from new tax revenue within four years.

Challenged by a resident about whether the new store wouldn’t just cannibalize revenue the city already receives from the nearby Jewel and Whole Foods markets, Wynne said that city officials met with representatives from Whole Foods before the Trader Joe’s project was announced.

A rendering looking north on Chicago Avenue, with the canopy of the gas station just south of the store site in the foreground.

She said they were told that while Whole Foods might take some traffic hit when Trader Joe’s first opened, their experience in other markets suggests the business would rebound to its previous level within six months.

Gendell said the experience from other communities indicates people will shop multiple stores on a single trip.

“People who go to the Trader Joe’s in Northbrook also go to the Garden Fresh market nearby,” he added.

Architect Mike Breclaw said the landscaped parking lot would include bike parking near the store entrance.

Architect Mike Breclaw of OKW Architects said the new store would have a variety of materials ranging from brick to slate to metal panels like those used on some of the nearby auto dealerships.

Some residents said they didn’t much like the metallic auto dealer look, but Gendell said the metal planned for the south side of the building, next to the gas station, would also provide a surface that could be used for murals to be created by local artists.

Despite some skeptical comments from neighbors, most joined a round of applause when one man praised the plan, saying the store would be a wonderful addition to the community.


More stories about the Trader Joe’s project

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Trader Joe’s

    Out of the three stores that will be there, I like Trader Joe's the best but …what will be the effect of Trader Joe's on Jewel and Whole Foods?  And will this work to benefit us?

    1. The benefits will be minimal

      90% of Trader Joes business will come from Evanston area residents that already shop at Dominick’s, Food for Less, Jewel, or Whole Foods. The remaining shoppers will come for 2 – 4 miles away.

      Assuming that the city will recover its investment of 2 million dollars, the best case scenario is that it will take 15 years if it is based on the city's share of sales tax revenue.

      The people who think that Trader Joes is the Holy Grail of food stores will think that this is a great investment. Trader Joes thinks the city's investment is manna from heaven. The majority of people in Evanston will think they have been hoodwinked out of their tax dollars.

      1. I know of a number

        I know of a number of Evanstonians who make weekly trips to the TJs in Northbrook or Glenview.  I go to the Glenview store weekly and drop $100+ each time. It is not unusual for me to run into an Evanston neighbor there.

        1. once a week Tj’s shopper

          the idea that it is roughly the same pricing as Whole Foods is ridiculous.  it is way cheaper.  which is why I go once a week and spend $100 at the one on Lincoln in chicago.  

          that is neither here nor there re the parking lot expense but jsut FYI for those who have not been there — it is much cheaper and more wonderful.

  2. Auto-centric design

    Why not have a more pedestrian friendly design without the side lot, such as the new Trader Joe's on Diversey? This is only slightly better than a standard auto centric strip mall in Schaumburg. 

    1. It’s auto-centric because the City is buying them a parking lot

      The reason they aren't doing a more people-friendly design is because the city is actively encouraging it by subsidizing their parking.  Take a look at the design of their store on Diversey in Chicago: parking on the roof and paid for entirely by the developer.  Take a look at the design of their sister store, Aldi on California south of Devon: parking on the roof and paid for enitrely by the developer.

      Wally engages in secret negotiations and gives them a Southern California sprawl style subsidy.  Extremely lame.

      This location is about 250 meters from a rapid transit stop for crying out loud.  If the city really wants to be "multi modal" they wouldn't allow–let alone PAY FOR–this type of development.

      The funny thing is is that Trader Joe's is obviously comfortable with transit- and pedestiran-oriented development when you look at their other stores in the area.  We can simply chalk this up to a council/Wally failure.

      1. Parking parking parking

        "The reason they aren't doing a more people-friendly design is because the city is actively encouraging it by subsidizing their parking."

        It would be nice if the City were to allow Trader Joe's – or any other business – to just open up a store, without a requirement for parking spaces.  Either by granting a zoning variance, or changing any codes that require stores to provide parking.

        Unfortunately, we aren't go to see this in Wynne's ward.  She is probably the most pro-parking of all aldermen.

  3. Competition is good.

    Competition is good. We can hope that Trader Joe's will result in more competitive pricing and selection at the other two stores.

  4. Possibly capturing revenue from Northbrook and/or Glenview?

    It's not clear where skipw obtained his statistics… but I can state, anecdotally, that I know several Evanston residents (including myself) who currently shop at Trader Joes in other communities and will be glad to leave their cars at home and patronize a locally-accessible Trader Joes.  And for those items I cannot get at Trader Joes, now I might be more inclined to go to the Whole Foods or Jewel in the area, too, given their proximity.  I am hopeful that additional competition will encourage the Jewel on Chicago Avenue to become a more enticing place to shop (even though I live nearby I actively avoid going there because of the limited selection compared to other stores, poor layout, and general griminess).

    1. Trader Joes is a good business

      I have been to TJ in Glenview and I like it. It is kind of a novelty. It is like Coors beer was 40 years ago, you had to go to Colorado to get it. It has some unusual products with their owe name on it. They sell some organic products that some people buy because they mistakenly think that organic is healthier and they are willing to pay more.

      TJ's busiest time of day is when the store opens. They good deals on products that are date stamped. They need to either sell it or toss it. This is a good business move. Later in the day, TJ refers to their clientele as the Volvo people. These are people that drive relatively expensive cars and don't mind paying a higher price for a banana.

      Like many businesses, groceries draw most of their busy from people that live within 2 miles of their location. When they have their grand opening, they will draw people from a greater distant but this will gradually drop off. After a couple of months, If you draw 10% from greater than 2 – 3 miles, you will be doing very well. The 90% of your business that is local is business that is not shopping at other stores. You are not going to buy bananas at Jewel and TJ. That means that if you generate banana sales tax at TJ, you will not generate banana sales tax at Jewel. The city will not see a lot of increased sales tax revenue. It will take a longer time for the city to recover the 2 million dollar investment.

      I agree with you that the Chicago avenue Jewel is not the greatest of Jewels but they probable carry more than twice the number of products that Whole Foods carries. And Whole Foods probably carries twice the number of products that TJ carries.

      It will probably nice to have the TJ in Evanston but it was a very poor deal for Evanston, financially.

      1. I love Trader Joes, but don’t want to subsidize them with taxes

        SkipW- I'm with you on your opinion, but don't make this a class warfare issue.  Who cares what kind of car people drive to the store or whether some are willing to pay up for organic-It's a free country!

        The residents of Evanston now have no right to "vote" with our tax dollars whether or to support TJ or not.  The chosen few of city council have taken 2 million of OUR money and made that "vote" for us.

         I am a Trader Joes groupie, and I do drive weekly to Glenview to shop there later in the day in my messy Pontiac. However, I am totally against this use of my tax dollars.   If Trader Joe's corporation thinks they can make money in our town, let that be their incentive.  Let the city lower tax rates for everyone, and encourage new business by streamlining the process.  Have you ever tried to get a permit to do anything in this town?  What a nightmare.

        How would you feel right now if you were Jewel or Whole Foods?   The city has just given their competition an unfair advantage.  Who in city government will even check if this "investment" was a good one?   If the elected officials don't win next time around, will the new appointees even care?    At 50 cents a banana, it's going to take a heck of a long time to make a sales tax equivalent to 2 million dollars.

        How much of our money has been given away for studies, grants, and subsides just this year in the name of economic development, while the city council simultaneously lets more chosen few out of paying taxes completely?   Facade improvements for favored businesses, marketing grants  for the chosen business districts(Main, Central, downtown), tax free status for the building across from the police station, marketing grants for the development at Main/Chicago(building not even built),  theater feasibility studies(no theater built),  new TIFs on Dempster/Dodge, parking grants, wine bars, pancake houses, wind mill studies The totals on all these individual projects is small, but the overall spending is millions and millions.   What is the return on any of this?!!!      

         I'm in favor of paying city government taxes to provide services such as fire, police, libraries, public works, parks,  and recreation. I'm against taxes to subsidize private companies or studies to see if private companies can make money. 

         Wilson is the only one on that city council with any good common sense.   



        1. Volvo

          The Volvo comment was actually made by an executive of TJ when refering to the type of car their average customer drives.

