KENMORE, N.Y. (WIVB) - Is Trader Joe's specialty grocery store really come to western New York?
Melissa Foster and her group, Kenmore Village Improvement Society, have been leading the charge to bring a Trader Joe's to Kenmore. The California-based grocery chain has become a destination for bargain hunters, with their unique store brands and low prices.
"If you have a Trader Joe's in your community, you are this kind of hip, 'with it' community that people want to go to," Foster said. "They ring a bell when they get an order. They wear their Hawaiian shirts. Their ads are written in colored chalk on chalkboards. So it is a really festive and fun environment."
The Kenmore group went all out to get Trader Joe's attention, writing letters, burning up the social networks and sending a life-sized doll, called "Kenmore Joe," all over western New York. Foster told News 4 it worked. Trader Joe's executives are planning a move into the Buffalo area, late next year - but Kenmore is not in their immediate plans.
"We learned that they are indeed opening here, at a location that they wish to disclose when they want to," Foster said.
A top expert in the food retailing industry confirmed, Trader Joe's seems ready to make a move and western New York is a prime target.
Burt Flickinger, III of the Strategic Resource Group said, "The most under developed area of the Northeast that Trader Joe's has not tapped into is the western New York and Buffalo market."
Flickinger adds, any of the old drugstores and convenience stores in the area would make good locations.
"They tend not to build new stores from the ground up. They want the cheapest leases so they can sell at the cheapest prices," he noted.
Flickinger told News 4 that Trader Joe's key demographic, well-educated young adults, would dictate starting near UB's North Campus.
"Would be to put one in the Amherst-Williamsville area. Put one in the Kenmore area, close to the University at Buffalo. Put one downtown near the Medical Corridor," he said.
Foster adds, Buffalo would deliver an international base.
"Because they will have many, many customers from Canada coming. Also we have such a high ratio of colleges and universities. This type of store really attracts young people," she said.
Trader Joe's is moving closer. They are set to cut the ribbon on a new store in Pittsford, a Rochester suburb, next month.
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