The 25,000-square-foot store will be part of the renaissance of developments scheduled for South Neil Street in Champaign. The site for sale at Windsor and Neil is the target, according to an internal memo obtained by chambanamoms.com.
Trader Joe’s has long been a coveted retailer that has evaded Champaign-Urbana, but has been rumored to be an anchor in many recent real estate developments. Trader Joe’s was dangled as plans were in the works for The Pines in Southeast Urbana; the Burnham project off Springfield Avenue in Champaign; and the now-stalled Curtis Road interchange retail project. Most recently, Trader Joe’s was the subject of speculation in the Curtis Road/Route 45 redevelopment in Savoy, where CVS recently opened.
According to the memo, the company was thrilled to open here once they did projections on how much Two Buck Chuck could be sold to parents alone. “We’ve been reading chambanamoms.com and we know how much wine is consumed by those women,” it said.
Trader Joe’s corporate is aware that its presence in town will be controversial. “We will stay away from advertising on SmilePolitely.com, that’s for sure,” the memo read, citing a blog post from June 2012.
The memo gave two reasons for picking a Champaign location over Urbana: first, because Urbana has more options and access to organic food, and because it was “impressed” by the Champaign Unit 4 “School of Choice” kindergarten assignment process. “We’re also known for giving consumers the illusion of choices,” the memo continued.
The Trader Joe’s memo mentioned that while public pressure to open in Champaign-Urbana was a factor, its biggest influence was profits. “There is an underserved market and we know that moms in Champaign-Urbana have a lot of hungry kids to feed, and who can do it better than us? After all, we just opened in State College, Penn., which is far more remote and desolate.”
Stay tuned to chambanamoms.com for more breaking news stories on this startling development in the days ahead.