Trader Joe’s is coming to Asheville on Merrimon Avenue


Local sources confirm that Trader Joe’s is planning to build a store on Merrimon Avenue, between Greenlife grocery store and the new Harris Teeter that is under construction. A couple of buildings are going to be torn down to make way for a new Trader Joe’s. I’ve called the company’s headquarters for comment/confirmation, but have not heard back.

The new store will create a veritable grocery row, as one recent Ashvegas reader noted. That’s going to be one highly competitive series of grocery store offerings on a super-busy road.

Last week, someone on the 6,000+-member Bring Trader Joe’s to Asheville Facebook group said TJ’s bought property on Long Shoals Road. And a week or so before that, another Trader Joe’s fan posted that the company was definitely coming to Asheville.More information as it comes.


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Tim October 2, 2012 - 2:04 pm

Here’s a hint regarding Trader Joes. If it isn’t posted on the Trader Joes website, don’t believe it.

Jennifer Saylor October 2, 2012 - 3:19 pm

Tim, Trader Joe’s issued a press release about the Asheville location, so it’s definitely in the works.

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Barb July 12, 2012 - 10:43 pm

I don’t care about any of this. I’ll continue to shop at the French Broad CoOp, Sav-More which is owned by Ingles, and the farmers’ market. I recommend everyone do the same.

local July 11, 2012 - 9:08 am

The location of this store is absurd!! With Asheville being named in the top 10 metropolitan areas in
America that suffer from food insecurity, how can we, as a self proclaimed conscious town, allow this?
We have so many food deserts (low-to-no access to affordable, healthy foods) and this 100 yard stretch
would now become a food swamp with three, yes three grocery stores.
If allowed, this will be one of the poorest planning decisions our town has seen (next to allowing Greenlife to dump its traffic, parking and dumpsters onto the only residential street that it borders)!
With Brownfield & infill sites abundant in food insecure areas, we must stand together and fight for smart growth that will create sustainable
economic development, not reckless capitalism. Merrimon Ave can’t handle Harris Teeter, never-
the-less this too…..And this is at the expense of two, locally owned minority businesses (and I assume a couple homeowners for parking?) which is further salt on the wound!

Miss Daisy July 10, 2012 - 3:16 pm

It seems we can all agree that the Merrimon site is a dopey location. Group hug.

Murphy July 10, 2012 - 3:08 pm

One thing I noticed in the PDF posted above of the “lay of the land” … the store is going to be built right up agaiinst the road with the back of the store actually fronting Merrimon ..

Isn’t there some kind of rule against that because of the Staples fiasco … I thought (or maybe dreamed) that there was a set-back rule in the City now …

luther blissett July 11, 2012 - 3:33 pm

Sounds like the parking would be at the rear: that’s the setup for the Buckhead TJs in Atlanta, which has ground-level windows for its street frontage: plus, the grading is very different on that side of Merrimon compared to the Staples side.

Ed July 10, 2012 - 12:25 pm

I think the conversation about TJs has gotten really silly. It seems to have turned into a turf war between the folks that actually can support another business with their income and the hipsters that think it is great only because they can walk to it. Walkers alone can’t support a business of that size with competition so close. Doh!

As for BenGs comment. All those regulations, solar, loading dock, etc. seem a bit contrived in order to defeat a great plan and employer. Yes employer, retail, service, and construction jobs suffered. Asheville is not some sleepy small town. If you want that, move to Marion and see what you get. Asheville will outlive all the keep it weird folk and just maybe business will thrive without the hipsters trying to shut them down because they use a dumpster that’s not painted green.

Jeff July 10, 2012 - 7:28 am

Man, that is just HORRIBLE placement for another big chain store. Traffic in that area is already a nightmare at certain times of day. I also do not look forward to another giant parking lot in that part of town. I really hope this isn’t true. Does it make sense to have 3 upscale grocery stores within a block of each other?! West Asheville’s got 3 third-world Ingles (Haywood/Patton & Leicester/Brevard Rd.) Why doesn’t Joe trade where there’s a hole in the market?

I really hope this is just another bad joke on the Trader Joe big box fans.

Nate July 10, 2012 - 8:57 am

Why do people keep referring to Trader Joe’s as a “big box” store? I’ve never been in one that was even half as large as a typical Ingles or other supermarket, and most are just a tiny fraction of the size of a Wal-Mart/Target/Costco/BedBath&Beyond/etc. Many are even in strip malls with other stores, not standing alone in a parking lot.

