Ask Us: Mankato Probably Not Big Enough, Successful Enough For Trader Joe’s | Local news


Question: Hello.

I love Mankato, have been here for seven years from San Diego. So thankful that my kids grew up here. My question is: why don’t we have a Trader Joe’s. Mankato is growing up. We need one.

Thank you.

A: Yes, Mankato has an advantage over San Diego in just about every way, other than the presence of Trader Joe’s grocery stores.

For people unfamiliar with the chain, which started in Southern California but has spread across the country, Trader Joe’s stores are much smaller than typical supermarkets, mostly carrying the chain’s own brands. rather than branded items and mix together original foods that appeal to people who like to experiment with their diet.

At least, that’s the description of Ask Us Guy after being dragged through Trader Joe’s stores by Mrs. Ask Us Guy every time they pass through Rochester or the Twin Cities. Ask Us Guy doesn’t complain, as he tends to eat well the following week, but he also tends to eat well when Mrs. Ask Us Guy is shopping at Cub Foods, Hy-Vee, and Aldi.

Minnesota’s 10th Trader Joe’s store is under construction in Eagan, according to an August article by Southwest Media News. Eight stores are currently operating in the suburbs of Minneapolis, St. Paul and Twin Cities, as well as the Rochester store.

But there aren’t any other stores in Minnesota or the Dakotas, including in cities much larger than Mankato like Duluth, St. Cloud, Fargo, and Sioux Falls. In Wisconsin, the three Trader Joe’s are located in the metro areas of Madison and Milwaukee. In Iowa, there are only Des Moines and Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa.

Trader Joe’s is notoriously secretive about his trading practices. Numerous media articles have been written about why Trader Joe’s did not come to a particular community, and they often quote company spokespersons encouraging people to visit the website. the chain to request a store. But spokespersons consistently decline to say whether these requests play a significant role in choosing new locations. The company is also extremely disciplined in never revealing the factors it uses in choosing cities for expansion.

An article in the Tacoma News Tribune cited a supermarket location research company that speculated on the criteria, including a preference for cities with a six-figure median household income, population density and population. with high levels of education, including university towns and those with medical centers.

Although Mankato owns the university and the medical center, the median household income is only around $ 50,000, according to the US Census Bureau.

However, the San Diego transplant is not the only one. The “Bring JOE’S TRADER to Mankato, MN!” Facebook page »Has 1,754 subscribers.

Mankato Town Manager Susan Arntz said she heard about TJ from a few of these people, but was asked to bring a Costco into town more often, including her more. young lady. Arntz explained to City Manager Girl that while some people think the city government decides what kind of new development happens, it is actually private companies and investors who make these decisions based on a multitude of demographic data.

“Which is essentially the same answer with Trader Joe’s,” Arntz said. “Mankato has yet to fall into the demographics of his business model when looking for a new location. “

In some cases, city officials will learn a company’s interest in expanding into Mankato and may obtain statistics that show the region’s potential in a way that standard demographics do not, he said. she declared.

If the city ever receives any inquiries from Trader Joe’s, which is owned by a company headquartered in Essen, Germany, Mankato has a potential asset in the hole.

Arntz speaks German, so she would be able to say “bitte bitte”, or whatever the German version of “rather please” is.

“I’ll do my best,” she said.

In reality, however, Mankato is probably out of luck until he hits some of those secret demographic marks that Trader Joe uses to pick new locations.

Ask Us Guy walked through the batch of new stores announced by the company in August, wondering if any of them looked like Mankato. Most were much larger or much more metropolitan (Brooklyn, Queens, Coral Gables, Portland, Colorado Springs, etc.)

Then he spotted Huntsville, Alabama, and thought, “We used to smoke Huntsville on a regular basis in hockey, maybe they’re comparable.” But Huntsville is actually now Alabama’s largest city, nearly five times the size of Mankato, and its median family income is about $ 8,000 higher.

Ultimately, Arntz wonders if shoppers might not find many interesting and amazing food choices in the supermarkets and specialty stores already in Mankato.

“I hope we can get people to explore all the local options,” she said.

Contact us at The Free Press, 418 S. Second St., Mankato, MN 56001. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to; put Ask Us in the subject line.


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