Poll Result: South Baltimoreans Really Want a Trader Joe’s

| April 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

In light of last week’s announcement that the Shoppers at Southside Marketplace in Locust Point/Riverside is for sale, along with all other Shoppers locations, SouthBMore.com conducted a poll to see what grocery store readers would like to potentially replace it.

Shoppers currently remains open and there are no immediate plans to close the store while this process is underway. There are 36 Shoppers locations including the Southside Marketplace location and a location in Brooklyn Park, as well as a total of four stores in Baltimore City.

The SouthBMore.com poll listed every grocery store with a local presence. There were 19 options and a total of 834 votes. Trader Joe’s garnered 45.08% of the votes with 376, almost three times as many votes as the Wegman’s, which came in second place with 133 votes (or 15.95%). Third place was Aldi with 77 votes and fourth place was Giant with 52 votes. MOM’s Organic Market, Target, Whole Foods, Safeway, Weis Markets, and Graul’s rounded out the top 10.

If you have followed Baltimore real estate development public input, and read the comment sections of social media for posts about retail and development, it should come as no surprise that there is a huge desire for a Trader Joe’s in South Baltimore or anywhere in Baltimore City. There are currently no Trader Joe’s in Baltimore City and a new location has not been added to the Baltimore area, minus the Towson relocation, in many years.

In many discussions SouthBMore.com has had with local developers, several have noted Trader Joe’s is primarily looking for locations where it can sell alcohol. Trader Joe’s is well known for its “Two Buck Chuck” wine. Most counties in Maryland, including Baltimore City and its surrounding counties, do not allow beer, wine, or liquor sales in grocery stores. A vast majority of states in the U.S. allow the sale of beer and wine in grocery stores. There are, however, certainly arrangements that exist in Maryland to sell alcohol associated with a grocery story, such as McHenry Row’s Harris Teeter having an attached beer/wine store, The Cellars.

Another drawback for the Shoppers’ location for Trader Joe’s could be size. Shoppers is 44,264 sq. ft. UX Collective has reported that an average Trader Joe’s is 15,000 sq. ft. The space could be subdivided, but the shopping center is owned by Regency Centers, not Shoppers.

While getting a Trader Joe’s in South Baltimore could be a long shot, the SouthBMore.com poll could be an asset for commercial brokers looking to lure the company. One commercial broker has reached out to SouthBMore.com expressing excitement regarding the poll results.

Individuals can contact Trader Joe’s with a location request here.

Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi, which does have locations in the city, including one in Morrell Park. Aldi came in third place in the poll, but did not garner nearly the number of votes as Trader Joe’s.

Shoppers parent company, United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), acquired Shopper’ former parent company, SUPERVALU, in October of last year. Shoppers was started in Washington, D.C. and was acquired by SUPERVALU in 1999. UNFI is a food distributor and is looking to get out of the retail business after the acquisition of SUPERVALU.

UNFI has said it will “thoughtfully and economically divest its retail operations and the company is making progress on that front.” But, the company does not have any updates at this time. Giant Food took over two Washington, D.C.-area Shoppers locations in 2018.

Regency Centers’ Southside Marketplace remains a busy shopping center with an occupancy rate of more than 95%. There are currently two retail suites available totaling 5,606 sq. ft. A representative from Regency Centers told SouthBMore.com he doesn’t think the vacant spaces will be there for long and that “we have more prospective tenant interest at Southside now than we have had in a long time.”

The company has not commented at this time on the ongoing situation with Shoppers.

Photo courtesy of Trader Joe’s Towson 

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About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.