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Posts tagged: Trader Joe’s

Rite-Aid will move, letting Trader Joe’s jump into the Franklin Park Mall strip

Big news if you are into food. A second Trader Joe's comes to north Spokane.

The graphic here shows the layout of Franklin Park Mall. TJ's goes into roughly half the Rite-Aid building there on North Division.

Rite-Aid, we're told, will leave the mall portion and build a drive-through near the Burlington Coat Factory building, on the site (but not part of Franklin Park Mall).

OK, back to your regularly scheduled browsing.

Jimmy John’s sandwich franchise going into Lincoln Heights shop this March

If going by the former Curves spa at Lincoln Heights made you guilty about not working out, worry no more: that spot, at 2931 E. 29th, will soon become a Jimmy John's sandwich franchise.

The new shop moves into the Curves loction near Trader Joe's. Curves relocated to the other end of the shopping center, near Baskin Robbins ice cream shop.

Operating the new Jimmy John's are Ric and Kathy Rocca of Spokane. The couple already operate two other Jimmy John's shops, in downtown and near Gonzaga University.

They expect the Lincoln Heights shop to open in mid-March. They're leasing 1,500 square feet from property owner Vandervert Developments. 

Ric Rocca said the shop will be open seven days a week, employing about 15 workers. It will deliver to area customers who fall, generally, within a 20 minute radius of the store.

The head office of the Jimmy John's company is in Champagne, Ill.

Spokane’s Trader Joe’s opens, while the popular chain considers going upscale

Friday was Day One of Life with Trader Joe's, in Spokane. The word from those at Lincoln Heights Shopping Center was that the first few hours were busy and ebullient. People actually seemed happy to be spending money, was the word we heard.

Here's an update from the LA Times on the California trendy-market's new plunge into larger and more stylish stores. The Spokane store is just over 10,000 square feet, which is the typical small but not overpacked design for a TJ's.

The newest store plopped into the California community of Montrose is nearly 15,000 square feet and, as the story notes, boasts more spacious aisles, higher ceilings and a trim brick-and-glass exterior. 

No one from the SR business desk went to Trader Joe's opening day. We took advantage, however, of an early option to visit the store before it opened.  

Congratulations to Spokane, you've gotten what you wanted.

(Photo credit: Gary Friedman/LA Times)

Vin Rouge closure tied to negotiations with Carl’s Jr.

South Hill restaurant Vin Rouge closed its doors last weekend and will not reopen.

Owner Jeff Jenkins said he’s decided to close the eatery, at 3029 E. 29th, in part because he could not negotiate a new sublease.

He helped open the restaurant in the Lincoln Heights area  seven years ago.

Jenkins said he had a multiyear sublease with the parent company of fast food chain Carl’s Jr., which has the first lease with property owner Harlan Douglass. Jenkins said he has been unable to negotiate a new sublease with Carl’s Jr.

He speculated that negotiations were affected by the activity in that area related to the opening later this month of a new Trader Joe’s market in Lincoln Heights Shopping Center.

Officials at Carl’s Jr. may consider the Vin Rouge property an attractive option for a new tenant because Trader Joe’s will attract more traffic to that area, he said.

Another eatery in Lincoln Heights also closed recently. The Jack in the Box at 3020 E. 29th also shut down on Sept. 29, said a company spokeswoman. That fast food store has been a corporate-owned location and will not be reopened, the spokeswoman said.

She declined to offer a reason for the closing.

Vin Rouge, Jack in the Box on the South Hill both close

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It appears South Hill Spokane restaurant Vin Rouge on East 29th has shut down. Details to come later on that decision.

Across the street, it's the same story. The Jack in the Box at 3020 E. 29th closed down on Sept. 30, a company spokesperson confirmed.

That store, near Lincoln Heights Shopping Center, is a corporate-owned Jack in the Box. As such, the company's main office declined to give a reason for the closure. 

The Jack in the Box spokesperson also declined to speculate on whether it will add a new store in the Spokane area soon.

A lot of people filled out applications for Trader Joe’s jobs

About 2,500 people turned in applications this week to work at the new Spokane Trader Joe's store, said company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki.

A new photo of applicants filling out forms outside the building will appear in Saturday's edition of The Spokesman-Review and

Mochizuki said not all the Spokane store jobs have been filled, and more applications will be accepted next week.  The location is the Spokane Lincoln Heights Shopping Center.