          1. banana eaters in volvos

            LOL- Well, this Torrent driivng mom thinks that Trader Joes should pay for their own damn parking lot 🙂  

            Keep my tax money to pay for the public pensions, north side community buildings that are continually on the chopping block, and perhaps better snow services in the winter so I can get that car out of my street over to buy those bananas.





          2. While I agree with your

            While I agree with your comment about not using taxes for TJ, I'm not sure bloated public pensions are worth my taxes dollars either….

          3. volvos, pensions, bananas, trader joes, and socialism

            First off, the comments about the volvos make me chuckle-  Does it really matter to anyone other than yourself and the people you want to impress what kind of car you drive?   god knows I don't care, and I'm guessing 99.9% of you don't care what kind of car others drive, unless you are jealous and wish you could have that car too. God knows I'm jealous of anyone who can keep their car interior clean 🙂    

             As for this turning into a public pension debate, the public pensions ARE bloated.   I myself belong to a teacher's union. The union, at this point, has secured an 8.5% on all Teacher retirement money deducted from my paycheck, with no risk to me.  Now tell me, if you have an IRA or other money market account, are you guaranteed a 8.5% return, compounded, risk-free, over the course of your entire working career, on your investments? 

              With this being said,  I'm not against unions or inviduals, negotiating the best possible deals.  Everyone who works for money, as anyone with no daddy's trust fund or rich relatives does, because they need it.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore working with children, and I love serving them. But at the end of the day, even teachers and other public employees have heating bills and need money, so we negotiate the best deals for ourselves.

            The problem is when the government officials, voted in by the masses, make promises that are totally unrealistic, just to secure future votes for themselves.   Gone in America are the days of statesmen who were independently sucessful men/women who just wanted to serve the public.  Welcome to the days of buying out the public with unrealistic promises in order to secure your own future as a politician.     For example, does Jan Schakowksky even have any other skills other than making votes in congress?   Her own husband is a convicted felon for tax evasion, yet she proclaims that the rich should pay more in taxes.   Seriously?  

                   What we are witnessing in our country is not a fault of captitalism failing, but a fault of government not allowing capitalism to happen.       By nature, capitalism lets businesses fail and then innovative growth to spring from it's ashes.  In America, and in microcosim in Evanston, is the government unwilling to let the market function.   A few in power thinking that they know better what businesses to prop up and which to let die than the "market", which is just the truest sense of democracy- the people voting with their money.

              Those who are willing to risk their own money, as in investment bankers/ a bank,  are in a much better position than those in city council, state, or federal government,  as to which businesses to lend money to- as it is their money that will be lost if the business fails.  As for the crash of '08- When the banks took crazy risks and lost, the bank bond holders should have lost money and the banks should have failed. Not one bondholder in the crash of '08 lost money.    Instead, the rich got richer, and the tax payers paid more. This is not capitalism.

            When the city council puts our tax money on the line for these local investments, it is not their skin in the game- It is on the backs of all property owners in this town.  Some "investments" may work out, and some will not-  The point is that the taxpayers have no choice as to whether they want to invest in whatever economic plan the city council members choose.  We pay more in taxes because we are forced to pay, by law.   By definition, when government starts controlling private business it is called socialism. 

            I prefer living in a capitalist, free market society, where people have a choice as to what to do with the money earned from their efforts.  

             I want the country back that my grandparents foughts fought for-   I want back the country that made my immigrant husband choose to leave his homeland for-   

            I don't want to publicize the risk and privatize the gains. I want to leave this city, state, and country as a better place for my own young children and we are on the wrong path.

            Let Trader Joe's pay for their own damn parking lot.





          4. Well said, Jen

            Bravo Jen, well said.

            These words sound like the springboard to an aldermanic run for the City Council.

            You've got my vote and support.


          5. What days were those?

            "Gone in America are the days of statesmen who were independently sucessful men/women who just wanted to serve the public"

            When was this magical time, when statesmen  were   independently sucessful men/women who just wanted to serve the public?

            You mention stateswomen…so perhaps this magical time was after women were given the right to vote.   Who were these noble politicians who just wanted to serve the public?   Can you name any Illinois  "statesmen", other than the sainted Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson- who might fit your description?

