Trader Joe’s opened its doors on Friday May 16th, 2014 and we, here at White + Burke, couldn’t be more excited! This friendly and convenient addition to our community was a long time in coming and really underscored the power of public support.
On opening day, store employees welcomed every shopper with a roaring cheer as they entered the South Burlington store. But rewinding two years — to when I started project managing this for the ever-patient property owner Pat Malone of Malone Properties — the obvious desire for a local Trader Joe’s was apparent on the ‘I Want A Trader Joe’s in Burlington, VT’ Facebook fan page. It took a lot of leveraging of that tool to gain momentum and keep the neighborhood informed of the process, but the results are terrific.
The South Burlington store is 12,800 square feet and features specialty products, such as Cookie Butter and Guacamame Dip, among their 3,000 Trader Joe’s brand items. The store theme usually includes a beachy décor, but Trader Joe’s customized the South Burlington location to incorporate a winter season ski, snowmobile, and snowboarding theme; in addition, elements of Burlington’s Church Street, including a huge mural of the downtown area, add a local touch to their interior displays.
On a personal level, it was most encouraging for me to see such a strong fan-base from the Vermont community advocating their support for the project during the local approval process. This support came from all directions — from fans sending letters to the city planning and zoning office, community attendance at local permit hearings, and continued comments on the local Facebook fan page. I have no doubt this encouragement was a huge component for the project’s approval. I am so proud that Vermont now has their first-ever Trader Joe’s here as a cornerstone landmark of South Burlington’s City Center.
And the local community support sure didn’t go unnoticed by Trader Joe’s. On opening day, the store personnel warmly welcomed every shopper individually with a free grocery bag and lei.
So thanks to all for the support throughout the process and I hope to see you in the aisles; you’ll find me at the cookie butter ice cream cooler.
By: Paul Simon