Trader Joe’s LA Locations Grow By 8 (Maybe 9?) As Grocery Store Chain Expands

Featured image credit: Harrison Keely

Grocery store chain Trader Joe’s announced earlier this month its plan to expand nationwide with eight new locations in the Southern California region. Noticeably absent from the announcement was a ninth SoCal location which appears to still be in the permitting process. Trader Joe’s enjoys steady popularity in the SoCal area with its headquarters stationed in Monrovia. Famed for surprisingly low prices, proprietary products, and, yes, inadequate parking accommodations, the brand has been mostly beloved. However, recent accusations of union-busting have brought a newly unfavorable undercurrent to the brand’s public perception with workers’ advocacy groups. 

The Official New Trader Joe’s Locations

Photo credit: Ragesoss

At the time of writing, Trader Joe’s boasts 549 stores nationwide, touching 42 states and the District of Columbia. Its new expansion won’t add any additional states to that roster, but shoppers in Reno, Nevada; Tucson, Arizona; Milwaukie, Oregon; and Salt Lake City, Utah can look forward to new locations. In addition, the brand announced the opening of eight new stores in Southern California with a ninth location that, for reasons unknown, remains unannounced. The official SoCal additions to the grocery store chain include:

  • Ladera Ranch – 27542 Antonio Pkwy
  • Murrieta – 40388 Murrieta Hot Springs Rd
  • Northridge – 9224 Reseda Blvd
  • Poway – 13644 Poway Rd
  • Santa Clarita – 19037 Golden Valley Rd 
  • Santee – 9680 Mission Gorge Rd
  • Sherman Oaks – 14130 Riverside Dr
  • South Pasadena – 1129 Fair Oaks Ave

Some of these locations may seem like odd choices to anyone familiar with the area. For example, the Sherman Oaks location is going up across the street from a pre-existing Trader Joe’s. But the location garnering the most attention is easily the Fair Oaks Avenue addition in South Pasadena.

Another South Pasadena Trader Joe’s?

Photo credit: Ragesoss

With the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain headquarters in Monrovia, there’s an unusually high proliferation of stores in the foothills area. Another South Pasadena location raises eyebrows, especially considering the brand’s total absence from Downtown LA, East LA, South LA, and much of the San Gabriel Valley. The story gets stranger with the knowledge that the new South Pasadena location is taking over a building formerly occupied by a Vons supermarket. With Trader Joe’s stores normally ranging between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet, a Vons is massive by comparison. A smaller Trader Joe’s stands less than a mile away at 613 Mission Street, further confounding the decision to open this latest location.

However, the new Fair Oaks location will serve as both a regularly-sized Trader Joe’s retail location and a training center for new employees. The older location on Mission Street is not expected to close. There’s really that much demand for Trader Joe’s in South Pasadena. Visitors to this location likely won’t need to worry about parking as much as at other locations, since the Vons was supported by a sizable lot.  

An Unannounced LA-Area Location for the Grocery Store Chain

But let’s not forget about the mysteriously unannounced Tarzana location. It will be taking over the Whole Foods Market spot formerly located at 18700 Ventura Boulevard. Strolling past the vacant storefront, you can see a permit for the sale of alcohol displayed in the window with Trader Joe’s name on it. There’s even a store number listed, indicating that the Tarzana location will be store #264. But again, this hasn’t been confirmed by Trader Joe’s. 

Trader Joe’s LA Business Model

Photo credit: seaternity

So, why is Trader Joe’s doubling down in established areas as opposed to crossing into new frontiers? It could simply come down to market research, target demographics, and a low-risk business plan. Research collected in 2022 showed the standard Trader Joe’s shopper as a married urban dweller earning a minimum of $80K a year. This shopper typically falls between the ages of 25 and 44 years. 

It’s said that the grocery store chain assesses an area’s potential based on a $100,000 median household income. Factor in the inflation of the last two years and those numbers have likely risen. According to Zillow research, the inclusion of a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods store in a neighborhood also raised nearby home values significantly between 1997 and 2014. 

There’s also a logistical factor to consider. The typical Trader Joe’s location has high-volume deliveries coming in at all times of the day. This means a new location needs to be able to accommodate the constant flow of delivery trucks as well as warehouse storage, including refrigerated containers. 

Following the Trend

At JohnHart Commercial Real Estate, we’re not surprised by Trader Joe’s recent expansion announcement. Last year, we published a blog about grocery retail properties becoming hotter investments amidst rising inflation. Thus far, the grocery store chain has yet to announce when its new locations will open. 

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