Trader Joe’s in St. George? All the signs say yes, and soon
By far the most asked question when it comes to retail stores and expansion in our ever burgeoning town is: "When are we going to get a Trader Joe's?"
There are some others (Cheesecake Factory, Hobby Lobby, etc.), but the hope that Trader Joe's makes it to Utah's Dixie is foremost in residents' minds, for sure.
First of all, let's clear a couple of things up. There is no hard and fast demographic or population rule with Trader Joe's, despite the claims of some people. Trader Joe's expands where and when it wants. Certainly, the company does its market research and opens new locations where the parent company (Aldi) thinks there's a profit to be made. But there is no specific trend or number that qualifies a city or county of being "worthy" of having a Trader Joe's.
That being said, Trader Joe's does tend to open stores in locations where the population's median income is about $10,000 more than the state's average. However, with their focus on trying to keep product prices low, TJ's does tend to open stores in less expensive parts of expensive places. Does that make sense?
Doing a search on Trader Joe's reveals a lot. Apparently the store is not just a store, but a religious institution. I write that in jest, but it sure seems like it. People don't just love Trader Joe's -- they LOVE Trader Joe's! (all caps, exclamation point, heart emojis, etc).
I ran across articles like "18 Things You Should Know Before You Shop at Trader Joe's," "We went to Trader Joe's and found 7 main reasons why so many people are obsessed with the quirky grocer," and "6 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Items That Just Hit Stores," among hundreds of others.
And many were from legitimate news websites like business.com and kiplinger.com, not just fansites.
The one that really caught my was this one, "Here's Why There's Not a Trader Joe's Where You Live."
The story, on the popular website allrecipes.com, attempts to explain who gets a Trader Joe's and why (or why not?). The brief article, written by Bailey Fink, is a year old, but does give fans of the store some options to try and get the TJ management to take notice. Most notably, there is actually a "Request a Trader Joe's in my City" form to fill out.
The quirky, but popular retailer, with 542 stores nationwide, is mum about possible expansion in Southern Utah. The fit seems perfect: A decent population base (200,000 in the county), heavy tourism activity (TJ's most popular store is in Time's Square), and a decent household median income (about $62,000 and rising).
So, is Trader Joe's coming to St. George?
I can tell you this, in the article "Trader Joe’s Expands in Country’s Hottest Markets," Jennifer Strailey outlines how TJ's is 100 percent committed to the red-hot real estate markets in the United States.
In case you've been in a cave, the hottest state for real estate in the past year has been Utah and the hottest city in the state -- St. George.
I can't give you a timeline, but if that's the biggest criterium for coming here, TJ's will be here soon.
* BTW, I've been to the Orem Trader Joe's many times and love some of their products -- especially their pineapple habanero BBQ sauce and their huge selection of dark chocolate items).