Trader Joe’s is coming to Amherst.
Despite pleas by organized Kenmore residents to get the immensely popular specialty grocery store in the village, Trader Joe’s has selected Boulevard Consumer Square in Amherst as the location for its first Buffalo-area store.
“We’re absolutely excited to be coming to this new location,” said spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki. “We look forward to being part of the community.”
Trader Joe’s will be located in a 12,000-square-foot building immediately south of the existing Barnes & Noble bookstore at 1565 Niagara Falls Blvd., said Assistant Planning Director Gary Black.
Famous Footwear now occupies the space, but will be relocating. The space shares a building parcel attached to the bookstore, which fronts Niagara Falls Boulevard.
The parcel will be reconstructed by Benderson Development to make room for the new grocery outlet.
The store is expected to open sometime this year, though a more specific time frame is not yet available, Mochizuki said.
“Trader Joe’s is one of the nation’s most sought-after retailers,” said Benderson Vice President Eric Recoon, “and it’s a real coup for our entire community that they’ve elected to open in Amherst.”
Mochizuki said the chain, which is based in California, plans a store with traditional Trader Joe’s decor such as cedar-covered walls and Hawaiian motifs, combined with a local flair that will celebrate the neighborhood.
Plans for the new store arrived quietly over the holidays in the Amherst Planning Department.
“This came in Dec. 21,” Black said. “Nothing on the site plan says it’s Trader Joe’s.”
However, the elevation drawings included in the site plan application have the words Trader Joe’s emblazoned in big letters across the top of the building. The one-story building will use a combination of exterior materials and stand 36 feet high at the main entrance, according to the site plan.
The Kenmore Village Improvement Society had waged a campaign to lure Trader Joe’s to the village. There was the 6-foot-tall mascot named “Kenmore Joe” photographed in various silly situations with Kenmore residents and a Facebook page featuring photos of Trader Joe’s store-brand goodies.
In September, Trader Joe’s told local campaigners that while the chain wasn’t coming to Kenmore, it would be coming to Western New York.
The expansion into this region marks part of a greater expansion plan by the company to extend its reach beyond downstate New York. It opened a Trader Joe’s store in Albany in August, and a Rochester-area location just this past October.
Amherst may have been a logical choice for the growing chain because the store caters to college communities, and the town encompasses the University at Buffalo’s North Campus.
Trader Joe’s is known for its array of domestic and imported foods and beverages, many sold under the Trader Joe’s brand name and touting their high-quality or organic ingredients. Everything from salsas to fried rice are sold under the Trader Joe’s private label.
The store offers “everyday prices” and doesn’t have sales or special promotions, discounts or coupons.
“Trader Joe’s introduces approximately a dozen new items every week, heightening the store’s adventurous appeal,” the company said in a news release confirming the Amherst location. “Our buyers travel around the world searching out unique products at great values.”
Black said the Trader Joe’s site plan probably will be approved by Amherst’s Planning Department in about two weeks.
Then building permits need to be issued, which typically takes another four to six weeks.
“They can probably start construction in a couple months,” he said.