Evanston, regional officials tout Trader Joe’s planned opening as local economic boost

Alexandria Johnson

After the announcement of Trader Joe’s 2013 opening in Evanston, officials from the city and across the region expressed optimism about the grocery store’s ability to boost the local economy.

The store, which will occupy the site of the former Blockbuster video store at 1211 Chicago Ave., will be in close proximity to Jewel-Osco, 1128 Chicago Ave., and Whole Foods Market, 1111 Chicago Ave.

“It’s a one-stop destination,” said Ald. Delores Holmes (5th), adding the specialty grocery store will likely generate additional traffic in the area due to its many loyal customers.

In nearby cities, Trader Joe’s has yielded just that result.

One store is located in Glenview about seven miles away from Evanston at 1407 Waukegan Road and was built about 10 to 15 years ago, said Jeff Brady, director of planning for the village of Glenview.

“I think there’s a lot of retail traffic generated by Trader Joe’s,” Brady said. “There’s always a spillover effect in a retail area over time. I think with all the various retailers there, it provides a niche for various shoppers.”

In Park Ridge, a Trader Joe’s at 190 N. Northwest Highway, about eight miles from Evanston, was part of a redevelopment for the city, said Juliana Maller, deputy city manager for Park Ridge.

“The Trader Joe’s has attracted other retailers to the area – it brings traffic,” Maller said. “We love having it here.”

Some residents in Evanston expressed excitement about the store arriving in Evanston.

Sue Schell, 55, has lived in the area for 16 years and said she has been pushing for the construction of a local Trader Joe’s for a long time.

“I think it will generate a lot of revenue, a lot of tax revenue,” Schell said. “It’s going to be wonderful. The eagle has landed in my backyard.”

Evanston resident Nancia Shawver, who lives about six blocks away from the site, said she thinks the Trader Joe’s development will be “fantastic.”

“It’s great that we’re going to have all three grocery stores here on this street,” Shawver said. “There are things that Trader Joe’s has that are kind of a niche in the market.”

Its short distance from the Dempster Street El stop also makes the store accessible to Northwestern students.

“It’s not that far walking,” Weinberg freshman Kira Cozzolino said. “Their selection is different.”

The store will also offer an alternative shopping location for students.

“If I were to go grocery shopping, I’d probably go there although I usually get my groceries from CVS,” Weinberg freshman Arthur Pollard said. “Here, all they have are expensive stores.”

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