Trader Joe’s coming to Ave. A; Pols’ letters on deliveries keep coming

BY GABE HERMAN | As local politicians continue to press Trader Joe’s to restore its delivery service in Manhattan, the grocery chain said it is expanding its Downtown presence with a new location in the East Village.

Trader Joe’s announced on May 13 that it would be opening a new store at 432 E. 14th St., between First Ave. and Avenue A, nearer to the Avenue A side.

“We’ve consulted our maps and compass and have found a terrific location for a store in New York (East Village), NY,” the brief announcement on the company’s Web site read. “We’ll continue to post new details about the store and its opening here, so please check back for updates.”

Renee Liebowitz, the captain of the new Grand St. Trader Joe’s at Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side, cut the ribbon to open the store last October. (Photo by Lesley Sussman)

The opening date is simply listed as “TBD.” This will be the ninth Trader Joe’s in Manhattan.

This new address is right along the path of work on the L-train tunnel repairs. Though, as this paper recently reported, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has said that construction debris won’t be extracted from the tunnel at a major staging area near Avenue A, as was originally planned.

The new Trader Joe’s would also be close to a new subway entrance/exit at Avenue A, which is being constructed for the First Ave. L-train station.

In other local Trader Joe’s news, following the chain’s ending its Manhattan delivery service on March 1, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams added his name to the list of local officials calling on the company to reinstate the service.

Williams sent a letter, dated April 30, to Trader Joe’s C.E.O. Dan Bane, asking that deliveries be restored, “on behalf of New Yorkers dealing with mobility issues who depend on this service.” Williams wrote that this includes the elderly and others who can’t easily carry heavy bags home.

Many constituents have told the public advocate they were forced to switch from Trader Joe’s to a delivery service, Williams noted in the letter.

“Affordable grocery stores in New York City are sadly not accessible in every part of our city,” Williams added. “Trader Joe’s delivery service helped numerous families access groceries. Please reconsider restoring this important service.”

Assemblymember Deborah Glick also weighed in, writing to Bane on April 23. The veteran pol noted that she represents Greenwich Village, the East Village, Soho and Tribeca — “all communities that are served by a nearby Trader Joe’s grocery store.”

“New York City, like much of the United States, is experiencing a growing senior population and our society will be forced to find ways to cope with that social change,” Glick wrote. “Beyond government, private enterprise and many areas of commerce will need to adapt to best serve the new realities that a large senior population will bring to this country.

“That is why many of my constituents, particularly those who are older or who have disabilities, rely on the grocery delivery program,” she continued. “In fact, this is a relatively common service that is offered by grocery stores throughout New York City, where it can be difficult to carry a large number of groceries by foot from the store to your home. … This change is compounded by the reality that within New York City the fastest expanding grocery chain happens to be Trader Joe’s, and Downtown communities are growing to rely on these locations to a greater degree.”

Other local leaders who have asked the Trader Joe’s C.E.O. to reconsider include Council Speaker Corey Johnson and state Senator Brad Hoylman.

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