            [ and no…Charles E. Dawes, the original Bankster Bailout Crook… not an acceptable answer.]

          6. No I can’t name one person in Illinois, and that is the problem

            Can you name one?  

             Isn't that sad.


          7. No guarantees but city inaction

            "The union, at this point, has secured an 8.5% on all Teacher retirement money deducted from my paycheck, with no risk to me.  Now tell me, if you have an IRA or other money market account, are you guaranteed a 8.5% return, compounded, risk-free, over the course of your entire working career, on your investments?"

            I think you may be mistaking the "secured" "guaranteed" 8.5% returns with the actuarial assumptions of return on investments.  These assumptions of earnings do cause problems: assume the returns are too low, and then more dollars must be paid up front to cover shortfalls.  Likewise, assume the returns are too high, then the unfunded liability grows when anticipated returns do not meet expectations.

            This is why hiring reputable actuaries is so important.  This is why the police pension board sued the city in the '80's–the city's actuaries were basing their assumptions on patently false data (I.e. that police officers typically work until age 67, and that they only live 5-10 years past retirement) instead of basing calculations on reality: that police retire at age 50-55, and live 20-30 years into retirement. 

            Couple these blatantly false assumptions with skipping and/or shortchanging even these ridiculously low pension contributions, is it any wonder that the city has dug itself a huge pension hole?  And even after the city was sued (and somehow defended itself successfully) did city officials look at their past practices and make corrections?  No.  They continued the same pattern for decades, and created payment "plans" that put all of the burden of repayment on future taxpayers, in exchange for short-term savings. 

            Well, now those balloon payments have come due, and the city cries poor, and lays the blame on police, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers, unions, you name it.  Anything to avoid taking responsibility for their decades-long inaction.

          8. pension promises… no bananas just sour grapes

            You've just listed all the reasons why the government does a shit job of managing pensions.

            TRS offficials told teachers that they'd get an 8.5% return, but then the state only sold bonds to cover a 5% return- TRS assumed they'd make the additional 3.5% in the market.  Not only did they not make the 3.5%, the state didn't use all the bond money to fund pensions.

            It appears to me that our own city has underfunded the pensions in the same irresponsible way. 

            I'm not looking for a magical person here to solve our problems- just some elected officials who are willing to tell the truth about the situation and claim some responsibility, regardless if it wins them votes next election.   Honesty and integrity appear to be lacking virtues in our Illinois elected officials-in our federal officials too for that matter.   Just blame the other "side." 



        2. Trader Joes… And I don’t want to subsidize them with my tax $$

          Spot on Jen… 

          I will admit that I rarely shop at Trader Joes – they were just too far away and I don't get to Glenview very often.  I prefer the great values found at the Greek Market on Oakton (Marketplace on Oakton)… excellent value (esp their deli – at least 5 kinds of feta for the Greek boy).  I do look forward to shopping there when TJ's finally opens… but I am appalled that the citizens of Evanston are subsidizing them – as if our market is unattractive or something!

          =;D  Brian G. Becharas

          P.S… Go easy on the Volvo thing – they are excellent cars that put safety first – Saved my life in a high speed head-on with a drunk!

        3. Is that area so deprived of grocery stores?

          If the area Trader Joes was so deprived of any place to get grocerys MAYBE that area could get these gifts from the the Council.  Last I looked they are not deprived.   Neither do many/most of the people in that area lack cars and in any event the CTA is close.

          What about north Evanston ? Aside from D&D you have to go over a mile to Dominicks.  The CTA is not nearly that close to either Dominicks or Jewel in Evanston/Wilmette. O.K. there is a Pace bus.

          If Trader Joes cannot make it without hand-outs from the city, they should not be openning the business anyway.  Instead the Council in its wisdom has decided it is a 'winner' and I assume the Council owes it to the people there to give them a store.   What about all the businesses in Evanston that have made it on their own or those that could not survive because they did not have a 'SugerDaddy' [aka Council] to make gifts to them ?  No they [like residents] suffer because of the taxes that go to enable the Council to lard it on those they 'choose.'

