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Sep 8, 2009 5:38 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Group hopes for Trader Joe's on the East End

Sep 8, 2009 5:38 PM

A journey of about 30 miles does not stop some East Enders from making the trek to the closest Trader Joe’s, in Lake Grove, but many want to see the food emporium, known for its store-brand foods, healthy foods and reasonable prices, set up shop closer to home.

In fact, Southold resident Claire Kennedy has organized a Facebook group called “Trader Joe’s Riverhead, NY Location Request Group” to urge the California-based company to open up a store somewhere on the East End. The group has 2,024 members, many of whom live on the North and South forks.

But the company does not have immediate plans to open a store in eastern Suffolk County, according to Alison Mochizuki, the director of national publicity for Trader Joe’s.

“The area is not in the two-year plan of opening a location,” Ms. Mochizuki said. She declined to go into further detail, adding that the company does not typically discuss its real estate plans with the press at all.

Ms. Kennedy said representatives from Trader Joe’s were scouting out East End locations in the beginning of July, and she suggested that eastern Suffolk may be in the company’s long-term plans.

Ms. Kennedy’s Trader Joe’s Facebook group urges its members to fill out an “iPetition”—an online petition—and fill out the location request form at the Trader Joe’s website. The iPetition has 673 signatures.

A stay-at-home mom with three children, Ms. Kennedy said she always makes healthy food a priority.

“I’m big into organic food,” she said. “I belong to an organic food co-op that delivers to people on the North Fork once per month.”

Ms. Kennedy also authors a blog called “Trader Joe’s East End Friends,” which chronicles her trips to the Lake Grove store, located on Alexander Avenue near the Smith Haven Mall. Her May 9 post details delicious samples Trader Joe’s employees handed out, such as Triple Ginger Cookie Thins.

“These are scrumptious thin wafer cookies with a sharp, strong ginger flavor excellently balanced with a hint of sweetness,” Ms. Kennedy wrote. “They contain ground candied ginger, minced ginger, and ginger pulp, as well as molasses and brown sugar. YUM!”

Other posts provide recipes from “Cooking with Trader Joe’s,” a cookbook and accompanying blog written by two women from California. All the recipes, such as the vegetarian mushroom moussaka Ms. Kennedy posted on May 1, use ingredients from Trader Joe’s exclusively.

According to the Trader Joe’s website, the company is opening up stores in Redmond, Washington; Raleigh, North Carolina; Princeton, New Jersey; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Aliso Viejo, California within the next year. Besides Lake Grove on Long Island there are stores in Commack, Merrick, Oceanside and Plainview.

Hampton Bays resident Catherine Profera, who is a member of the “Trader Joe’s Riverhead, NY Location Request Group,” said that she would love to have one of the stores east of the William Floyd Parkway. “I like Trader Joe’s because their products have less preservatives or no preservatives at all,” she said.

She added that when she goes to Trader Joe’s she spends $120 to $150, but gets a lot of food for her money.

Eileen Quinlan of Hampton Bays, also a member of Ms. Kennedy’s group, said in a voicemail message that she would love to see Trader Joe’s open up in downtown Riverhead. “Wouldn’t it be a great thing if they had it right in the heart of town?” she said, explaining that the shop could help to revitalize the area. There is one health food store, Green Earth Natural Foods Market, located on East Main Street in Riverhead.

Ms. Profera said she thinks that the East End has enough of a year-round population to make a Trader Joe’s in this area profitable. “There’s so many stores on Route 58, they would make out very, very well,” she said.

Andrea Ruhling of Southampton, also a member of Ms. Kennedy’s group, would also like to see a Trader Joe’s on the East End, mainly because she likes their frozen food offerings.

“I’m not a big prepared food person ... my husband and I are not into it,” Ms. Ruhling said. “But the stuff that Trader Joe’s does have is good.” She added that she loves the company’s chocolates and coffee, as well.

Sandra Holten of Westhampton Beach, who is also a member of the “Trader Joe’s Riverhead, NY Location Request Group,” also wishes that the group would open up a store on the East End.

“I love their food, love their prices, but it annoys me that it’s so far away,” she said.
“Everyone I know that’s into health is into Trader Joe’s. Once you’ve been in there, you’re hooked.”

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LOVE Trader Joes...hope they come sooner rather than later!
By EQMama (29), East Quogue on Sep 10, 09 3:10 PM
Downtown Riverhead would be a great place for a Trader Joe's! Thanks Claire for all your efforts!
By Nancy Swett (1), Riverhead on Sep 10, 09 6:42 PM
Yeah, bring Trader Joe's to Riverhead. In my opinion, it is a no brainer in terms of profits and numbers. Sales would be lower in the off-season, but summer would make up the the bottom-line profit I guarantee it.. Come to Riverhead TJs..
By ldmoore (4), East Hampton on Sep 10, 09 11:57 PM
1 member liked this comment
I am sure they would love to come into Southampton! OH wait, there are moritoriums all over the place.....
By The Real World (368), southampton on Sep 11, 09 3:34 PM
The old Suffolk Life building in Riverhead would be good, but the old potato barn off County Rd 39 would be great!
By interestedtaxpayer (21), southampton on Sep 14, 09 11:45 AM
Shouldn't we just patronize the more dedicated shops that serve good food that are already here? There are loads of good healthy food businesses all over the East End. Why threaten their good livelihoods for the sake of saving a few dollars? And why in the world do we want another large mega-corporation that after some time when the competition has been crushed will compromise their products as well as our health? Shop the local farmers markets and shops that sell organic food. One good reason ...more
By Scratch (26), Sag Harbor on Sep 14, 09 11:27 PM
Once again NYC comes to the east end..It seems that it's become impossible for the weekenders to do without their favorite stores for even a day or two...Has everyone forgotten why you try to get away from the city in the first place?
By pmofo (37), East Quogue on Sep 15, 09 7:57 AM
So much for competition. If everyone thought the way Scratch and pmofo do, They wouldn't have had a place to move to. Who are we to say what can go where. This is America, if a company wants to come here it is their butt on the line.Major companies do not move to rural areas unless there is a need. Remember that.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Sep 15, 09 2:49 PM
I am totally for it! And to Scratch from Sag Harbor ....you clearly have never been to to a Trader Joes where you get good, quality groceries (many organic)for a fair low price - something I (a local) have yet to find east of the canal in the hamptons. Famstands are great but they are by no means inexpensive and forget the ridiculously overpriced grocery stores ... they are a joke.
By tmarie (30), Southampton on Sep 16, 09 9:50 AM
I completely agree with putting Trader Joe's in Riverhead. I don't believe County Road 39 would be a good idea - too many idiots drive recklessly.
By LovedHerTown (132), southampton on Sep 16, 09 1:05 PM
Personally, I think it would be a smarter
endeavor to bring a Trader Joe's store
further out on the East End-what with the
traffic being the way it is, no one really
wants to fight it to go Riverhead and back in the summer. I hope Trader Joe's
does come out East further it would be a
real bonanza for the East end of LI.
By Lynn Rice (1), Southampton on Jan 31, 17 1:20 AM