After years of effort to bring a Trader Joe’s grocery to Evanston, city officials were all smiles this afternoon at a news conference at the site of the new store.

Alderman Wynne, property owner Scott Gendell, Alderman Judy Fiske and Mayor Tisdahl at the news conference.

After years of effort to bring a Trader Joe’s grocery to Evanston, city officials were all smiles this afternoon at a news conference at the site of the new store.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl praised Alderman Melissa Wynne, whose 3rd Ward includes store location at 1211 Chicago Ave. for her efforts to land the popular chain.

Wynne in turn praised city economic development staffers, especially Johanna Nyden, who’d worked for over a year to pull together the deal.

An exuberant Melissa Wynne said she sees more new development projects coming soon to the Chicago Avenue corridor.

“I’ve been calling it Trader Johanna’s,” Wynne quipped.

She also offered praise for Scott Gendell and his colleagues at the new owner of the property, Terraco, Inc. of Wilmette, which arranged the lease with the grocery chain.

And she thanked neighbors, some of whom had been briefed on the proposal as much as a month ago, for keeping quiet about it until the announcement.

Plans for the site reportedly include demolishing the existing one-store retail building that once housed a Blockbuster video store and replacing it with a new 13,000 square foot store that a company news release said will mix “traditional Trader Joe’s elements such as cedar covered walls and Hawaiian motifes, combined with a local flair that includes art celebrating the neighborhood.”

Paul Giddings, co-owner of the FolkWorks Gallery a block north of the new grocery store site, said he believes Trader Joe’s will provide a big boost for other merchants in the neighborhood.

Giddings, who’s a leader of the Chicago-Dempster Merchants Association, said the two existing supermarkets nearby — Whole Foods and Jewel — tend to draw customers mainly from the neighborhoods to the south.

Scott Gendell of Terraco, Inc.

That’s largely because both chains have other outlets further north in Evanston or just across the border in Wilmette.

But with the nearest existing Trader Joe’s in Glenview, Giddings believes the new store will draw customers from Wilmette and other north shore communities to shop more often in Evanston.

Giddings said he’s a little concerned about traffic congestion around the store, but hopes the city will be able to address that as part of the redevelopment process for the site.

Gendell said the target date for opening the new store is the first quarter of next year.

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‘Blockbuster’ development?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Trader Joe’s

    This is great for Evanston. During my tenure at the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, "When is Trader Joe's coming to Evanston?" was easily my most-asked question. Congrats to Johanna Nyden, Ald. Wynne, Mayor Tisdahl and all the merchants of the CDMA for getting this pulled together. Brooke Saucier Few Spirits

  2. Wonderful news about TJ

    Chicago Avenue near Dempster is such a great location for TJ. Thanks to everyone for making this happen.

    Did the City commit any money to close the deal?

  3. TJ”s

    Now let's fill the remaining 499 vacant business properties in our glorious city, provided they all meet the mayor's strict conditions.

    1. D&D Why So Neglected in Comments

      I am always surprised in articles [esp. Daily Northwestern] when D&D on Noyes is not mentioned. A lot of students, at least at Tech and in apartments, know of it and I'd assume those in frats north of Noyes, but it is rarely mentioned in the press.

      They maybe a bit more expensive than Jewel/Dominics but clearly cheaper than Whole Foods.  Their deli is great—in fact I had to stop buying their salads because of how I ate them at an alarming rate !

      We talk about supporting 'local business' compared to 'chains' [and I suspect NU does that more than most] but places like D&D seem to get forgot.

      1. I used to live just around

        I used to live just around the corner from D&D and the friendly atmosphere was wtruly unique. I have stopped by several times to get "their own baked ham"…. The best ever! I'm sure there are many local shops we would know of only if we live in the direct area. I suppose it is up to us to find them.

      2. D&D is a neighborhood gem!

        D&D is one of the best kept secrets in Evanston!  Their friendly service, great selection of various food stuffs complete with a butcher shop! 

    2. Hope not!

      I live in the neighborhood and shop at Whole Foods frequently.  I'm excited about Trader Joe's coming, but I hope it will not affect the Whole Foods next door.  I'll continue to shop at Whole Foods for their fresh meat, organic produce, and fresh prepared foods.

      I don't typically buy these items at Trader Joe's, since TJ's is better for things like snacks, chocolate/candy, and frozen meals.  I have shopped extensively at both stores and see some overlap, but I think it's comparing (organic) apples/oranges.

  4. Is it a Zero Sum Game?

    While everyone is excited by the arrival of Trader Joe's to Chicago Avenue, I doubt that either Jewel or Whole foods are quite that happy. The arrival of the third store within a one block area is bound to draw customers away from the other two.

    I realize that TJ has its own band of faithful followers and will draw more from suburbs to the the north and Chicago to the south, but there will be overlap of many (specialty) goods and I doubt we will see customers walking across or down the street to shop at two or all three.

    Sometime down the line, WF will make a decision as to keeping the People's Market (rember that name?) site since it has always been doubtful that they need two stores one mile apart. They will probably remain with their semi-captive audience downtown hoping for that nearly forgotten tower (Oh, did you forget about that too?) to be built and drop their southern locale.

    Jewel may stay because many of its customers do not necessarily go to either WF or TJ and because they just invested in remodelling the store as best they could on that small site.

    The end result, about the same amount of sales tax revenue in the long run and, if WF pulls out, an even larger vacant parcel at Grenleaf.