Orbit DVD July 10, 2012 - 1:18 pm

Personally, that’s what I’m thinking Jeff. How many cities have you seen THREE supermarket chains all in the same block? Not anywhere that I have lived or visited.

Here’s my question. The residents of North Asheville fought to stop and remove electronic billboards, citing that they are an eyesore and traffic hazard. Will they welcome Trader Joes, though it could be potentially more of an eyesore and traffic hazard?

Murphy July 10, 2012 - 3:06 pm

Hello … 3 Chains in close proximity already exists on Merrimon … Ingles, Sav-mor, Fresh Market …

Orbit DVD July 10, 2012 - 7:26 pm

Two, name me TWO sets of grocery stores!

What I mean is that a Greenlife, a Harris Teeter and a Trader Joe’s would cannibalize each others’ sales. Can’t imagine Savemor and Fresh Market having too much of the same customers.

If I was going to open a grocery store, I would look at just south of downtown. There’s a definite need there.

LT July 16, 2012 - 10:21 am

No way dude–each store has its own niche with me! I couldn’t be happier at the prospect of not driving all over creation to get pimento cheese and good produce(Harris-Teeter), fancy organic local cured meats (Greenlife), and cheap frozen veggies and soy “ice cream” (Trader Joe’s).

Local is preferable of course, but maybe this will give Ingles something to compete with and step up their game.

As for Chipotle vs. Mamacita’s and Urban Burrito…have you been to Chipotle? It’s so much better, and fresher. Mamacita’s and Urban Burrito have not impressed so far.

Ed July 10, 2012 - 2:13 pm

Quote: “3 third-world Ingles”… lol

Curious July 9, 2012 - 9:18 pm

BenG says, “In fact many of us appreciated the smart-growth aspects of the proposal: integrating high density residential, office and retail space creates an urban environment where walking/biking/mass transit become real alternatives to driving.” I’m curious if BenG and HeatherR have any regrets about helping to block the mixed-use, urban village proposal, which now leaves a typical parking-lot surrounded one-level supermarket.

BenG July 10, 2012 - 10:55 am

R.e. Curious’s question.

I have no regrets. The urban village proposal that the neighbors helped block had major flaws that would have significantly degraded the neighborhood, and which were at odds with existing development ordinances. For instance, the ordinance says that loading dock access should come from existing commercial streets, which would rule out the Eloise loading dock they insisted on. And, the ordinance says that tall buildings should be kept central to the development, not on the edges where they would block solar access from neighbors, which would rule out the condo tower looming 150′ above Eloise that they were insisting on.

We would have been happy to work with the developers to forge a design that would honor the intent of these laws and that would integrate a high density urban village with the neighborhood, but there was no interest on their part in compromising.

As things have unfolded, most neighbors I have talked to look forward to having a Harris Teeter moving onto the lot. I know I will enjoy having another grocery store in walking distance. It’s not what I would have put there in my vision of a perfect world, but it’s better than what the developers were trying to ram down our throats before.

Curious July 10, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Thanks, BenG, for the nice reply. Helpful to have your further insights.

NFB July 9, 2012 - 6:16 pm

I hope that the “local sources” on this are more reliable than the ones that said 12 Bones was being sold a few months ago.

Jason Sandford July 9, 2012 - 9:38 pm

Guess we’ll see, NFB.

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Jill B July 9, 2012 - 5:45 pm

Yay, and close enough for me to walk!!!

D July 9, 2012 - 5:36 pm

Trader Joe’s is an awesome company which has paved the way for making the costs of organic food more affordable to the masses. They offer awesome selections and their staff love working there. Yes, they will affect other businesses, but we don’t live in a monarchy or dictatorship where your neighbors can tell you which grocery stores must have a monopoly on AVL. I have always disliked the self-righteous attitude at Green Life (now a division of Whole Foods — a public company with shareholders) and the horrible organic produce at Ingles (which, by the way, is a public company with shareholders too).

What makes AVL awesome is that it’s a rare place where people of different tastes and perspectives can co-exist. Unlike super left and right wing fascist communities which shun those who don’t succumb to group think, I’m proud to live in AVL and excited Trader Joe’s will add to the diversity of our culture.

