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Boulder drinkers mourn: Trader Joe is on the wagon


Boulder has thoroughly earned its reputation for having a unique and particular market. We are quite firmly the hippy organic-and-healthy-food eating and beer-drinking crowd. After a night of downing cans of Dale’s Pale Ale, you better believe we’ll take that bloody mary, but only organic celery please—we care about what we put in our bodies. The question that must be on every Boulderite’s and potential retailers’ mind is: can you over-saturate this market?

Trader Joe’s is the latest to toy with this line.

For those who haven’t caught word of this, the chain of small specialty health food, wine and liquor stores is set to open a location in Boulder sometime in 2013. This was tantalizing news for Boulder—even given that the store will be opening at the former Applebees location in the Twenty Ninth Street Mall within a block or so of both Whole Foods and Vitamin Cottage (not to mention Door to Door Organics) and numerous liquor stores, including the new mega-liquor store Hazel’s right on 28th. However, as the Daily Camera reports, there will not only be another Trader Joe’s going into the Capitol Hill area of Denver, but that location has taken the liquor license. Colorado law states that only one liquor license can be given to any single business, and while the rest can sell 3.2 beer as per state regulation, the means no “two-buck chuck” for Boulder Trader Joe’s fans. The store’s fiercely loyal following can be attributed in part to their affordable and surprisingly quality food and booze, and given Boulder’s health-nut/booze-hound reputation, this move has left many scratching their heads.

At this point, the jury is still out as to whether this is a foolish blunder relating to the “friendly” competition between the two prospective locations to see who can be the first Trader Joe’s in the state or a savvy sidestep of a potentially tapped market. (Because how many “favorite” liquor stores and specialty grocers can you really have before you just seem ridiculous?) The verdict will have to wait until next year.


email no info send march17th/09

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