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Red Cedar Flats Residents Walk to Trader Joe's Opening Friday

As reported in the Lansing State Journal, the Lansing area has been pining and actively advocating for a Trader Joe's for at least 15 years. That's how long ago Brenda Resch started "Bring Trader Joe's to Lansing, MI," a Facebook group aimed at catching the California-based company's attention. Today the group, started in 2009 and now entitled "Trader Joe's in East Lansing, MI," has more than 17,000 members and the specialty grocer is preparing to open its first Lansing-area store. Strathmore Real Estate Group was tasked with the complex land assembly and land development work to accommodate the extraordinary parking demand generated by the typical Trader Joe's. After seeking and receiving extraordinary variances from Meridian Township, Strathmore's project was delayed for a short period of time in order to close on the balance of the land assembly from an affiliate of Lansing based SkyMint which, at the time, was mired in a complex state bankruptcy proceeding. The project was finally able to move forward after the sale was approved by Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Draganchuk in an August 23, 2023 Order allowing Strathmore to complete the land sale to Trader Joe's.   The new store, 2755 E. Grand River Ave., will open at 9 a.m. Friday.

Opening Day

The new store will open at 9 a.m. on Friday after hosting a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony. While no one can predict how busy it will be, Meridian Township Supervisor Scott Hendrickson points out "Trader Joe's is wildly popular at all of its locations on a normal day... I would urge folks to be very careful in the parking lot, as well as turning onto and off of Grand River," he said in an email. "We have a team of awesome crew members ready to welcome and support our customers if anyone wants help navigating their grocery shopping adventure. Look for crew in colorful shirts with red name tags if you need help," Nakia Rohde, a Trader Joe’s public relations manager, said in an email. The store will close at 9 p.m. Friday. Trader Joe's to open first Lansing-area store later this week Lansing area's first Trader Joe's expected to open next month, hiring 60 employees Trader Joe’s has plans for Meridian Twp. location; zoning board approves variance Trader Joe's makes East Lansing store 'official' with website post Okemos Trader Joe’s project ‘got off track’ but still ongoing, officials say Work at site of new Trader Joe's set to resume Trader Joe's plans are moving forward again.

Why did Trader Joe's choose to open near East Lansing?

In 2021, a Trader Joe's spokesperson told the State Journal the company considers several factors when deciding where it should open a new store. Among those are potential customer demand, distance from a potential location to a Trader Joe's distribution center and properties that are the right size for a store, typically no more than 10,000 to 15,000 square feet. "Trader Joe’s came to East Lansing because it was time," said Rohde. "We feel the community and location are a great fit, we have a great crew and we’ve been really fortunate to receive such a warm welcome from the neighborhood."

How much parking is available?

Strathmore Real Estate Group acquired a strip mall and restaurant, facilitated the relocation of the remaining tenants, and demolished just over 2 acres where the new store sits off East Grand River Avenue. In late 2021 the Meridian Township Zoning Board of Appeals approved a variance allowing for the creation of a store parking lot with 115 spaces. It was more parking than the township's ordinance allowed "and I expect they will use all of it this weekend," Hendrickson said. "I sat on the Zoning Board for that request and we granted their request, knowing how popular this store would be." One of the owners of the property needed for parking was owned by the bankrupt Lansing based SkyMint. The sale required Strathmore to seek a court order approving the transaction which was granted in a August 23, 2023 Order thereby facilitating the eventual sale to Trader Joe's.

How many people will the store employ?

Expect Trader Joe's to hire 65 people for the new location. According to a company press release management, including store captain Mike McGinnis, are still filling those positions for "crew members." Their role includes "a little bit of everything," Rohde said. "From running the register, to stocking shelves, to creating a beautiful display, all while making sure that every customer has a fun, friendly, and informative shopping experience." Starting pay ranges from $15 to $17 per hour, and that rate can range up to $30 per hour, she said.

Who owns Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe's is a privately held company and does not offer franchising. It is owned by families that also own part of Aldi Nord, the company says on its website. Trader Joe's and Aldi Nord operate independently. Trader Joe's has no business or ownership relationship with Aldi Sud (including Aldi U.S.).

What are some of the most popular items?

Perhaps the best way to gauge what products Trader Joe's customers love is to look at the winners of the store's annual "Customer Choice Awards." The company has been collecting data and listing them for 15 years. The 2024 victors include chili-and-lime-flavored, rolled-corn tortilla chips, seasonal apple cider, goat cheese, creamy spinach and artichoke dip, and butter chicken with basmati rice. See the full list here.

How do I stay up-to-date on new products, and other news?

The store's website at includes details about new and popular products, recipes and company news. Trader Joe's also releases a regular podcast that covers new and seasonal items, information about how leadership determines pricing and more. It's available on streaming services, including Apple podcasts and Spotify.

Trader Joe's in Lansing. Short walk from Red Cedar Flats.


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