The Kenmore Village Improvement Society is saying “mission accomplished” after learning that Trader Joe’s plans to open a store in Western New York in late 2013, even though it would not be located in Kenmore.
The company itself, however, is still being a bit cautious about the matter, while not denying outright plans for a Western New York store.
“Kenmore is not in our 2 year plan,” Alison Mochizuki, director of public relations for Trader Joe’s, said in an email. “At this time, we don’t have a location in Western NY to confirm.”
When asked whether a site in the general area could be confirmed, Mochizuki responded, “At this time, there’s nothing to confirm.”
KVIS has run a campaign to bring the popular grocery-store chain to the area for several years, and Melissa Foster, KVIS president, said that she received confirmation last week from the company’s site selector, among others, that a local store is planned for the fourth quarter of 2013.
“We do a sort of periodic check-in with them,” she said. “We called last week and said, ‘How are we doing on this?’ And they gave us the good news.”
The store will not be in Kenmore, Foster said, but along a “major corridor” in Western New York. She said she knows the location, but was not able to disclose it.
“We knew that was a long shot (for Kenmore), but as I said, it’s still a victory for us,” she said. “Western New York may not find exactly fit the demographic they’re looking for, so we feel really great that just talking about this for a number of years, we’ve been able to stir up this much interest.
“And now we get to pump up the welcome campaign. We have so many people here who are so excited that they’re coming.”
The KVIS effort featured a letter-writing (and picture-drawing) campaign, a yarn-haired mascot dubbed Kenmore Joe and a social media push.
While Trader Joe’s doesn’t credit community groups for their decisions, Foster said, she hopes that KVIS at least helped to create a dialogue and bring the area to Trader Joe’s attention.
“We didn’t do it to get credit, we did it for the goal,” she said. “We felt we could make a different for the Western New York community, and we did! From the little village of Kenmore.”
Of the chain’s 365 stores to date, the closest to Kenmore is in Woodmere, Ohio — although locations in Rochester and State College, Pa., are due to open this year.