How the city kept Trader Joe’s deal a secret

The announcement last month that a Trader Joe’s grocery store was coming to Evanston did not just happen. It involved more than a year of negotiations between private parties, city departments, and even Northwestern University that required confidentiality. Otherwise it might never have come to fruition.

“There were countless meetings that needed to be held,” said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, “and we couldn’t just post the time and place of the meetings on the daily list that all could read in the civic center elevators.”

So he and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl came up with a code word for the operation: Project Eagle. Any emails between city officials relating to the Trader Joe’s situation, said Bobkiewicz, only identified the subject as “Project Eagle.”

Added Mayor Tisdahl: “It was a relief when it was finally announced to the public that we could actually say ‘Trader Joe’s’ out loud.”


Charles Bartling

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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