People seem to have an obsession when it comes to Trader Joe's. Literally an obsession. Duluthian's wont find it uncommon to know people who make the drive down to the Twin Cities to visit their nearest Trader Joe's, stock up, and return home with a load full a organic goodies! But it seems that no matter how hard Duluthian's seem to wish for a Trader Joe's location to open up here, one will never come. We wouldn't say that's the truth. There's reasons as to why Duluth has yet to be graced with a Trader Joe's location.
The first is that Trader Joe's really is still new to the Minnesota market. They only opened their first Minnesota location in St. Louis Park less than five years ago. The company now has six Minnesota locations (St. Louis Park, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, St. Paul, Rochester, Bloomington) and has been trying for the last year to open a location in Minneapolis. The thing that one must realize is that Trader Joe's is really starting to just enter their expansion phase in Minnesota. Bloomington just opened last month and they are continuing to go back to the Minneapolis City Council with plans for a new store. They have not given up on Minnesota yet, rather they are just beginning to solidify their presence!
With the help of one of our followers who visited the Lexington Avenue location St. Paul we were able to find out this interesting bit of information. We checked in with that location this past week to confirm their news and the employees happily started that Duluth is definitely on Trader Joe's radar. There's just one minor, well major, glitch that is stopping the new store from happening. Minnesota stores must be within an 8 hour trip to Chicago due to their distribution center being located there. If they are out of that ring it unfortunately means that they cannot deliver the product within the required time limit. So what this means is that the Minneapolis area would need to have their own Trader Joe's distribution center built in order for a Duluth location to happen. Don't cry. We think it will happen... quite soon actually.
In closing here is what we want you to get from this post is the following. It's not a question of "if. but more so "when." Trader Joe's most likely will open in Duluth in the near future. They have been expanding rapidly in the Twin Cities market and only have a few areas left to expand to before it get's to a point of saturation. They've tested non metro markets like Rochester to see their success and have been thoroughly impressed with the reaction to their new store in Rochester. And as we state quite often, Duluth and Rochester are not that different as far as sizing and the way retailers view the cities. It seems like each year the two cities are growing more and more similar. The only thing is that makes us different is that Rochester has access to the delicious Trader Joe's "Gone Bananas" treat (chocolate covered banana slices, check them out next time!).
What's left to say? If you want a Trader Joe's location one must be patient or one must write to corporate or make it clear during your next visit to a Trader Joe's that a distribution center needs to be built in Minnesota for further store expansion! Explain the success Duluth will bring the company! Trader Joe's needs to have faith in Minnesota and I am sure we Trader Joe's loving people will have no problem instilling that within them! Let's look on the bright side at least they have ample time to design us an even more awesome store (they build extremely well designed stores!). We'll keep our fingers crossed and let you guys know the next TJ news we hear!