    Wouldn't it have been nice to put them in at Dodge-Dempster although I believe Dominick's was clever enough to include a "non-compete" clause in their lease that serves to keep that location down in the dumps with few new major tenants on the horizon despite what may be the noble efforts of the new owners.

  5. Trader Joes and Whole Foods

    I live in south Evanston, and while I do most of my shopping at the Jewel and Whole Foods on Chicago Ave., I also make regular trips to the Trader Joe's in Glenview or on Lincoln Ave. in the north side of Chicago to buy products that are not sold at WF or Jewel.

    I think many Evanstonians who currently shop at other Trader Joe's locations will be glad to spend those dollars at home.  Also, having Trader Joe's in Evanston will probably draw more people from other places who will find Evanston to be a great and convenient destination to go to both Trader Joe's and WF.

    Maybe these shoppers will decide to shop in other businesses in the neighborhood too, and maybe they will decide to come back to have dinner at one of our restaurants.  So I am both happy and optimistic about this. 

    What I really think would be great for one of the other empty storefronts in Evanston would be the addition of a produce market along the lines of Marketplace on Oakton or Village Marketplace on Dempster, both in Skokie.

    I run into a lot of people from Evanston in those produce markets. Maybe one such store could be a good addition to Dempster Dodge shopping center.  There was a plan to open one at Asbury and Oakton which never materialized. 

    Hoping for the best!

  6. Bowling alley?

    Say, if Whole Foods closes its location at 1111 Chicago Ave, a great building/location for a bowling alley opens up!

  7. I agree with Anonymous

    I agree with Anonymous Foodie.  I shop at all three!  Yes, sometimes I just get everything at Jewel or WF, but often I go to both.  I occasionally make the trek to Glenview to get some TJ-specific items.  I view them as more of a specialty/prepared-foods store.  I think all the stores will be fine.  Also agree that TJ's will draw people from the northside of Chicago and other close suburbs and introduce them to the great Dempster/Chicago shopping area.  Thanks, Evanston!

    1. Trader Joes

      Trader Joes is always located near other grocery stores.  They do it on purpose because as folks have said, it's not a one stop shop.  The Trader Joes we used to shop at in Palatine had a Whole Foods down the way and an independant grocer right across the street and a Jewel right around the corner.  All seemed to coexist happily and were always hoppin for the 6 years I lived in the area.  I'm sure the same will be true here.  Also, think of all the Evanstonians who have been going out of their way on a regular basis to Trader Joe's in other towns.  Evanston's TJ's will do the same and bring new customers to the neighboring stores too!

  8. Only some will survive

    With Jewel across the street, I suspect people will get their bulk of shoping done at Jewel and go to Trader Joe's for select items.

    A friend has been constantly said she wants a Trader Joes and goes to one somewhere around here.  But even she told me she would only buy select items at the new one.  I would assume Whole Foods has the same quality as Trader Joe's but Joe's must be a little cheaper.  [Whole Foods recently announced a change in pricing to attract more customers].

    We know Jewel will stay.  Traders will probably last for at least a few years.  The Whole Foods just south of there will probably close soon—if price not quality is the big difference.  Most thought it odd they would have two stores in less than 1/2 mile anyway.

    Talk of students using Whole Foods or Trader Joe's is either mis-placed or they have a lot more money than they [and requests for financial aid] tell us—and would make them much more attractive for added taxes, e..g.tuition, usage, etc..

    Odd Traders would want to locate there. The income level from Chicago Ave. to the lake is of course good but mixed or poor west of Chicago Ave..  If they would have located north of Foster—maybe the perpetual vacancy at Orrington and Lincoln—they would have more customers who need a store and a wealthier clientelle and a lot more space—including parking.  Oh well some day some one will get wise and build on the northeast side and make $$$.

  9. Welcome Trader Joes

    With two Whole Foods on Chicago Avenue, this is a welcome change. Whole Foods has the capital and experience to figure out how to compete and if the 1111 Chicago Ave store closes, it will be noticed as a matter of decreased convenience for WF shoppers but not a great loss.

  10. Trader Joe’s Subsidy

    So who's kidding whom?  The proposed use of tax payer dollars  – approx $2.0 mill of those dollars – to subsidize a Trader Joe's store here in town is really a scandalous use of our scarce tax dollars.  It is City welfare – plain and simple – for a billionaire retailer!  

    The proposed $2.0mill upfront grant to get TJ's to move to a location where they are not needed – no food desert in this part of town – is absurd.  Though our City Father's "say" that the money will come from some idle City reserve account, these funds are still taxpayer assets – not inconsequential "benes (benefits)" to be passed out under the guise of "economic development".   Does the word "bailout" seem to fit here?  For most of us – excluding some of our City Fathers – these are times of severe economic stress. Hard times.  So surely a tax cut from some idle City reserve (?) would be a welcomed relief and a far better use of our money.  And do you really believe that the City needs to buy a Northwestern building that the University could not otherwise sell?  Aren't there no other locations in town that would be just as good at a far less cost, to we the long suffering Evanston taxpayers?  But of course, it's heresy to think that taxes could  ever go down.   

    Trader Joe's is a good grocery store.   But is a grocer worth $2.0 million from us for the  "privilege" of taking our money!  Ridiculous…unless you understand that largess is still alive and well, even in our beloved cash-strapped City.  

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