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The Kenmore Village Improvement Society had waged a fierce campaign to lure Trader Joe's, a very popular California-based specialty grocery, to the village.
There was the 6-foot-tall mascot named "Kenmore Joe" photographed in various silly situations with the good people of Kenmore.
There was the Facebook page featuring photos of Trader Joe's store brand goodies: triple ginger snaps, veggie and flaxseed tortilla chips and chocolate orange sticks.
There were the pictures, drawn by children, mailed to the store's East Coast headquarters to convince them Western New York needed a Trader Joe's.
It worked.
Well, sort of.
While Trader Joe's has told the Kenmore group that its fair village won't be home to a Trader Joe's anytime soon, the group's president, Melissa Foster, said she has received word that Trader Joe's is going to build one of its stores somewhere in Western New York, and it will open sometime in late 2013.
"It's not going to be in the Village of Kenmore," she said. "We can tell people that it's in Western New York."
Trader Joe's spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki confirmed that there are no plans for a Kenmore store.
She was a little more cryptic about the company's plans for the rest of the area.
"We don't have a Western New York location to confirm at this time," Mochizuki said Monday.
Foster believes that Kenmore's aggressive campaign played a role in putting the Buffalo area on Trader Joe's radar.
"We created a buzz," she said.
Burt Flickinger III, a retail analyst and managing director of New York City's Strategic Resource Group, said that Trader Joe's, a notoriously secretive company, has definitely set its sights on Western New York and that the plan likely is for not just one, but a cluster of stores throughout the region.
"They've identified Western New York as a new expansion market," Flickinger said.
Trader Joe's is getting ready to open a store in the Rochester area early next month. But Flickinger said Western New York will likely be a bigger market than Rochester, because Wegmans, which is headquartered in Rochester, is so dominant in that area.
The company typically looks for three things, Flickinger said.
First, he said, it looks for locations near colleges, universities and high schools with high enrollment.
"They know they'll get a tremendous amount of students shopping at the stores," he said. "Then professors shopping at the stores. Plus they'll get the parents and professionals."
He explained: "The higher the level of the education, the higher their sales are per store."
Trader Joe's also likely will negotiate with shopping center developers, even those with existing grocery stores, to find a location where the rent will remain steady.
"They're playing their typical corporate chess match on rental rates," Flickinger said.
Third, the company also likes to build its stores in pre-existing buildings, particularly those that already have refrigerated and frozen sections, such as old Rite Aids or Wilson Farms, Flickinger said.
Wherever the company ends up building, it will have to contend with New York's liquor laws. While most Trader Joe's across the country are famous for their affordable and vast selection of wines, beers and spirits, New York's laws don't allow groceries to sell alcohol other than beer. In New York City, Trader Joe's has set up separate stores located next to each other, one for groceries, the other for wine and liquor.
Here, Flickinger said, "they'll ask the landlord for an option on an adjacent site."

email: mbecker@buffnews.com