If you don’t like TJ’s, you can always keep shopping at the other stores. We can each make our own choices 😉

Adam July 9, 2012 - 4:46 pm

Wonder if they’ll sell EAT LOCAL / SUPPORT LOCAL stickers at TJ’s? 😉

Shane July 9, 2012 - 4:42 pm

That is all Asheville needs is another large national corporate big box chain store. I just don’t understand some of you. Asheville is obsessed with “buy local”. Meaning buy as many locally produced items as you can & always buy from locally owned & operated stores & restaurants. Trader Joes is NOT a locally owned & operated store. However Ingles is a locally owned & operated store that when ever possible will buy locally grown & produced foods, but for some reason many of you bash the place like it was Walmart. I just don’t understand all the excitement about Trader Joes, one large national chain grocery store is much like another, even if it sells organic, holistic & sometimes local products. By buying from them you are NOT keeping the money local, you are helping to keep am already rich CEO & share holders even more rich.

JLC July 9, 2012 - 6:42 pm

Shane, you are right. Sometimes I think others are selling out to their tummies and wallets. Chipotle is yummy. Trader Joe’s is cheap. But they’re both “not from around here”. It’s necessary and sometimes not pleasant to focus on our values. Looks like we value local companies who spend local and support local. *high five*

ct July 9, 2012 - 11:24 pm

Why do people not like Ingles? Maybe because their stores are dirty (don’t ever use their bathrooms, just as bad or even worse than some gas stations), many of their products are out of date, many of the employees are there to just make money and don’t care about the experience (unlike TJ and Whole Foods, who care about your experience and want to be nice to you), many of their Laura Lynn products are sub-par quality and not worth it, etc. I could go on. I don’t get why people act like chain stores/restaurants, etc. are so bad. All of them were local stores at one point and people liked them so they expanded their business. Is anything wrong with that? Does a store become “bad” if they open another few locations?

Trader Joe’s has mostly store brands that are cheaper than the national brands, and on par if not cheaper than other store brands, but on par to better than national brands. With that, why would anyone not want to shop there?

What’s wrong with keeping rich people rich? It’s not always the case, but maybe the reason people are rich is because that they work hard? Again, people act like rich people are evil and don’t deserve it. Well, they are successful, is that their fault?

bucket buddy July 11, 2012 - 9:55 am

i’m at the north asheville ingles all the time, don’t have any issues with it. which ingles are you referring to? just curious…

luther blissett July 11, 2012 - 3:29 pm

The NAvl Ingles is definitely tuned to suit the Beaver Lake clientele, given that the Fresh Market’s just across the street. The Patton & Leicester Hwy one, not so much.

cinco July 9, 2012 - 2:57 pm

Benjamin Moore store says they have lost their lease and are relocating in August. Say the building was sold to tear down (along with neighboring bldg) to build a TJ

Stephanie Weil July 9, 2012 - 2:36 pm

Yes, the sign tags have been pretty funny. I think that a Trader Joe’s will be a good thing for Asheville. however, when is CHIPOTLE going to come to Asheville? They think that all we are is some back water college town. Someone should let them know the truth about how great AVL is!!

Orbit DVD July 9, 2012 - 3:53 pm

We are.

MLA July 12, 2012 - 11:29 am

Mamasitas is SO much better than Chipotle! We don’t need chain restaurants in Asheville – we already have so many wonderful options!

Marty Weil July 9, 2012 - 2:07 pm

This might explain the tagging war that has been wagged on the HT building site sign. It has been spray painted with remarks about a Trader Joes several times. Each time the sign is tagged, it is quickly painted over. Of course, this rumor might be linked to that prank, which would be an alternative explaination.

Ricky Party July 9, 2012 - 1:18 pm

If that’s true, Greenlife will definitely lose a lot of customers…

Nancy July 9, 2012 - 7:42 pm

Greenlife disappeared when Whole Foods bought them out. It hasn’t been the same. Food bar is horrible. Weak support of local farmers. Fruit and veggies from CaliFornIa.

Ricky Party July 10, 2012 - 7:10 pm

Whatever it’s called, I’m glad Trader Joe’s will be offering a shopping experience alternative that doesn’t require you to have deep pockets to eat healthy.

amy July 9, 2012 - 1:11 pm

Exciting to hear. Love TJs but hate Merrimon traffic as it is. Hmmm. Keep us updated!