      2. TJ, job well done

        "It will probably nice to have the TJ in Evanston but it was a very poor deal for Evanston, financially." 

        I think this statement has no merit whatsoever.  TJ will be a winner for Evanston on every level and in every way.  The jobs created are immediate, numerous and needed.  Increased competition always, always, always brings direct and immediate benefit to consumers (us) in terms of better pricing, offerings, etc. 

        The statements you make about percentage business shirinkage etc. are not born out by what actually happens in this scenario around the country, as expressed by those who really know what their talking about.  ie the competitors like whole foods.  As a business owner I also know that the limited shrinking pie scenario of thinking is outright wrong and always has been.

        As far as the money "invested" by the city, that is also nothing but positive.  There is a difference between an expenditure, a subsidy, and an investment.  Even if the city analysis of return is wrong and it takes twice as long for payback on the parking, we still come out ahead.  Once the lot is paid for, four years or eight, we do nothing but collect.  Real estate taxes, Sales taxes, liquor taxes, historically low interest debt will be paid off,  property will be owned outright, and all that improved cash flow conintues on for decades.

        Pretty simple stuff actually.  Thank you Wally and City council for no longer listening to the voices that have held Evanston economic development back and put us in such a bad position.  Thank you for taking positions that realize the long term benefits derived from these small short term investments.  Thank you for helping insure Evanston jobs that will generate millions of dollars in paychecks annually. 

        Job Well Done.

        1. You must be right

          This is a sure thing. You must be right. Your logic tells us that if we opened 10 more groceries on that stretch of Chicago Ave. the city would be that much better off. 20 groceries might allow Evanston to eliminate property taxes and lower parking meter rates by half.

          There would be no shrinkage of business per store. We would just buy more to keep them all going strong. We could buy more because we would have lower property taxes.

          We bought a couple of stores, a house, and land. We will pay to tear them down and build the parking lot. I'm not sure if the one time payment of 50k for a 75 year lease will cover that cost but if it does, I'm sure the remaining amount will go toward Wally's bonus for saving us so much money.

          Does the city need to pay property taxes on the lot they own?

          Will you buy enough bananas to keep all the stores in business?

          If you really own a business, I am sure that it is not a grocery on Chicago Ave. You wouldn't be so happy and you wouldn't be making such ridiculous statements about what is good for business.

          1. 20 grocery stores?

            20 grocery stores?  Don't recall my logic saying anything about 20 groceries, or a 100 or whatever infinity you want to exagerate out to.  Several stores, each with a different personality, each with a different draw, a unique little something about each one of them means enough market differentiation that allows all to draw and not only survive but thrive. 

            It's why restaurants always group around as many competitors as they can, it's why Nordstrom demands to be in a location that has Bloomingdales and Macy and Lord and Taylor and several other dozen competitors in their absolute immediate vicinity.  It's a simple business concept that applies here and has been applied across the nation in virtually every single successful commercial district.

            And as a business owner I have spent literally decades helping draw what the misguided would say are my direct competitors to locate in my immediate neigborhood.  Good business practice is good business practice, and the city is finally accomplishing some good business practice. 

            Job well done Wally, you may well deserve that raise, not for "saving us so much money", but for helping us create a situation that will ultimately create many times over the value of our original investment. 

            And I'm sure all the future employees who need a job will also appreciate the money about to be created for them.

          2. Your logic

            It is a little scary that you can not follow your own business logic. You should go back and visit what you wrote.

            Your logic stated that by adding a 3rd grocery within a block of each other will not cause any business loss to any of the two original businesses. you say that all 3 will continue successful and continue to grow their businesses. You base this on your business knowledge. So you think that an additional 2 billion dollars in new grocery sales will be generated within a 1 block area.


            I believe that there will be some great deals as each store tries to retain or grow its inventory movement.

            I think it would be great if I am wrong but it doesn't seem to be realistic that you are right.

            Groceries are not department stores. The only time you see Macy's, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom in a group is in a shopping mall. You never see groceries grouped. They are almost always never grouped. Having 3 groceries in a one block radius has got to be extremely rare. I can't think of another. Can you?

            I personnally think that Whole Foods will suffer the most.

