We had the privilege of breaking the news on our blog that a much-discussed Trader Joe’s outpost was coming to the Triad before it was further disseminated by other news outlets — if you haven’t heard the news yet, then surely you must be dead.
Scoops don’t matter, of course, except to in the little corner of the information landscape occupied by the actual media. Still, we took some satisfaction as we unleashed the story to the world right around quitting time on Friday, surely causing someone in the newsroom at the Greensboro News & Record to utter the F word. The Winston-Salem Journal was the last print news outlet to the party, if only by a few hours — noteworthy only because theirs was the city that this holy grail of upscale grocers deemed worthy of the franchise.
And because we are the only one of the three that covers both cities as a matter of course, we are uniquely suited to see the humor in the situation.
All of us have been on the Trader Joe’s watch for some time, whether it’s been reporting rumors of its impending arrival, documenting the groundswell of support on social media for the chance to buy dark chocolate and good coffee, or listing possible locations for the franchise.
Winston-Salem established a fan page on Facebook first, volunteering as a possible site for a new location, and Greensboro soon followed. But the Gate City took things one step further, roping off a neighborhood that our developer overlords deemed suitable for the store, and never mind that the location, near Friendly Center, went against explicit promises by a former city council to halt the expanding development in the area.
With the cart placed solidly before the horse, the imminence of a Greensboro Trader Joe’s accepted as a gospel truth, the city began to do what it has done so well so many times in the past: fight over something that has not yet happened.
A developer has stepped up. An attorney has been hired. Tentative plans have been drawn. Protests have been organized and enacted. All of this happened, even though no one in any position to give accurate information has ever said that a Trader Joe’s was coming to Greensboro.
And believe us, we asked. Of course, this doesn’t mean that a Trader Joe’s will never come to Greensboro. But we advise denizens of the Gate City to let this one go… for now… and rather than building a new shopping center for something that doesn’t exist, work on populating the plethora of dead strip malls that already plague the city and are very, very real. And if you want to buy a Thai chicken pizza or some herb-infused, extra-virgin olive oil, be prepared to make the trek to Winston-Salem, where Trader Joe’s will be a reality.
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