Deb-IL July 9, 2012 - 12:44 pm

I am not yet an Asheville are resident so can you narrow this down for me a bit – where are Merrimon, between what and what? I wouldn’t pick a house base on TJ’s location…… but it wouldn’t hurt!

Jennifer Saylor July 9, 2012 - 12:46 pm

LOL Deb–Merrimon’s not really between anything, it’s THE main drag of North Asheville.

Deb-IL July 9, 2012 - 12:56 pm

Jennnifer – that much I do know! What I mean is where on Merrimon will TJ’s be – between which major E/W streets, roughly. Be patient – A’ville is a tough place to get around but I’m learning!!

Jennifer Saylor July 9, 2012 - 12:58 pm

Deb, I’m headed there today and will report.

Deb-IL July 9, 2012 - 12:59 pm

Thanks much.

orulz July 9, 2012 - 1:26 pm

The article places the TJ location as somewhere between I-240 and Chestnut.

I for one don’t really care for TJ’s, but if you’re a TJ fanboy/girl as most people seem to be, go ahead and squee with delight.

Ed July 9, 2012 - 12:27 pm

I’m not counting my chickens until a shovel is in the ground. Merrimon is very busy, but not nearly as busy as Airport Road or Long Shoals. While Merrimon would be a great location for the north Asheville residents I don’t think it would draw folks from other location surrounding Asheville regardless of their good deals on wine and vice versa. I won’t drive to Greenville anymore for the wine because for the difference in gas money I can get cheap wine at Earth Fare.

Waiting for dirt to get turned…

Orbit DVD July 9, 2012 - 12:46 pm

Does City Council need to approve this?

Jason Sandford July 9, 2012 - 12:59 pm

Not sure, Orbit. Checking into all this…

Shane July 9, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Have you thought about buying your cheap wine at Ingles, which is a locally owned & operated store instead of buying it from a large national corporate chain store like Trader Joes?

Chris Bryant July 10, 2012 - 8:29 am

But for the ones of us who DO make periodic runs to TJs Greenville a 7-minute jaunt over to Merrimon or anywhere else in town is a blink-of-the-eye scenario.

Bud August 24, 2012 - 6:49 am

With Merrimon being only a two lane, it seems to me that Merrimon is way busier than Airport or Long Shoals. Busier with congested traffic, that is.

Murphy July 9, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Looks like Merrimon is going to get more congested … wasn’t that one of the reasons that the City nixed the mixed use develpoment that was originally planned for the Harris Teeter spot …

Jason Sandford July 9, 2012 - 12:21 pm

Murphy – yes, that was one reason. That was a much bigger development project than Trader Joe’s. Not sure how that project’s traffic numbers compare with what Harris Teeter says it will bring in. Will be interesting to watch…

Ian C July 9, 2012 - 12:23 pm

Making a left turn off Merrimon, driving north from downtown is going to be impossible. I don’t suppose there’s any way to add a middle turn lane along that stretch.

orulz July 9, 2012 - 1:20 pm

Harris Teeter is adding a left turn lane and a stoplight at the corner of Merrimon & Broad. It would be nice if they would add a left turn lane one at Merrimon & Chestnut as well but it’s not in the plan.


Ed July 9, 2012 - 12:35 pm

Who started the rumor about Long Shoals. I think so many folks want it in their neighborhood they are starting to make things up. Wait until it’s official before getting your hopes up.

Jason Sandford July 9, 2012 - 12:38 pm

Ed, don’t know who started it. The rumor has been going for about the last three years, maybe more.

BenG July 9, 2012 - 3:46 pm

The urban village proposal on Merrimon was never officially nixed. Rather, it was withdrawn by the developers after the neighborhood filed a valid protest petition and the real estate market crashed. The primary issues that the neighborhood raised were the excessive height of the proposed condo towers compared to the existing neighborhood, and the proposed commercial use of Eloise St. including a loading dock. Increased traffic on Merrimon and in the neighborhood was a concern for us, but was not the deal-breaker. In fact many of us appreciated the smart-growth aspects of the proposal: integrating high density residential, office and retail space creates an urban environment where walking/biking/mass transit become real alternatives to driving.

If they do tear down existing building between Greenlife and Chestnut for a Trader Joes I will be happy to have another good shopping option in the neighborhood. But, the box store mode of development promotes automobile dependence. I hope if they come there, they make it easy for pedestrians and bicyclists to use the store and navigate surrounding streets and intersections.

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