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Trader Joe's Is Eyeing New Location In Wicker Park

By Lisa White in News on Feb 5, 2014 7:45PM

Chicago has seen an excess in continuing grocery store sagas as Dominick’s shut down all Chicagoland locations and their parent company left the Chicago market, leaving empty stores across the city waiting in peril to be snapped up by Mariano’s, Whole Foods and others. We were surprised to never hear a mention of Trader Joe’s joining the bidding war but apparently it was because they were too busy trying to secure a new location in Wicker Park.

Crain’s Business broke the news today that the grocery store chain is looking to add “another yuppie marker to the affluent Northwest Side neighborhood.” Crain’s goes on to throw some more subtle shade at the gentrifying affluent neighborhood that has changed a lot in recent years and also highlights some of the issues surrounding the opening. Like the need for Ald. Proco Joe Moreno to lift a moratorium on retail alcohol sales for the south side of Division Street between Wood Street and Hoyne Avenue if the store hopes to sell beer and liquor. Crain’s reports that Trader Joe’s wants to open the store, their sixth Chicago location, at the southeast corner of Division and Honore according to sources.

As of now, the primary large grocery store that services Wicker Park is the Jewel located at Paulina and Milwaukee. Mariano’s is taking over the shuttered Dominick’s location near Chicago and Damen but hasn't reopened yet. Crain’s points out that Wicker Park and Bucktown has been gentrifying for years, but larger speciality grocers similar to Trader Joe’s have not expanded in the areas because the difficulty for developers to “assemble parcels of land big enough for such deals and to secure necessary zoning changes.” They also point out the issue with the proposed Wicker Park spot in regards to parking.

Meanwhile in Logan Square, Family Dollar moved across the street and took over the large building and lot right off the California Blue Line stop, a location that would have been perfect for a substantial grocery retailer. Not to mention the other two large empty lots in the same block of Milwaukee Ave. Or the mostly abandoned Mega Mall closer to the actual square. This is us hinting to a grocery retailer to maybe head up Milwaukee Ave some of they are truly struggling to find a location to cater to the gentrifying cluster of neighborhoods.