Trader Joe's: Colorado would be more colorful if the store would join IKEA -- but will it?

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Colorado has incredible beauty, a colorful governor, and smart residents (and readers) who would prefer that tourists (especially Texans) stay home and wonder "Why do you need to spend money to advertise something that is timeless?" And although it doesn't have an ocean, it will soon have an IKEA, down in Centennial. But there's one other man-made wonder we're missing: Trader Joe's.

It's not for a lack of interest; several Facebook fan pages urge Trader Joe's to open a store in this state. And just this morning, I found yet another e-mail lament from a new resident of this state who loves everything about Colorado -- except the lack of a Trader Joe's.

Over the years, we've made many attempts to get a definitive answer as to why Colorado does not have a single outpost of this specialty grocery store, with its legendary Two Buck (now Three Buck) Chuck wine and Mandarin Orange Chicken. The company has not gotten back to us with an explanation for the snub but we've heard that: Colorado is too far removed from its distribution warehouses for stocking (but New Mexico has Trader Joe's) and/or this state's liquor laws, which do not allows sales of full-strength beer and wine in grocery stores, are too Draconian. Then again, other states with stricter liquor laws have Trader Joe's, including Maryland, where that new resident had stopped off at a Trader Joe's to pick up some things she couldn't buy in her new home.

Why no Colorado Joe's? Have a theory? Post it below.

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RockDog
RockDog

Well, judging from the comments in the article about how intelligent you are in Colorado, and how you look down your nose at tourists, it sounds to me like you're a bunch of douche bags. I don't blame Trader Joe's for staying away.

chris dymond
chris dymond

there is no reason to not have trader joe's in colorado - if the liquor laws are too draconian - establish a liquor store next door or just refer customers to a good liquor store and rely on what you have - that's weak.  transportation - they ship to their other stores therefore they have the trucks.  there are some products like bags of chips that need packing considerations so they don't explode in the high altitude - that leaves the cost of the actual trip - there are areas in the denver metro area that would welcome trader joes and that would make up the profit of the trip and numerous manufacturers in colorado that came supply a deficit product for fast re supply of a like products.  if whole foods and sunflower can do a business successfully trader joes has it over them price wise and variety and quality wise.

tmp
tmp

First of all I'd have to comment on Texans staying out of Colorado, but on second thought that would just bring me down to your level of thinking. Maybe as to why TJ's is not here is that some of the other stores don't want it here, if you've been in one then you know that their wine selection is rather extensive and very well priced. I would have to say that on average there is atleast a 20-50% price increase on the same bottles of wine that you can get in TJ's, so I'd have to say that liquor stores here would not want that kind of competion...but this state does need to get rid of those out dated laws.

docl
docl

We moved to Colorado in late 2010 after 41 years in So. Calif., and we were dedicated TJ's shoppers for probably 30+ of those years.  We knew there was not a TJ's here, but we have been hoping that they would finally see the light (and the market potential) and get a store up here.  We recently drove to Albuquerque (7+ hours) to visit a friend and load up at TJ's (two full cartloads!) before coming back to the Denver area.  We heard a rumor from one of the clerks at the store that TJ's needs to have their stores within 500 miles of one of their distribution centers and that they are building one in Oklahoma, so maybe, just maybe, they could be coming to Denver (dare we hope...? 

Twrecks911
Twrecks911

I have been told by employees in two different TJ's in 2 different states that Colorado is in the plans over the next 2 years. Knowing how secretive TJ's is, I am sceptical, but there really may be hope.

FactJumper
FactJumper

One theory is that trader joe's would love to open in Colorado but if there is no nearby support as in distribution then they will not open. Trader joe's will probably only open in denver but not elsewhere in the state atleast far away from denver, trader joe's has states however that you would not think would have one including nebraska that might be as the midwest has several distribution centers.

Arizona is right next to new mexico and naturally since california has a head start incl nevada as folks have moved by. Colorado is a gap left out as like the end of the tail, florida and texas also, naturally trader joe's expands where its distribution lands, up and down the east coast, west coast and into arizona, nevada, and new mexico in a straight line, midwest also, the mountain states don't have that yet and neither does florida its the end of line, liquor laws NY are the same stores cannot sell wine in the same location.

wifey
wifey

It's because of the warehousing. My husband works as a manager for the company and they open stores around warehouses. When a new warehouse opens closer to you, so will the stores.

Tracy Shaffer
Tracy Shaffer

I grew up next to one of the first Trader Joe's in LA and had not been walking distance from one until my move to Denver. My understanding is that it's not a matter of the strength of the liquor but that only one license can be given to a company regardless of how many locations they have. Target, Albertson's, King Soopers, et.al have opened liquor departments in select Super Stores but once they're open, that's it. I've also heard that there is resistance from groups who represent the mom 'n pop liquor stores and wine shops, fearing it will put them out of business. TJ's and supermarket liquor sales have been open in California for decades, right along side the independents.

Tom_In_GJ
Tom_In_GJ

Oh, by the way. How much of their product goes right thru Denver on it's way to their In. distribution center? I know all the 3 buck chuck is not from the midwest.

Tom_In_GJ
Tom_In_GJ

Colorado liquor laws are out of the stone age. Whole Foods has a fantastic store in south Denver and they sell liquor 7 days a week. It's a large room off the mail store where purchases are made separate from the main store. 

Cooking4you
Cooking4you

I've been living in Colorado for 5 years and I love it. I'm from Northern California and I really miss shopping at Trader Joe's. I have my sister mail me product from this wonerful store.

Besthiker
Besthiker

The liquor laws are probably a problem given there are no nearby states without them (unlike what the east coast has). The relatively isolated front range area doesn't help either. In the winter, particularly, the weather can often make mountain travel impossible so Arizona distribution wouldn't work. I would think they could get some more than 5 stores but not too many more. We will continue to drive to Santa fe or places west for our fix, sadly.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin

Before i moved here from the east coast 6 yrs ago, I called and spoke w/the development manager for TJs @ their corp headquarters in monrovia. She said there were a couple factors why they weren't here...- Closest distribution centers are in AZ and IN, which aren't very close, esp for produce/meat, etc- Demographic studies were telling them that CO only had population to support 5 TJs total, whereas there was more potential for them on the East Coast (they have been aggressively expanding there)

She didn't cite the liquor law, and I know they've dealt w/similar laws in other states (eg MA), but it can't help...

eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

I'm more worried about Denver/Boulder getting a Fry's Electronics (which is de rigueur to be considered a real technology center).

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Good one, eCurmudgeon. Thanks for reading and commenting.

df
df

there's a perfect location for TJs on broadway/I-25 where the hardware store used to be. someone please lease or buy that place for the love of god.

Eric
Eric

I imagine it is a combination of what you discuss above. If we got rid of our Bible Belt style liquor laws, it would make up for the higher cost of distribution in the biggest city in the middle of nowhere. The liquor isle is the most profitable square footage in retail, and missing out on that is a huge disincentive when it costs more to get fresh food here.

Robert
Robert

No Trader Joe's -- more than reason enough to legalize sales of beer and wine in grocery stores!

Robert
Robert

We are not worthy.

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