Listen: I know the sign on the building at the corner of South Elm and Lewis streets says “Trader Joe’s” on it, and I know that end of downtown Greensboro has seen a lot of changes these last few years that it’s conceivable that the district is getting attention from big corporations.
And I know that the people in Greensboro really, really want a Trader Joe’s — in the appropriate neighborhood, of course — but there’s definitely a demand of sorts in the city for cookie butter and whatnot.
But believe me when I tell you that there will be no Trader Joe’s in downtown Greensboro. Not today. Not a couple years from now. Not in a decade. Like a fight club at Sunday school, a downtown Trader Joe’s is not gonna happen.
There aren’t enough residents downtown to support a venture like this — Trader’s Joe’s proprietary algorithm for new locations is the subject of much internet speculation, but most analyses seem to agree that a population density of 50,000 is the minimum, with a median income of $60,000 and 55 percent college graduation rate.
Does that sound like downtown Greensboro to you?
Plus, the parking would be ridiculous.
What we have is a brilliant marketing scheme, perpetrated by Andy Zimmerman, who owns the Gateway Center property and hopes to attract a high-profile tenant. The rest of it is just a willingness to believe.
Most days I don’t buy that Greensboro is on some sort of Trader Joe’s blacklist. Most days. Certainly one should pop up in Greensboro before too long.
Until then, hit the one in Winston-Salem like everybody else does. Or learn to make your own cookie butter.