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.


  1. Once Greensboro blew it with Trader Joe’s by demanding (and picketing!!) they not pick their own land but put said Trader Joe’s where the Greensboro Elite wanted it, that was it it for Trader Joe’s, end of story. Finished. I doubt Trader Joe’s would look at Greensboro again in anything less than a decade. If they follow the idiocracy that is Greensboro’s leadership or the building of the Tanger Center, they will NEVER come here.

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