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Business news website says Trader Joe’s has its eye on location ‘near Decatur’

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Business news website says Trader Joe’s has its eye on location ‘near Decatur’

The boundaries of the city of Decatur. Source: Google Maps

This story has been updated.

DeKalb County, GA — The headline says “Trader Joe’s Finally Looking to Grow its Georgia Presence,” but it’s a detail near the bottom of the article that caught the eye of Decatur residents.

The article, citing a “source close to … Trader Joe’s” suggests the company is looking to place a store “in the Decatur area.”

The article is light on details and the publisher of Tomorrow’s News Today, Eli Zandman, is playing things close to the vest. But Zandman’s website has scored many notable scoops about real estate development news.

But while Tomorrow’s News gets the benefit of the doubt about Trader Joe’s intentions, “the Decatur area” could mean many things.

Three big local developments on the horizon are the redevelopment of the Baby Kroger site in Decatur, the Halo East Decatur development in Decatur and the redevelopment of North DeKalb Mall, all of which would include a grocery store of some type.

The developers of the Baby Kroger and North DeKalb Mall projects declined to confirm or deny if Trader Joe’s is interested in their projects after receiving an inquiry from Decaturish. Northwood Ravin, the developer of Halo East Decatur, also has not announced its retail tenants. Decaturish has reached out to Northwood Ravin seeking more information.

There are no announcements on the Trader Joe’s website

Zandman wrote, “[Tomorrow’s News Today] Atlanta is confident in its identification of at least two of the other sites including one near Decatur and another near Atlanta but are not publishing for now as we await confirmation.”

A spokesperson for Trader Joe’s said the company is always looking for opportunities to expand.

“We are actively looking at hundreds of neighborhoods across the country as we hope to open more new neighborhood stores each year,” the spokesperson said. “At this time, we do not have a location confirmed in Decatur. We list all of the stores that are opening soon on our website.”

Until then, Decatur residents will have to wait, something they’re good at by now because they’ve been waiting or a Trader Joe’s for years. The yearning for a Trader Joe’s once prompted Atlanta Magazine to  muse, “Why can’t Decatur get a Trader Joe’s?”

“Trader Joe’s, however, is notoriously conservative when it comes to growth,” Atlanta Magazine writes. “It didn’t expand beyond California until 1993, and most of its stores are tiny compared to those of its big-box competitors. Although the company is rather tight-lipped about how it chooses locations, industry-watchers believe it is extremely picky when it comes to demographics, demanding a customer base that’s well-educated and boasts a six-figure median household income. It typically selects retail space only in established shopping centers on high-traffic thoroughfares in densely populated areas. It also likes lots of parking (which is to say, more than what’s available at its Midtown Promenade location.)”

Atlanta Magazine sees cause for optimism, noting that Decatur is rich and getting richer, and money still talks.

The lack of a Trader Joe’s in Decatur has become something of a running joke. In March 2020, someone trolled the community by putting a “Trader Joe’s Coming Soon” sign on West Howard Avenue after a water tower there was torn down. But that was not the case.

Reporter Zoe Seiler contributed to this story.

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