            We'll see how the cards fall on the stores and their sales tax generation. The fact remains that this was a bad deal for Evanston. Their 2 million dollar gamble on a parking lot that may only generate 50k over the next 75 years only pails in comparision to Chicago's parking meter deal.

          3. LOL…2 billion dollars?

            LOL, what on earth are you talking about, 2 billion dollars?  What on earth are you talking about, only generating 50K over the next 75 years?  Seriously???  Though I will agree with your Whew!  


          4. Whole Foods

            Recall that there is another Whole Foods just a few blocks North. They can leave the smaller site and still have a presence in Evanston.

            A Greek grocery store might be appropiate as a replacement.

          5. Evanston Whole Foods

            Both of the Whole Foods in Evanston are below average, and due for a remodeling or replacement.   The stores on Willow,  Roosevelt & Canal , Kingsbury, or Deerfield are much nicer than either Evanston location.  Only the "Gold Coast" location on Huron is as bad as Evanston's two locations.

            Enquiring minds want to know when WFM will give Evanston a nice store.  How about closing one of the locations to remodel, while keeping the other store open…..then close the old one.   One nice Evanston store would be better than two shabby stores.

          6. Reply to Evanston Whole Foods

            I agree that the Evanston Whole Foods locations are looking a little worn and tired, but I certainly do not like the stores you are saying are "nicer" at all.  They are much too large.  I haven't been to all of the locations mentioned, but if they are anything like the Whole Foods store on Willow, then I think they are terrible – it's like your shopping at a warehouse.  You may as well continue down Willow and go to Costco.  I really like the more neighborhood feel of both Evanston stores so much better than the feeling of the newer concept mega-stores. 

          7. Greek grocery

            You wrote "A Greek grocery store might be appropiate as a replacement."

            Try D&D on Noyes west of Sherman.   Greek owned and great salad and meats.

          8. Greek stores

            I was tweaking.

            I meant Greek as in Greece's financial mess, not as in groceries

            For groceries there is Village Market on Dempster and Marketplace on Oakton.

            We should all take city financials with a grain of salt.

          9. Smaller Site

            The smaller site is downtown but I would bet that it does more bussiness than the much larger site south of Dempster.

          10. Jewel’s move to Wilmette

            For some unknown reason the Jewel on Greenbay moved 3-4 blocks north into Wilmette.  I found that odd—that they would move so close to Dominicks—but they also closed the Wilmette store at Lake just west of Ridge. 

            I don't get to the Lake/Ridge area so maybe they built one later, but I found it strange they would build so close to Dominicks when they could have built the new store somewhere they would have a monopoly.

      3. I bought a minivan instead of

        I bought a minivan instead of a Volvo, but It was just as costly.  I plan on loading up the kids, filling their pockets with all my extra cash and letting them run loose in Trader Joe's the second they sell out of all their discounted items.  It's a shame you can't live as well off as me SkipW.  I feel terrible for you, never knowing the joy of paying full price for groceries.  I pride myself in the fact that I pay too much money for my bananas.

        Did I mention that my minivan cost as much as a Volvo?

  5. Recall in 2012 ?

    Can we get a Recall of all Council members within 2012 ?

    That seems to be the only thing that will get their attention—-either stop giving away the city [residents] tax dollars or leave office—volentary or through a recall.

    Have they ever taken a course in economics and accounting or even stopped to think about what their gifts are doing to the city—-it would seem common sense any rational person would come to even without an education would show them the affect.

  6. Is Not One Person Happy?

    Good grief, all the carping and complaining … I, for one, am happy that Trader Joe's will be walking distance from my condo … I'm sure that will make selling my condo a lot easier.

    1. Moving?

      Good luck with selling your condo. Are you looking at getting out of Dodge, I mean Evanston, or taking the big leap and getting out of Illinois?

  7. Trader Joe’s sales tax numbers

    Has anyone called the Economic Development Staff on the sales tax projections they used to argue for the subsidy to a German company that has posted multi-billion dollar revenues?

    In both the memo and the presentation to council, they claim estimated annual tax revenue projections from $487k to $669k. The estimates are based on a dollar per square foot assumption of $1,800 for the "low" number and $2,500 for the "high" number. Because Trader Joe's is a private company, there is no authoritive independent data available for their performance.