Openings: TJ’s, Title Nine and the downtown Sapphire Lounge

Thursday morning new openings (an update):

These two you may have known about already.

  • Trader Joe's will open Oct. 28 in the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center. Good luck with parking that weekend. Smartly, TJ's knows it has to be open a few weeks prior to Thanksgiving.
  • Title Nine, the fashionable outerwear and sports wear apparel company, recently opened a store on South Perry in the Perry Street District. A good company, with an interesting gamble on where it's set up its shop. See our earlier story.

And not least, the Sapphire Lounge, at the corner of Lincoln and First, will do a grand opening this weekend. This is the front-side intimate lounge-eatery attached to the Hotel Ruby, operated by Jerry Dicker and partners. 

The lounge will do a soft opening tonight and Friday. Saturday is more or less a formal opening, according to Dicker. The lounge normally operates Wednesday-Saturday, with the option of reserving the space for functions the other days of the week.

Sante restaurateur Jeremy Hansen did not remain in the executive chef role. An earlier story from the SR described him as the architect behind the Sapphire Lounge menu. Dicker said they chose to go separate ways.

Paul Samson, the bar manager, will still be working the lounge, said Dicker.

China South closed, new retail complex will take its place in Lincoln Heights

The China South Restaurant on Spokane's South Hill has closed.

Owners are the Cho and Chan Family Trust, who've operated the restaurant in the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center for 20 years.

They plan to build a new retail center after tearing down the building. It was originally, when built in 1962, an A&W Restaurant.

For the full story, go to tomorrow or look for it in Friday's print edition business section.

Work taking place at the nearby Trader Joe's played a role in the decision, said Chin Ho Cho, one of the owners.

One tough cookie, the Trader Joe code of silence

Among the most difficult companies to pry information from is Trader Joe's.

They will just not let any information squeek out without their approval. Case in point, the planned opening of the new Trader Joe's on the South Hill in Spokane.

Announced months ago, the project is clearly moving along. Some folks even think they know about when it will open.

But don't count on any predications for that opening date. You won't get anyone who really knows to spill a word, since the TJ code is very similar to dealing with Apple:  You say one thing that's not authorized, you will pay for it later.

We made a few inquiries about when the new store will open. We were told WHEN TJ's is ready, we'll be among the first to know.

But when talking to anyone in town working on that building, it became quickly clear the company has bound them to strict and total silence.

So. Don't tell me you know when it will open. You can't possibly know unless you work for TJ's.

Say it ain’t so, Joe. Trader Joe’s recalls mislabeled pizzas

While Spokane-area foodies await the much-heralded arrival this year of a new Trader Joe’s, here's a touch of reality, although the news is hardly anything approaching serious.

The California-based food market chain has voluntarily ordered nearly 131,000 pounds of frozen pizzas to be recalled.

It did so in response to a notice by the United States Department of Agriculture that the chain's “Pizza Al Pollo Asado” product failed to mention it contains wheat. Since some people are allergic to wheat, with symptoms ranging from nausea and hives and breathing problems, the company faced possible lawsuits by neglecting to pull the bad packages.

Those pizzas were produced between Jan. 27 and March 27 by Completely Fresh Foods in Montebello, Calif.

Work has begun on the new Trader Joe's on Spokane's South Hill. A fall opening is expected.

What the Lincoln Heights Trader Joe’s building and renovation will look like

Today's business story on the timeline and plans involved in building a Trader Joe's store on Spokane's South Hill showed one key factor in the deal: “As part of the deal with Trader Joe’s, the property owner, Lincoln Heights Center, LLC, agreed to renovate the facades of the four adjoining spaces.

“They suggested it would be a good idea to update the look and feel of the area, and get away from the ’50s and ’60s look it has now,” said Chris Bornhoft, a spokesman for the developer, Vandervert Developments.  That company is a sister firm to the LLC set up by Dick Vandervert. Lincoln Heights Center LLC owns most of the south Spokane Center.

The rendition above comes by way of Bornhoft and the architects, Bernardo Wills, of Spokane. The lower image shows how the east buildings at Lincoln Heights will look after renovation. Top image is the current view.  CLICK on image for larger size version.

