West Seattle, Washington
New information this morning on West Seattle’s now-confirmed future Trader Joe’s (here’s our Wednesday story): We’ve just spoken with Associates West Real Estate‘s John Wunder, to whom property owner Steve Huling referred us for additional information following our conversation yesterday. One big question we asked him: While the preliminary city filing first noted here in April mentioned only “minor exterior improvements,” some seeing the project rendering above thought it looked like much more than that. No, he says, it really is “minor exterior (work)” – once you see what part of the building is involved:
We just went over to take that photo after Wunder explained that the rendering depicts what’s planned for the east/northeast corner of the building, where there’s currently a service entry to the garage, next to the showroom. “If you look closely at the rendering, you’ll see the same lines, so the entry is going to go right at the point of the building,” Wunder explained. (A wider shot would show Fauntleroy off the left side. Note that this also is kitty-corner to the under-construction Link.) He also said that while, as DPD‘s Bryan Stevens confirmed to WSB yesterday morning, the formal permit application for the 14,000+-square-foot store has not been filed yet, that should happen shortly. Wunder said, “We don’t anticipate problems; the preliminary meeting went well.”
(Future long-awaited West Seattle Trader Joe’s)
We’ve just spoken to Steve Huling, owner of the property that this morning has been confirmed as a new Trader Joe’s – the one we told you in late April was worth watching, after a notation appeared on the city DPD website – and he says he’s finally able to talk about the project, since the company this morning officially confirmed it: “Now that it’s out, I can finally start talking about it! They’re going to create a lot of new activity in the area. I think this is a great deal for the community.” First, here’s the news release from the company:
Trader Joe’s, a unique, neighborhood grocery store with foods and beverages from the exotic to the basic, has signed a lease to open a new West Seattle store located at 4545 Fauntleroy Way SW. The store is scheduled to open in 2011 and is approximately 14,200 square feet in size.
Trader Joe’s was originally named in recognition of its distinct grocery buying process, because they search the world for great values and distinctive products. Crew members (store employees) consider themselves “traders on the culinary seas.” Crewmembers sport brightly colored Hawaiian-themed shirts, adding to the light-hearted air of the store.
Many area residents after the store opens can expect to receive a copy of the Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer” in their mailboxes. The Fearless Flyer is a somewhat irreverent description of a timely selection of Trader Joe’s products. It’s been called a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine. Each edition highlights a selection of Trader Joe’s products that the company buyers believe are worthy of customer interest, including comfort foods and items that are organic or have other special attributes.
Trader Joe’s carries an extensive array of domestic and imported foods and beverages including fresh baked artisan breads, Arabica bean coffees, international frozen entrées, 100% juices, fresh crop nuts, deli items, and vitamins and supplements, as well as the basics, like milk and eggs – all at honest, low prices.
Trader Joe’s is truly a grocery store unlike any other. Trader Joe’s is a “store of stories,” meaning every item in the store has its own virtues — high quality ingredients, great flavor or simply an extraordinary price — many items often feature all of those qualities. Another significant point of difference, all of Trader Joe’s prices are everyday prices. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have “sales” for a few days, only to hike the prices back up again. Their prices change only when their costs change — there are no fancy promotions, discount cards or couponing wars.
So how does Trader Joe’s offer unique groceries at prices everyone can afford? By offering more than 1000 items under the Trader Joe’s private label, which includes Trader Darwin’s vitamins (For the Survival of the Fittest), Trader José’s salsas, Trader Giotto’s marinara sauces, in addition to specially purchased items.
Also, Trader Joe’s buys differently than other grocers – they purchase from manufacturers, not through distributors. They’ll take a brand name product, take out the preservatives and artificial colors and ingredients, and put it under their Trader Joe’s label to sell it at a real discount.
Trader Joe’s introduces approximately a dozen new items every week, heightening the store’s adventurous appeal. Our buyers travel around the world searching out unique products at great values. In order for an item to be sold in a Trader Joe’s store, it must pass the scrutiny of a discerning tasting panel. Thousands of items are tasted each year to find products that both appeal to the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado.
Huling tells us it’s been tough to keep quiet until the company confirmed it publicly. He adds, “Since this has been announced, we’re hopeful there’ll be some additional activity in the area – I think this whole area (the Triangle) is getting ready to bust open. It’s nice, it’s a great community, and it’s nice to see all the growth and it sounds like it’s going to be done in a very respectful way.”
As for how soon construction will start – earlier this morning, we had spoken with Bryan Stevens at DPD. The construction permit has not yet been applied for – the “initial information collected” designation that remains on the DPD page means simply that conversations have been had, but no paperwork has been filed. ADDED 5:07 PM: This is the rendering provided by Trader Joe’s.
We spoke with the project architect before seeing it today and hope to speak with him again tomorrow to find out more about exactly where on the lot this is going, since the DPD notation was “minor exterior remodel,” and this would certainly go beyond that.
Since “Trader Joe’s” is likely – if we had a way of ranking – the single-most-mentioned phrase here on WSB, we do periodically check out the rumors that come our way, especially if the same “rumor” comes from multiple sources. (Here’s a sample rumor check from 2007!) The latest trail started in the WSB Forums, and our ensuing research has turned up some interesting circumstantial evidence, though nothing definite yet. Read on to see what we’ve found out:Read More