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Trader Joe’s, Looking For Your First Dallas Store Location? Give Half Price Books a Call

With the news that Trader Joe’s has decided to bring its peculiar brand of grocery stores to Texas, I expect that the company will be hearing from Half Price Books about a possible spot to set up a first shop in these parts.

A few weeks back, I had occasion to be chatting with Sharon Anderson Wright, the CEO of the Dallas-based bookseller. We got to talking about all the land around its Northwest Highway corporate headquarters (and flagship store) that her company has come to control. They’ve owned the bookstore building, and a few adjacent acres, since moving there in 1999. When construction began on the massive Park Lane development several years ago, Wright decided that Half Price needed to buy more of the adjacent property if it wanted to have a say in how the neighborhood would develop around it.

They immediately moved to purchase their former store location, right across Shady Brook Lane, which has sat vacant since they left it more than a decade ago. Then last year they bought the spot that’s currently home to a Starbucks. All told, they’ve assembled 12 acres, about six on either side of Shady Brook at Northwest Highway.

And when I asked her what she plans to do with all that property?

“I’d love someone like Trader Joe’s, REI, some retailer that I think would be good for us. We have people calling us for businesses all the time that we don’t want in there. We just got one for a gas station/convenience store. I want to put something over there that’ll bring quality to the neighborhood,” she said. “Do you know anybody at Trader Joe’s?  I need to call someone over there.”

She’d like to put them in the former Half Price building, which had been built as an import store, called Captain’s Cargo, that occupied it until the late 1980s. And that’s where the prospective location might hit a snag. That building has a large boat and a moat built into the middle of it. Wright’s husband, who manages the company’s buildings, thinks the entire place will have to be gutted, and the ship removed, before a new tenant moves in.

But Wright is rather attached to the “incredibly well-constructed galleon.” She doesn’t want to see it destroyed.  So – those of you how know the Trader Joe’s chain better than I – can they work around a massive boat? Would it fit their carefully-cultivated vibe?

22 comments on “Trader Joe’s, Looking For Your First Dallas Store Location? Give Half Price Books a Call

  1. The Trader Joe’s people are the same people who brought Aldi to Dallas. Call ‘em up!

  2. Their managers are called captains. Their employees are called shipmates…

  3. Construction will soon begin on a new mixed-use development a la The Shops at Legacy in Richardson, on the SE side of Central and PGBT, utilizing the Bush Turnpike light rail station. Snicker all you want about these sorts of developments, but I think this would be a good place for Joe’s.

  4. Although the boat etc is really cool. It didn’t really work even for a book shop. The aisles always seemed too narrow. As a supermarket? Forget it, especially as it is on two floors.

    I’ve never understood why TJ has not opened in TX. At first I thought it was like Ikea, who liked to be near ports/rail for cheap transport. Now with Aldi & Ikea here there seems no good reason. Please mover here TJ!

    Mmmm chocolate covered ginger. Two buck chuck.

  5. The planned Lake Highlands Town Center at Walnut Hill and Skillman has been teasing with supposed announcements for some time. Lots of interest in the community for a unique grocer such as Trader Joe’s. Horizontal construction already in place. Prescott, are you on the case?

  6. Aldi already carries the 3-4 things that I like at Trader Joes. The mandarin orange chicken, the honey goat cheese, veggie chips(all are identical to TJ’s) and the vino. I actually like the $3 rebadged Gallo called Winking Owl, over the $3 Bronco Charles Shaw that Trader Joes sells.

  7. A rep from the LH public improvement district spoke to the LH junior women’s league a few weeks ago. She said that prescott had re-opened talks with the folks at Sprouts to come in as the anchor store at LH Town Center. But a Trader Joes would work too!

  8. Lake Highlands Town Center and Trader Joe’s would be a perfect combo. I’d love a Sprouts, but TJs would be even better…if it happens, you’ll see me at the grand opening and multiple times per week thereafter.

  9. LHTC would be a perfect fit. Although NW HWY would deliver more traffic.

    My bet, like everything else, it will head outside the loop.

  10. Trader Joes would fit perfectly in a “unique” spot like that. FYI: although Aldi and Trader Joes are owned by the same family, the family split years ago and SUPPOSEDLY the two stores do not work together in any way. I was just at the Trader Joes in Santa Cruz and San Francisco this weekend, but I’m not sure if they carry the exact same products as Aldi – I’ll have to check it out.

    There are tons of great East Dallas locations that would be perfect for TJ to move in to. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  11. Elaina,
    If their employees are called “shipmates,” may we assume that their “benefits” include sodomy, rum and the lash?

  12. Bring TJ’s to Oak Lawn/West Dallas!!! Lemmon and Inwood area would be perfect instead of another car dealership!

  13. I would love to see Trader Joe’s move into the vacant “City Lights” tract, near Deep Ellum Station / Bryan Place, that Walmart was looking into a couple of months ago. What a great win that would be for downtown and Near East Dallas!

  14. I live in Atlanta and often bring Trader Joe’s goodies when I visit my family in DFW. My mom just called, thrilled to share the news that TJs is expanding there. One thing to consider is that the stores themselves are quite small, compared to the usual big box grocery stores. Most of the locations here in Atlanta are around the same size as a Walgreen’s — maybe even a bit smaller. They fit into existing shopping strips quite well, and they wouldn’t need to take over a large supermarket space.

  15. I believe the old Blockbuster locations are about the right size for Trader Joe’s. Maybe that is the reason for their impending entrance? There’s one on Lower Greenville which would be perfect.

  16. Please bring TJ’s to DFW area! Around The Half price book store, which is located on East F.M.3040 in Lewisville, TX75067, would be the best place to shop. I can’t wait to see TJ’s open by end of the year. Love it!

  17. By the way, Central Market is opening a new location in the old Borders at Preston/Royal.

  18. I LOVE Trader Joe’s! Just got back from a driving trip to Orange County, CA and I brought back 3 very full bags of their special brands of groceries. I’ve been rationing them out carefully to last until my next CA trip. I think a great location, for me, would be the recently closed Borders Books at Preston just South of Park in West Plano. Oh, my “Ginger, Almond and Cashew Granola” any time I want! Heaven! Let’s hear it for West Plano! West Plano! West Plano!

  19. There is a vacant building, used to be a big hardware store at Maple/Medical District Dr.
    There are many new apartment complexes around that area and UTSW and Parkland Hospital are expanding as well. Having a good quality grocery store would really improve the quality of living in this area, since there is only a Mexican Grocey store in walking distance. We could cut down on a lot of travel cost for all the tenants driving to get groceries to a quality natural store with organic produce. They could walk or bike to this location. Busy professionals living at this location, mostly employed at the Hospital/University would really appreciate a healthy alternative close-by to grab lunch.

  20. We love TJ’s!!!! When we go to my daughter’s in Georgia, TJ’s is always on our “must do list”! Once we thought they were moving back to Texas and our only concern was…..”what to do about no more TJ’s!”
    So YEPPIE! COME TO NORTH DALLAS, PLANO, FRISCO…..JUST HURRY!!!! :)