    BUT, media reports last year based on industry observers suggest an AVERAGE of $1,750/sq ft. earnings for the chain. If we take this as valid, unbiased information, why in the world is the city starting its LOW projection above the chain's AVERAGE? Pumping up the numbers seems seriously problematic.

    Here is the CNN story with the $1,750/sq ft. figure:

  8. Whole Foods and Trader Joes

    As someone who shops exclusively at Whole Foods, I would argue that while Trader Joes may provide some competition in their liquor, floral, and appetizers departments, this is the  extent of their effect on Whole Foods. 

    I am a mother of two small children who has chosen to provide her family with an organic diet.  Any day I shop at Whole Foods I am surrounded by other parents who are there to buy meat, produce, dairy products and items like sunscreen and shampoos that do not contain the chemicals that adversely affect children.

    These products are not available at Jewel and therefore Jewel lost my business back when Whole Foods South was Wild Oats.  They are not available at Trader Joes either, so I won't be running down the street to spend the $600 that I currently budget each week for Whole Foods.  Whole Foods is not a novelty store for families, the way it may be for single people, and families spend far more money there than any other patron. 

    That said, there are families who cannot afford Whole Foods or who do not share the same value for organic products.  These families will still be shopping at Jewel for diapers, healthcare products, lunches, and dinners for their families.  They won't be running to the Trader Joes either, and, again, families are where the money is in the grocery business. 

    Those of you who have families and are in a two-income family also know that families like ours don't have the time to shop in multiple venues on any given day–it's one stop shopping when mom works full time and does the daily pick-up and drop off between multiple schools. 

    Having owned three pieces of property in this wonderful SE Evanston neighborhood, I welcome the Trader Joes and know that it will meet the needs of younger residents in condos in our neighborhood, and even my own entertaining needs from time to time as well–wine, hors d'oeuvres, flowers, and other products for parties and weekend bbq's are available at Trader Joes for less than Whole Foods, but at a higher quality than what can be purchased at Jewel.  

    Trader Joes provides services that  can't be met by either Whole Foods or Jewel, but can't replace either of these venues when it comes to the day to day shopping for a family.  I predict that all three will co-exist harmoniously.  And as I have listed the proximity of the two Whole Foods and the Jewel in selling two of my condos in the neighborhood and these have successfully served as selling points, Trader Joes is just the next bonus. 

    1. Willing to drive to TJ’s

      $600 a week is totally out of reach for many Evanston families, mine included.  While Trader Joe's does not have all of the organic products that WF does, it does have enough wholesome, sensible products to enable one to bring up a perfectly healthy family. 

      I can and do go to TJ's instead of WF, and it is noticeably cheaper than going to Jewel or Dominicks.  TJ's fruit and vegetables are not as good as at WF – but if you can't afford the prices WF charges then the issue is moot. I am currently wllling to drive to TJ's now for their products and their prices – once they are in Evanston, I will get everything there that I can, and only supplement with other stores as necessary.

  9. Odd

    I find it so odd that so many of you are experts in the grocery business.

    Why one store moved here and why one closed here and what about all three and demographics, volvos and consumers, parking lots, etc.

    Look, these stores know what they are doing – Whole Foods, Jewel, Trader Joes, etc.  Every move they make into or out of an area has been strategically reviewed and planned.

    So enough about all this.

    Embrace the new business.

    Shop there if you want.

    If not, move along.

    City of Evanston, the land of analysis paralysis.

    1. Food isn’t the issue

      You've just hit the nail on the head Dan. No one on city council is a grocery expert.   That's why they shouldn't be giving away our tax money to grocery stores.  

      The real experts here IS trader Joes. They've just gotten a 2 million dollar subsidy.

      1. Thanks

        Great add on to my comment Jen! 

        Actually, to expand on your comment, is anyone on the council an expert in anything in business in general? 

        Or is everyon an attorney and lawyer, activist and community organizer?  I just do not know.

        1. Resumes of Council members

          Dan asks:

          "Actually, to expand on your comment, is anyone on the council an expert in anything in business in general?

          Or is everyone an attorney and lawyer, activist and community organizer?  I just do not know."

