Trader Joe's has pulled out of plans to build a new store in a historically African-American neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Activists in the area said the high end grocer would be too expense for locals and perpetuate the area's income inequality gap.
The planned development would have been part of a rapid gentrification push. Trader Joe's was offered a significant discount on a two acre parcel of land valued at $2.9 million. The Monrovia, California based company said in a statement "if a neighborhood doesn't want a Trader Joe's, we understand and won't open the store in question."
Statement from Trader Joe's (From PR Alison Mochizuki):
When it comes to choosing Trader Joe’s store locations, we are deliberate and work hard to develop store sites with great potential for success. We think the Vanport Square area in Northeast Portland is a great neighborhood and we had been interested in opening a store there. Given negative reactions from the community—about our arrival, we will not be opening a store in the area. We open a limited number of stores each year, in communities across the country. We run neighborhood stores and our approach is simple: if a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question.
Andrew Theen, Reporter, The Oregonian
David Livingston, Supermarket Research Analyst