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The grocery chain that some Evanston residents have dreamed of having in town for years finally arrives with a grand opening ceremony Friday.

The Hawaiian-themed store will hold a ceremonial “lei-cutting” with city officials at 8 a.m.

The 13,000 square foot store at 1211 Chicago Ave. will offer face painting for the kids, music, giveaways and food demonstrations on its opening day.

The decor at the store, which will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, features several hand-painted murals that pay homage to local landmarks including the Charles Gates Dawes House, Dempster Street Beach, Northwestern University’s campus and the Gross Point lighthouse.

Until now the nearest outposts of the chain were in Glenview and Chicago.

The city spent $2 million to acquire properties north of the store site to become a parking area for the new store. The project generally drew applause from nearby residents and City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz has estimated that the store will generate a net increase of $500,000 a year in sales and liquor tax revenue for the city.

The new store is on the same block as Jewel and Whole Foods markets — and all Evanston supermarkets are expected to face new competition from a Mariano’s Fresh Market planned for a site just across the border in Skokie.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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7 Comments

    1. Corporate welfare or societal wellbeing?

      One of the main functions of government is to provide for its employers (us) the benefits to society as a whole that cannot be accomplished by individuals acting alone or by private business acting according to the laws of market.  Providing a subsidy to a company so that everyone can get decent, wholesome food at reasonable prices seems to me to be a perfectly reasonable use of money. There is nothing new about using government funds to mitigate the effects of the market – the "free market" really isn't free, after all, so that the government should act in balance to the forces of corporate America seems like no bad thing. I will be shopping at Trader Joe's. They provide reasonably-priced good quality food – something to which everyone should have access.

      1. Why not Englewood?

        Why didn't Trader Joe's open a store in Englewood like Whole Foods then if they provide reasonably-priced good quality food?

      2. Free (ish) market put 2 other

        Free (ish) market put 2 other grocers on that block. All government did was line a few rich guys' pockets. IMO any penny spent subsidizing Trader Joes would have have increased "societal well being" more if spent on police officers near ETHS.

  1. I want the analysis and follow up

    Fact – City of Evanston gave Trader Joe's a $2mm subsidy (maybe a good decision, maybe not)

    Assumption – Trader Joe's will contribute an INCREMENTAL $500,000 per year in sales & liquor tax

    Question – will the City of Evanston provide taxpayers an analysis of actual sales & liquor tax collections, not only from Trader Joe's, but also from the nearby Whole Foods and Jewel? Concern is that Trader Joe's will just cannibalize sales from other entities. Hope is that Trader Joe's will bring in more customers from not only Evanston, but also North Chicago and total tax receipts will increase.

    Major concern is that Trader Joe's puts Whole Foods and/or Jewel out of business and taxpayers bear the cost.

    At this time we can HOPE that all businesses thrive.

    But the City of Evanston has an OBLIGATION to give taxpayers the information and analysis.

    By the way, how is Ward 8 and Chicago's Home of Chicken & Waffles doing and all other subsidies granted to local private businesses? I'd like to know and taxpayers should expect the City of Evanston to be accountable for our "investments"

  2. Don’t worry too much about WFs and Jewel

    Two Whole Foods operate within a mile of each other along Chicago Avenue for years; they're not going anywhere. Jewel is a major supermarket chain whose presence in Evanston is not really threatened by a grocery store of Trader Joe's size. Trader Joe's operates within relatively close proximity of other grocery chains all across the country for many year. Can't recall ever hearing that a major grocery chain suffered enough to go out of business due to TJ's. TJ's demographic is such that it's amazing it's taken this long to open in Evanston, really; it will fit perfectly. It will also help attract more visitors to Evanston. The ease of accessibility to Evanston's TJ's is better for north-siders than Glencoe or Lincoln Park or the Loop. Trader Joe's stores draws devotees from miles around, and their affordable prices + quality store-brand products help drive competition, which benefits consumers. Boycott them? "Corporate welfare"? What??

  3. Traders Joe’s and Evanston Equals a Wonderful Pairing

    Trader Joe's coming to Evanston is a huge win. I am thrilled to be able to walk to all three of these stores as they each offer produts I need. It's a wonderful day for Evanston!

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