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January 19, 2006

Comments

Charlotte

Hang in there Jennifer, it may not be too long. Keep lobbying them!

Joanne

A word to Blog readers: As a strong supporter of retail food co-ops and the cooperative model of doing business, I personally will not advocate for a (stated) major competitor to move into our market.

As the 28th largest retail grocer in the nation [Supermarket News], the German-owned Trader Joes does what any mass merchandizer of "cheap" goods does, erodes local businesses and takes over local markets.

Wide-spread availability of cheap consumer goods do not create a healthy economy (anywhere!), despite what it may "feel" like when at the cash register.

This is particularly confusing (and distressing) when it is done behind a "healthy and natural" banner. There is nothing healthy or natural about it.

I share Jennifer's appreciation for our own "locally grown" natural foods store, the Syracuse Real Food Co-op and suggest interested foodies visit it. Supporting our regional food system is an integral part of its mission. Great food, fair prices, local focus, locally owned, open to everyone.

[grin] If that doesn't convince you, TJ's famous "Two Buck Chuck" wine can't be sold in NY stores! For a decent every day wine, instead try the $2.50 per bottle "Lost Vineyards" wines. From their Batavia, NY base, Lost Vinyards bottles various economical and drinkable wines from the US, Portugal, Argentina and other wine producing regions. It can be found at many of our locally-owned liquor or wine stores.

Thanks for listening,
Co-op Jo

Kris

I must second what Joanne posted. I am also a tireless advocate of the Co-op, specifically Food Co-op, movement. Here in Syracuse our Co-op's success is limited only by our imaginations, the evidence of this is apparent in the leaps and bounds it has come in the past several years. The fact is that chain business operations like Trader Joes will make local business suffer. Local businesses like the Syracuse Real Food Coop and the various other "Gems" of Syracuse, so vital to our local gastronomic fabric, would have a tough time competing with such a well financed corporation. Let's watch our Co-op grow beyond our wildest expectations!

Jennifer

Charlotte, thanks for the encouragement.

Joanne and Kris, I agree with you both and I also disagree. I can't dispute what a store like Trader Joe's might do to local businesses-but then again, I've grown used to shopping at Trader Joes (TJ) in markets where small, medium, and large independent stores and co-ops still thrive. I love the Co-op but you've got me wondering about what I really love at TJ that I can't get at the Co-op. No one shops at a TJ to get local foods--I certainly don't. It must be the bags of frozen shu-mai. Really. Though if the co-op were the size of a TJ, I probably wouldn't miss the Trader Joes.

There is a part of me that thinks/hopes that Syracuse must be large enough to support both, however. They cater to two different markets and as much as I look forward to the day when everyone will shop at a co-op that day is still a long way off. But until that day I do think it is important that we have options.

And this is the point of my post--in a space smaller than Armory square are four major (and large) gourmet/upscale supermarkets and the largest outdoor farmers'market in Manhattan. I guess I'm jealous of all that choice. Perhaps Syracuse is too small a market to handle all that choice--I don't know.

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