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October 06, 2009

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Benjamin Day

Bettina:

I don't know if a distribution venue in Texas would accomplish what they need demographically. I think if the 500 mile radius rule is accurate than all of Colorado is the only Trader Joe's option. West Texas has about as many people as New Mexico and it would seem to be too inefficient to start a distribution network with that size demographic.

I think what Trader Joe's needs is an exception that rewards their "exception" with their participation in something a whole lot bigger than what their brand has already accomplished.

Trader Joe's can be a catalyst of economic revitalization along principals that they believe in corporately, but are easily embraced by individuals of almost any economic stripe.

Which brings me 360 back to why Colorado Springs is such a logical place for Trader Joe's to land - if not exclusively, at least initially - in Colorado.

Colorado suffers from shrinking tax revenue and the inability to start much in the way of development anywhere.
It also suffers from the fact that in a new more ecologically-focused population, development won't look the same in the future as it did in the past.
That means if a city, county or state is to bless development, they have to walk a tightrope that they have never seen before: balance between expansion of their sales tax base for their growning population, but also a consumer-centric development that gets the people what they want (a critical point, a "want" is now more important than what they "need"), and do it in a way that enhances rather than erodes the identity or the local area of impact.

This requires bi-partisan collaboration from unlikely bedfellows.
This requires political leaders to look thoughtfully at 1.) our archaic state-wide blue laws and 2.) the dwindling sales tax revenue and make a decision about how future development can occur in Colorado.

Retail outlets don't have to have the best possible location. But they have to have the best possible draw. The location of 21st and Highway 24 is perfect strategically but has the added benefit of tactical companions that can bring together the aforementioned unlikely bedfellows. The existing landscape would be enhanced by this style of development, not eroded.

The Arts build economies (Austin, Seattle, Santa Fe, need I say more?) and sustain economies (Austin and Seattle again, but even Boise). Recreation drives migration patterns and is an easy sell to quality of life mindsets when luring businesses and attracting intellectual capital for start-ups. The west side of Colorado Springs is a blended political stew, but an under-tapped wealth of resources, including climate, geographic vicinity, existing retail and instant access to recreation.

An Old Colorado City Renaissance requires an anchor, but a city cannot resort to a silver bullet to be that anchor... Trader Joe's alone can not do it. It needs the compliment of recreational and artistic enhancements.

Correspondingly, Colorado as a state cannot attract Trader Joe's because they need a hook to get them in the market. The purely capitalist idea of expansion into Colorado with Denver as a distribution center (there is ample commercial warehouse space at present bargain basement prices) has only so much merit... Trader Joe's would want in for the right reasons. From a political perspective, how much sense does it make for any elected local official to appeal to their statehouse colleagues in Denver along these lines:
1.) Help us get Trader Joe's in Colorado Springs
2.) We can help you get commercial warehouse space sold/leased in Denver
3.) We should be able to expand your sales tax base inside 30 months by their likely expansion into your jurisdiction.
4.) We can help shape positive infill style development that makes Colorado a destination marketplace for the best quality of employees and employers.
5.) We can use our existing arts and recreational attributes as cheap Venture Capital to expand prominence on the national map.
6.) We can move ahead of states like Texas, Arizona and California into a roll of national leadership on the future of smart development and smart growth that is not only sensitive to ecological concerns, but just as importantly is financially benefical to the community and sales tax revenue collected by cities and states.

Getting Trader Joe's is a lot bigger than local access to $2 Chuck. It is the sort of brand that can organize and catalyze a sustainable economic future.

Bettina

I was in Albuquerque last weekend and I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home, spending around $300.

I talked to a manager at the store here and he said the simple reason they have not opened any stores in Colorado is because it is too far from a distribution warehouse. All stores need to be within 500 miles of a distribution warehouse (the nearest one is Phoenix) for their transportation math to add up. You should totally send your blog post to the Trader Joe's email address, and add that they should open a distro venue in Texas for greater market saturation.

I am deeply committed to this cause, FYI!

Bettina

Heather Mesite

Ben...I would LOVE a Trader Joe's here in the Springs and would drive from Falcon to where ever it is!

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