          I wonder why you think that attorneys and lawyers don't have any knowledge of "business in general."   Most practicing attorneys are not Supreme Court justices or law professors, but  businessmen who help their clients deal with laws and regulations.

          Anyway, to answer your question : There are only nine members of the council. It shouldn't be too hard to enquire for yourself and find out…especially since eight of the nine aldermen have brief biographies on the City Council's website.  And I still don't understand why right-wingers think that "business" experience makes someone a good legislator or government executive…..governments are not supposed to be about maximizing profits at the expense of others.  George W. Bush and Herbert Hoover were businessmen"…how did they do?

          Judy Fiske,  perhaps the worst alderman of them all, is a small business owner – the kind of person that Republicans revere, the "Job Creators."

          Peter Braithwaite, a newer member, has a background with nonprofits (boo!)…but don't worry, Dan :  "More recently, he has worked in medical sales and is currently an independent sales consultant."    So there…a salesman, businessman, entrepreneur!

          Wynne   and  Wilson are attorneys, and Grover lists a law degree, too.

          Holmes' bio says  "She is currently a member of the Mount Zion MB Church, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. She is a former member of the Arts Council and Chamber of Commerce. She also served as the President for the District #65 Haven PTA and Director of Family Focus-Evanston."

          Tendam is a "graphic designer," while Burrus  "has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Arts degree in Urban Affairs from Saint Louis University. Currently, she is the Director of Corporate Relations at Northwestern University."

          I'm not sure what Rainey's background is.


          1. Private companies are about maximizing profit-

            "governments are not supposed to be about maximizing profits at the expense of others"

            but the goal of Trader Joe's grocery store is exactly this-  Unless the population in our surrouding area  is going to eat more food,  TJ will be taking business away the business of some other grocery store, whether it be in Evanston, Glenview, wherever.

            I don't think Dan's point was that you can't be a good politician if you are not a business professional.  There is no question that all of our local officials are highly educated people, and qualified in their own individual areas of expertise.

            To me, this entire discussion asks the question- "what is the role of the government?" 

            We can all discuss the possible economic merits of a new business coming to town.  However,  should government be in the business of providing tax subsidies to private enterprise?

            What are the pros of local government taking risks like this?  What are the cons? 

              To me, the cons outweigh the potential pros-   Perhaps not in this one instance, but if you add together the cumulative "investments" the city council has spent money on this year and in years past, I think you would find that the investments are not yielding a good return.  

            After following local politics for several years, I've seen much money spent in the forms of grants and studies,  but I have yet to see one cumulative list of ALL yearly "investments,"  with the returns on the expenditures.  Just a few examples come to mind- Varsity theater study? Windmill study?   Grant for the developer at Main/Chicago? Facade improvement grants for downtown/Hecky's (did those businesses bring in more tax money thanks to their tax-payer subsidized upgrades)?

            As a taxpayer, and thus "investor" in all these projects, I think we all have a right to know what is the return.   I just see my property tax bill going up 11% in two years- so this tells that the investments are not growing a profit big enough to offset the intial expenses.   In the meantime,  our local facilities are constantly on the chopping block, our streets are poorly plowed in the winter,  and the police/fire pensions are severely underfunded.

            The same comparisons could be made to national politics with government bailing out banks, auto industries, airlines, etc.     This is not a right or left discussion- both political parties are currently doing this in our country.

             I believe local government should not be about maximizing profit at the expense of others, the others being us the taxpayers.  It should be about redistributing wealth, improving infrastructure, and providing services to the taxpayers who reside within the boundaries of the city.  

             Good discussion Evanston.







  10. Another rug store?

    Anyone else happy they didn't convert the Blockbuster into another rug store?!

  11. Hello, Dodge and Dempster!

    Why must everything be downtown? There is so much valuable real estate right on the corner of Dempster and Dodge!! What is happening with that development, it is becoming an eye sore. I would CERTAINLY love TJ's in that area!!! Or is healthfood shopping only for the Eastside of Evanston? I guess we don't eat healthy over here and that's why they stick the only McDonald's in our front door and remove the one downtown, a building which now sits EMPTY again.

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