Locals petition for Trader Joe’s in Bensonhurst

January 27, 2016 Anna Spivak
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Trading up.

Locals irked by the recent closing of two supermarkets in the area—and the lack of them in general—are hoping to catch the attention of one particular Joe.

With over 1,209 signatures and counting, a petition started on Change.org by user Yelena Melnichenko, urges Bensonhurst residents to sign in the hopes of getting the trendy grocery store, Trader Joe’s, into the supermarket-deprived neighborhood.

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The petition reads: “Bensonhurst residents are losing many retail spaces. In fact, two supermarkets just shut down in our area and are currently [up for] auction. Locals are raving about affordable and healthy options and wish that they had better options in our own neighborhood.

“We have multiple locations that are large enough to accommodate a Trader Joe’s, so please help us out and come to Brooklyn!”

Area pols, who have closely followed the sale and auction of the now-shuttered Waldbaums at 8121 New Utrecht Avenue, a store that fell victim to The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company’s (A&P) 2015 bankruptcy filing, agree.

“There has been a vacuum of supermarkets where Bensonhurst residents could do their shopping,” said Assemblymember William Colton. “Trader Joe’s would offer a fresh, healthy and affordable option right in our neighborhood. Especially with the inhibited train service, it would be great to have a specialty supermarket such as Trader Joe’s available to the locals.”

“As a mother, I know the difficulties of having to run to the supermarket and choosing the healthy and affordable choice for the kids and my family,” added District Leader Nancy Tong. “Now, with the closing of more and more supermarkets, it will be harder for us consumers in the area to find fresh options for our families. A Trader Joe’s would help provide a suitable choice very close to home.”

Councilmember Vincent Gentile also chimed in, noting that a Trader Joe’s “would be a great addition” to the neighborhood.

The petition’s goal is to reach 1,500 signatures.

While Trader Joe’s could not immediately be reached for comment, the supermarket chain’s website offers a “Request a TJ’s in my City” form—a questionnaire that allows you to input where in your city you would like to see a Trader Joe’s.

Once an inquiry is submitted, an automated response is sent back to you via e-mail with the following message: “Aloha and thank you for your interest in our stores. Emails have been flooding in with suggestions for new store locations in neighborhoods all over the U.S. We love that! Rest assured, every email is read and your recommendation will be passed along to our real estate folks. The best place to find new info concerning which neighborhoods we’ll be in next is the Trader Joe’s Locations page at http://www.traderjoes.com/stores. We hope to see you soon!”

There is currently one Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn, on Court Street, which opened in 2008. Two more are in the works — one on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg and one in City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. The City Point Trader Joe’s is scheduled to open this year; the opening date for the Williamsburg location is still unknown.

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