The Truth About Trader Joe’s

Brynn Grimley writes:

I’m here to set the rumor mill straight: Trader Joe’s is not coming to Kitsap County.

At least not in the next two years, according to Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for the company.

Since arriving at the Kitsap Sun four years ago I think I’ve heard every rumor imaginable that Trader Joe’s is coming to Kitsap — more specifically Silverdale. I’ve also heard varying reasons for why they haven’t located here yet. But it’s all been speculation by people who love the store and really, really, really, really, REALLY want to see the chain open in Kitsap. (Heck they have 14 locations in Western Washington, what’s one more, right?)

The latest rumor came Monday when someone called our newsroom to say an employee of the University District Place Trader Joe’s confirmed the company had signed a lease for a building in Silverdale.

I called Mochizuki at Trader Joe’s corporate office in California leaving a message to see if there was any truth to the rumor that Kitsap might become the latest county to sell “Two-Buck Chuck” (ps it really should be called Three-Buck Chuck since it costs more than $2 in this state, but that’s neither here nor there).

She called me back a few hours later leaving this message on my voicemail: “At this time Kitsap is not in our two-year plan of opening a location.” She went on to say that Silverdale was also not a part of that two-year plan.

For those who have never been to a Trader Joe’s, the best way to describe it is a small grocery store with style. The walls are decorated with cedar planks, the employees wear Hawaiian shirts, and the inventory ranges from everyday ingredients like milk to specialty products that are hard to find anywhere else. Trader Joe’s offered a large organic selection years before organic became popular for the masses.

The company is probably most well known for its “Two-Buck Chuck”, or Charles Shaw wine that it sells for cheap. It’s a decent wine for the price — which you really appreciate when you’re a college student with minimal spending money in your pocket (or a recent college grad looking for a job to support your “Two-Buck Chuck” habit, not that I know from personal experience or anything).

So while I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it seemed only appropriate I set the record straight and let the 806 people who joined the Facebook group “Citizens of Kitsap County, WA Beg For a Trader Joe’s” they’ll have to wait a little longer to see their dreams realized.

17 thoughts on “The Truth About Trader Joe’s

  1. The front desk manager at the University Place Trader Joe’s told me they’ve signed a lease in Silverdale.

  2. Could you call the owner of Central Market in Poulsbo and ask them if they would be willing to add South Kitsap to their two year plan??

    I could start a facebook rally site if necessary.


  3. Really sorry to hear that they are not coming. We, too are fans of TJ. They almost lost me this year when they stopped carrying the smoked Herring, but I guess we will continue to make the trek to Tacoma.

    Thanks for the straight scoop.

    Is there any chance that the more corporate denies the move it really means that they are coming??

  4. Honestly, I’m glad they’re not coming. I’ve never found anything good about them except the fun atmosphere and when I need a good dessert or wine for a party at the last second. Focus on locally-owned grocery stores!!!

  5. Ann,

    Thanks for clarifying – when the message was relayed to me I thought the editor said University District. Oops! I made the change in the post to reflect the correct store. Thanks for making sure I had it right.

    – Brynn

  6. Considering how all the areas listed on the poll have issues when it comes to new business’s, I would bet on Gig Harbor getting TJ’s before any place in Kitsap County. Heck, at this point we look forward to any business opening in South Kitsap just to give a little variety.
    Roger Gay
    South Kitsap

  7. And technically, they would have been telling the truth, Roger. Gig Harbor is in Pierce County. So, a Pierce County TJ’s could be in their two year plan.

    Btw, I love their salads.

  8. Wiht all due respect, Brynn, I disagree that TJ is not coming to Silverdale, and I base my opinion on conversations I’ve had within the last week with three different TJ managers at the University Place TJs. They’ve told me the company has signed a lease for a site in Silverdale but the corporate office won’t make an OFFICIAL announcement until they’ve submitted (not yet done) and received permits, posted signs and everything’s a definite go. Last night, a friend told me she’d spoken with a close friend who manages a TJ in Seattle, and he told her the same thing. So, I think TJ wisely is not making any official announcements (one manager said it took six years to open a Seattle store due to permitting issues with Seattle), but the three managers I spoke with said they think a TJ will open in Silverdale within a year. Also, a couple of years ago, a mananger said they wouldn’t open a Kitsap store until they’d opened one in Olympia, and that’s since happened.

  9. Ann,

    Well I hope for all the folks out there who want to see a Trader Joe’s come to Kitsap you’re right. I can only report what I learned through calling their corporate offices, and through calling our county’s planning department.

    In both cases they told me no, they weren’t coming. I’ve dealt with corporate offices before regarding businesses coming in, and usually they’re a bit more coy when I ask if their business is coming to our area. They’ll say they can’t confirm it, but I’ve never had them flat out deny it like Allison did, saying that Kitsap and Silverdale were not in the company’s two-year plan.

    But I guess that could also mean that maybe Kitsap is in a three-year plan?

    I’ll try calling around some more to see what else I might be able to find, but right now all I can report is what I was told by company and county officials.

  10. Brynn — If they open their doors in Kitsap within the coming year, I’ll buy you a bottle of two/three buck Chuck to celebrate!

  11. Thanks Ann!

    I also have some new developments in the Trader Joe’s story.

    While the county still says no permits have been filed on behalf of Trader Joe’s, I heard from someone in the community who said either last week or the week before he saw two people looking at vacant building space in Silverdale.

    He and the person he was with asked what they were hoping to open and they said they were from Trader Joe’s looking at two spaces in Silverdale — the old Long Drugs store next to Chuck E. Cheese and the Circuit City building.

    They hadn’t signed a lease, to his knowledge, but they confirmed they were looking to find a place in Kitsap.

    So I’ll let county planners know I’m desperate for a phone call when any permitting crosses their desks. And of course I’ll write a follow up blog post when that happens.

  12. I would suggest a better option. Shop your local farmers and co-ops and keep the dollars in your own town. Also, go to Whole Foods Market which is an American owned company unlike TJ that is a German company. Also, a huge amount of TJ products are not made by small American owned companies. Instead by large corporations like Pepsi etc.

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