Now that we know Trader Joe’s is coming to Asheville, it’s time to get to know then a little better. Maybe you already do, but I don’t. I’ve only been to the store once, and that was years ago. So here’s the first of what will be an occasional round-up of what Trader Joe’s is up to around the country. More for my education than anything, it may illuminate issues we’ll face here.

Here’s an excellent piece with great context from Texas-based star-telegram.com about how Trader Joe’s cleverly markets its brands.

The chain is famously tight-lipped about its suppliers and even makes them agree not to publicly disclose their connection to Trader Joe’s. The policy is aimed at maintaining its standing as a retail leader in offering private-label items as good or better, and often cheaper, than the top national brands. Probably no national food merchant comes close to such a high percentage of house-brand inventory.

But keeping the origins of its beers secret is difficult because state and federal labeling laws require that everything be spelled out. …

Under state law, beer brands cannot be exclusive to one chain.

Wine and spirits can be sold exclusively by retailers here, Beck told us. Charles Shaw wines, Trader Joe’s famous “Two-Buck Chuck,” is a classic example, and sells here for $2.99. Kroger, Aldi, Costco and liquor stores compete with their own proprietary beverages.

But Beck says beer cannot be distributed and sold that way.

From New Hampshire’s nashuatelegraph.com, there’s a new Trader Joe’s preparing to open there:

NASHUA – Trader Joe’s grocery store officially will move from Tyngsborough, Mass., to Nashua on Monday.
The Webster Square store, at 262 Daniel Webster Highway, will open at 8 a.m. Unlike the current store, it will offer beer and wine in addition to grocery items, and will be somewhat larger than the Tyngsborough location, although much smaller than major grocery chain stores. Trader Joe’s will be open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

The Nashua store will be the first of two Trader Joe’s in New Hampshire. Another will open in September in Newington.

From evanstonnow.com, a story about how the Evanston, Indiana, community is working with developer’s of a Trader Joe’s store there:

Evanston’s Plan Commission Wednesday night postponed action on plans for a Trader Joe’s market at 1211 Chicago Ave. to provide more time to resolve concerns raised by people who live across the alley from the site.

Pat Mulhern, of 1224 Hinman Ave., said that, like several other neighbors who spoke, he conditionally supports the project.

“I would like to see the store get built,” Mulhern said, adding that, with the developer’s agreement Wednesday to fence off the alley from store traffic, “I think we have resolved the alley issue.”

But Mulhern listed several other neighbor concerns.

He said neighbors want store deliveries limited to from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., while Trader Joe’s wants to be able to accept deliveries from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

He also urged that the chain be required to turn off the store’s signs when the store closes, so neighbors don’t see glare from the signs all night.

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