Trader Joe's' facade is at the far left; Coldstone Creamery is in the space on the far right.

Basically, the next five months will involve tearing down one building at Lincoln Heights, starting the shell for Trader Joe's, and then redoing the facades of the buildings alongside, to the right.

The expected timeline is: once permits are approved, demolition and construction will take about five months, said Bornhoft. 

Trader Joe's will move in and get it open before the end of the year, we're told.

OK, here’s how the Trader Joe’s building will fit on Spokane’s South Hill

Trader Joe’s confirmed a long-circulated rumor on Wednesday, affirming plans to build its first Spokane store in the South Hill neighborhood of Spokane.

The specialty grocery chain, based in Southern California, is going to lease 12,000 square feet in Lincoln Heights Shopping Center, at 29th and Regal.

The aerial map here provided by Trader Joe’s shows the location. It will only dislodge one existing shopping center business, Referee Photo, which is the business immediately north (left) of the Hogan’s diner.

Vandervert Developments, the property manager for Lincoln Heights, agreed to move Referee Photo to another Lincoln Heights location. When the new Trader Joe’s building goes in, it will tear out Referee Photo and extend due north and east to fill the 12,000-square-foot footprint shown above.

Once permits are filed with the city, we’ll get an idea of the projected construction cost. Notably, the owner of the shopping center is Lincoln Heights Center LLC, one of whose principals is Spokane businessman Dick Vandervert.

He also owns Vandervert Developments, which manages many retail centers including Lincoln Heights. And the construction on the new Trader Joe’s will be done by Vandervert Construction. All in the family, you might say.

Inside the secret world of Trader Joe’s

You may think we’re on vacation here at OfficeHours central, but no. We do work a full shift, even in August.

We continue pondering the puzzle that is Trader Joe’s, which like Apple, ranks among the most secretive operations on the planet.

Many folks in Spokane know we have had antennae out, probing for signals that the TJ fleet plans to land a new store in the area. We’ve had e-mails, some blog posts and other signs suggesting something may be up. 

Officially, the answer from TJ’s has been: Spokane is not in the company’s two-year plan.

So there. In the meantime, you TJ fans can learn quite a bit more in the newest issue of CNNMoney magazine about the very private world that the California-based, German company-owned Trader Joe’s operates in.

The CNNMoney magazine article has several nice points to make about how the company got that way. Its popularity goes well beyond fan loyalty. Much like Apple, TJ’s invokes a fanatic faith that people in Spokane can identify with.


Pear Tree Inn is out of Manito Shopping Center

Many rumors drifted across the metro in recent weeks prior to Thursday’s announcement about the new tenant in Manito Shopping Center.

We heard it would be good ol’ Trader Joe’s, the trendy California food and beverage retailer, who has toyed with our affections before. (see this earlier SR business story).

But lost in the coverage was the under story, namely, that while Ross Dress for Less was taking over the empty Gottschalks at 29th and Grand Blvd., the little food restaurant on the lower level, Pear Tree Inn, is now out.

Brokers for NAI Black, who represent the owners of the mall, say a new plan has a mod ale house/pub planned for that 2,500-square-foot location, which fronts the west side lower parking lot.

It’s next to the state liquor store, which has a long term lease and will remain there.

Incidentally, we went to the liquor store several weeks ago to suss out the REAL story on who was taking over Gottschalks. An employee at the liquor store said, “It’s that clothing company, Ross.”

We should have believed her.

Trader Joe’s article adds about 700 new fans to Spokane Facebook group

More than 45 readers jumped into the discussion on Monday’s story about the active efforts on Facebook to get a Spokane Trader Joe’s store.

The comments are all over the map, from hating all things Californian, to debating what is or isn’t deserving of the name “organic.”

Spokane resident Nova Duft, who started the Facebook page, Trader Joe’s Spokane, stayed out of the fray and reports all the publicity only helped the effort.

By 4 p.m. on Monday, the added attention led to more than 700 (changed from yesteday’s 220) new fans to the Spokane Trader Joe’s Facebook page. The net result is now well more than 6,500 fans for that group, Duft said.


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John Stucke John Stucke is a deputy city editor who helps build local news coverage and writes about health care, bankruptcy and rural affairs.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

Addy Hatch is the city editor, and formerly was business editor.

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