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Downtown fill in the blank…with a Trader Joe’s?

Monday, July 12th, 2010 by

Is 61 Locke St. ready for a "unique foods grocery store?"

Over the weekend, one of my earlier downtown fill-in-the-blank posts received a comment so exciting, that hit so close to home, I nearly fell out of my chair. Says Patrick:

“I think we should start a campaign to bring in a Trader Joe’s. It would answer the need for “necessities” near the lofts/train station with a really hip and affordable business.

The location is barely 1.5 miles from exit 50 of I-495, with only one traffic light (Lafayette Sq). The route looks good, except the rusty train bridge by the Haffner’s. The town just paved the giant parking lot.

Trader Joe’s has a much smaller footprint than a full-sized super market. I think 61 Locke St is a perfect place for the ONLY Trader Joe’s within 20 miles (Tyngsborough I think is closer than their Danvers store.)

The food at TJs is really AFFORDABLE, in addition to be healthy. They make a lot of pre-packaged, non-frozen prepared food, which is great for the urban life style of loft-dwellers.

What do you think of this idea?”

Well, I don’t know about you guys- but I, for one, LOVE this idea. Not that I don’t enjoy getting more for my dollar, but I would really enjoy some food shopping variety, as well as easier access to Pirate’s Booty. And it seems I wasn’t the only one getting all revved up by Patrick’s ideas. New reader/commenter Momma D piped in with support and conspiracy theories!

“I have been craving this type of discussion…why not reach out to Forest City who owns Hamel for their support…it would be a huge plus for them…not sure if there is truth to it, but I heard that the Demoulas/Market Basket owners were in bed with city government…thus that is what we are stuck with…granted the Downtown Market Basket can be quite entertaining.”

High on civic discourse (if not a bit of sunstroke) this weekend I tramped down to Locke St.  to investigate Patrick’s claim that the parking lot next to the train bridge had been paved. Sure enough, it has, but I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit skeptical that this will do the trick, parking wise. It’s a few blocks away from Locke St. and who’s going to be the poor sap who has to wrangle all the shopping carts down Essex?

Then, I got really excited, remembering that the former Radio Market was a tiny island in a great big sea of parking…that is now part of the Hamel Mill Lofts. Bummer!

Overflow parking for Hamel Mill Lofts

And on the other side of the street there’s a huge lot that’s part of the Cordovan. Rats! Still, there could be some sort of compromise between the loft developers and Trader Joe’s if things ever got that far.

Which leads me to ask: what do you think of having a Trader Joe’s down in the loft district?

Be sure to check out all of Patrick’s insightful comments and let us know! Anyone have any information or expertise that might help further the cause? I’ve got a serious hankering for some aged white cheddar puffed corn product!

12 Responses to “Downtown fill in the blank…with a Trader Joe’s?”

  1. […] more here: Downtown fill in the blank…with a Trader Joe's? | Haverhill Fever basket, forest, forest-city, hamel, huge-plus, market basket, not-sure, owners-were, […]

  2. Patrick says:

    Hi, CA-

    thanks for amplifying my posts.

    One thing I’m unclear about. I was talking about the parking lot between Radio Market and Route 97. AFAIK, it has a blue city parking logo on the entrance, not something from one of the loft developments. Feel free to correct me if I don’t have all the facts.

    Oh, yes I am addicted to “aged white cheddar puffed corn product” too. Only $1.59 for a decent size bag.

  3. Do you mean directly behind the market? I could have sworn that was public parking before, but it’s the lot in the photo above. I checked all around and only saw lots owned by the different loft developments. When you said city parking lot before, I assumed you meant the one on Essex St. next to the railroad bridge.

    Also, not sure if you’ve checked out the Haverhill Fever Facebook page yet, but a commenter there mentioned the soon-to-be-defunct Saturn dealership as another potential spot. The plus side being, it comes with its on built-in parking lot!

  4. Eisme says:

    Hell to the Yeah!

  5. Patrick says:

    I do mean that lot, but…

    I drove by there last night. I saw the sign you photographed, at the southern entrance to the lot, right next to the Radio Market. But, at the northern entrance, near Route 97, there is just a white “P” on a blue background. I assume that means city/public parking.

    So, maybe the lot is split between the city and Hamel. Besides, if Hamel owns the parking around the RM building, who is going to buy/lease that building? It would have no parking.

    We need to clear up this confusion. Probably a call to City Hall is the easiest way to get an answer.

  6. Carpeteria says:

    Great ideas, for sure – I’d prefer they just close down one of the three Market Baskets and make it into a super TJ’s, but that’s beyond wishful thinking, of course.

    I don’t know if you guys are aware of this or not, but there’s a pretty good-sized groundswell for a TJ’s in Newburyport on Facebook that’s been going for a few months now:


    Maybe a similar approach should begin for Haverhill? Between the two attacks, we’d at least get one quite near Haverhill (and frankly, I think TJ’s is a bit better suited for Newburyport over all – nothing personal, Haverhill).

  7. Patrick says:

    Hi, Carpeteria-

    Thanks for the info on NBPT. I don’t think that NBPT is a clear winner (except in the ability of the town to promote itself). I think there are issues with that town.

    First, the downtown is very anti-franchise; and parking is a huge issue in downtown. And, downtown is easily a three mile, six minute drive from the I-95.

    Second, the easily accessible (i.e., near major highways) shopping is out at the Shaw’s/Market Basket center near Exit 57 of 495. There are already two supermarkets right there.

    Finally, Haverhill has three times the population of NBPT, not to mention the access to North Andover, Methuen, Plaistow, and even Salem, NH. NBPT is off in its own rural corner with only sparsely populated places like Byfield and Rowley nearby.

    If i were TJs, and I wanted to extend coverage zones from the existing stores, Haverhill makes more sense than NBPT. From Haverhill, the next place to go would be Portsmouth, NH.

    But, the bottom line is that Haverhill needs its own campaign, whether on Facebook or some other place.

  8. CJ says:

    I know this conversation has been dead for a while but I had to comment! I shop at TJs in Peabody all the time. And, it kills me to have to drive such a distance, and waste so much energy – just to shope there! Last weekend, I heard a “rumor” from one of their employees that a TJs may be coming soon to Haverhill. He said that he heard it would be in Haverhill – close to the MA/NH boarder since it’s almost impossible to get one in NH. When I first moved to this area, I heard another rumor that a TJs was going to open on N 125 near the Heavenly Donuts/Plaistow state line. These of course are all rumors….but I would totally volunteer to get a petition going to Bring TJs to Haverhill!!!! Or start a Facebook page! Anyone interested? Let’s get this Party Started to Bing TJs to Haverhill!

  9. George says:

    I can see a lot of things for Haverhill… we need a Stop & Shop or better yet a Whole Foods.

  10. Becky says:

    That is a sweet thought, though I heard that building will become an Italian restaurant! Yum!!

  11. Eric says:

    I don’t think there is nothing wrong with MB but a Stop and Shop or Whole Foods is insane. As of a TJ I am down for that. If that location is going to be an italian restaurant, good luck to them. There already is Olivia’s right near that location and that place is tremendous.

  12. It’s hard to come by experienced people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks