by Dave Noble, City News Editor
ELMHURST – Stating that the courtship from both residents and City Hall has grown “tiresome” and that the town fails to meet both the social and economic standards required by his company, Trader Joe’s Chief Executive Officer Dan Bane issued a press release Tuesday morning stating that the “fresh format” grocery store will never open a location in Elmhurst.
The announcement sent shockwaves throughout the community and was met with disappointment by the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission, who was convinced that Trader Joe’s would eventually open a new location in the mid-sized suburban town that already has a Whole Foods, a Mariano’s, two Jewels, and a population of fault-finding grocery shoppers.
“They’ve made it very clear with this statement that they don’t want to open a grocery store here,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Kopp, who noted that he has reached out to Trader Joe’s executives on “dozens” of occasions over the last year or so to gauge their interest in various properties that are available in Elmhurst. “I just called them last week to see if they wanted to take a look at the old location of Rainbow Restaurant. There’s not much parking on the site, but there are a couple of parking garages within a few blocks.”
Elmhurst residents were devastated by the news.
“I had my heart set on Trader Joe’s opening in Elmhurst,” said resident Julia Formari, eating a $15 egg salad sandwich and a drinking a $7 organic juice at the Whole Foods café on Route 83. “Frankly, I’m not satisfied with Whole Foods’ selection of organically grown, environmental-friendly products with no genetically-modified ingredients.”
The decision to eliminate Elmhurst as a potential future location was an easy decision for Trader Joe’s, according to Bane.
“There are dozens of reasons why we would never open a store in Elmhurst,” said Bane, who declined to comment on a rumor that the Economic Development Commission offered to amend some zoning ordinances for Trader Joe’s to open a 25,000 square foot store adjacent to “The Hub” at Berens Park. “The residents are very picky, and they have a reputation for asking a million questions about the origin of products. On top of that, Elmhurst is a revolving door of businesses that open and close.”
Bane added that he is close to completing two separate deals that will bring Trader Joe’s grocery stores to both Bensenville and Schiller Park.