Fayetteville residents would love a Trader Joe's. What would it take to get one? (2024)

Despite the local demand for Two-Buck Chuck and Everything but the Bagel seasoning, Fayetteville still lacks a Trader Joe's, leaving residents wondering what it takes to get the beloved grocery chain to set up shop in the city.

In a June 2023 Fayetteville Observer poll, Trader Joe’s was ranked No. 1 by readers asked which restaurants, cuisines and grocery stores they most wanted in Fayetteville. The Observer newsroom frequently hears the question, “Why doesn’t Fayetteville have a Trader Joe’s?” Nakia Rohde, public relations manager for the California-based chain, said our immediate area is not on Trader Joe's radar yet.

“We are actively looking at hundreds of neighborhoods across the country as we hope to open more new neighborhood stores each year,” Rohde said via email last week. “At this time, we do not have a location confirmed in Fayetteville, North Carolina.”

However, the company’s website reveals that a new store is slated for Raleigh at 8111 Creedmoor Road.

When asked why Fayetteville hasn’t yet secured a Trader Joe’s, Rohde referred the Observer to the Trader Joe’s Podcast, specifically episode 52, "How to Make a Trader Joe’s" and episode five, "Please Won’t You Be My Neighborhood Store."

Fayetteville residents would love a Trader Joe's. What would it take to get one? (1)

Trader Joe's criteria for new sites

In the 2018 episode, Trader Joe’s Chairman and CEO Dan Bane said that the only thing holding the company back from opening new stores is having the right number of “captains and mates" or managers and store associates. At the time of recording, Trader Joe’s had 475 stores. Today, the company has 591 stores, according to the company’s website.

“We won’t open a store just because we can, we want to open a store that’s run by the right kind of people doing the right kinds of things, and that’s really important to us,” Bane said.

Another factor when determining where to open a new store is the site location and parking lot capacity, according to Jon Basalone, president of stores for Trader Joe’s. He said that cities often base the number of parking spaces for a new site on the square footage of the store rather than the number of customers expected, which doesn’t align with the way Trader Joe’s operates.

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“A lot of our parking lots in Southern California are just sort of older store sites that now are just incredibly inadequate for the business that we do,” Basalone said. “You know, that doesn’t match with us because we run pretty small stores. So, we’re not allowed to have as many spaces as we would like to have.”

President and COO Bryan Palbaum said that warehouse distribution and the distance between stores are major factors in deciding where to open a new location, as proximity ensures that those stores are regularly supplied. He added that population is also important.

“We certainly have certain numbers of households that we think we need to have that can support a successful Trader Joe’s,” Palbaum said. “When we get to those numbers and it makes sense, then we’ll open a store.”

In episode 52, which was published in August 2022, Donnie Martin, vice president of real estate and construction at Trader Joe’s, said that while the company could build a new store anywhere, it must feel like a Trader Joe’s when customers walk in.

“We go through, we look at accessibility, we look at our loading dock, we look at size, we look at everything to really make sure that we belong there. It’s got to check every box,” Martin said.

Trader Joe's locations in North Carolina

North Carolina currently has 10 Trader Joe's locations, with an 11th slated to open soon in Raleigh, marking the city's second Trader Joe's.

The closest store to Fayetteville is the Trader Joe's Cary at 1393 Kildaire Farm Road. Here are the other Trader Joe's locations in the state:

  • Trader Joe's Chapel Hill at 1800 E. Franklin St.
  • Trader Joe's Morrisville at 951 Morrisville Parkway
  • Trader Joe's Raleigh at 3000 Wake Forest Road
  • Trader Joe's Greensboro at 3721 Battleground Ave.
  • Trader Joe's Winston-Salem at 252 S. Stratford Road
  • Trader Joe's Charlotte North at 1820 E. Arbors Drive
  • Trader Joe's Charlotte at 1133 Metropolitan Ave.
  • Trader Joe's Charlotte Piper Glen at 6418 Rea Road
  • Trader Joe's Wilmington at 1437 S. College Road

Reporter Lizmary Evans covers growth and development for The Fayetteville Observer. You can reach her atLEvans@gannett.com

Fayetteville residents would love a Trader Joe's. What would it take to get one? (2024)

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