The Rapidian

Discover six locally owned alternatives to Trader Joe's

Yesterday afternoon, Trader Joe’s confirmed that it plans to open a location across from Centerpointe Mall in late 2015 or 2016. From the posts of my friends on Facebook, you would think that Grand Rapids just won the hipster lottery or something.

Trader Joe's coming to Grand Rapids

Location: 3684 28th St. SE

Date: Late 2015 or early 2016

There is something really wrong with the idea of a national chain store opening being a sign of progress. Maybe we will really “hit it big” if a Cheesecake Factory opens downtown!) But that’s another story.

In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that we already have many of the features of Trader Joe’s available right now, in some of our locally owned stores. According to Local First, when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, 73% more money stays in the community.

If you're going to Trader Joe's for....

Organic and Specialty

  • Nourish Organic Market: Everything in the store is organic, from grassfed beef to local cheese. Sources locally when possible and offers a CSA-type basket and has a bulk section.

  • Harvest Health Foods: Lots of gluten free options, teas and herbs.

Cheap Wine

  • G.B. Russo & Son: Celebrating their 110th anniversary this year, there are number of excellent wines for under $5. I think the least expensive I’ve found there was $3, and it was good indeed!

  • Martha’s VineyardAnother wine shop with a wide variety of prices, from affordable to decadent.

International

Granted, there are a number of items that Trader Joe’s is famous for, like cookie butter and really cheap chocolate truffles, that you either can’t find at a locally owned store or that will cost a lot more. I’ll give you that point. But I would encourage you to visit some of the aforementioned locally owned grocery stores while you are waiting over the next several months for your TJ fix.

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