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Trader Joe's, a marquee name in food and beverage retailing, announced Monday it has signed a lease to open a store in Coralville's Iowa River Landing.
The 13,000-square-foot store will be located at 950 Ring Rd. and open in the second half of 2017.
The Monrovia, Calif.-based specialty retailer is expected to bring more shoppers to Coralville from Eastern Iowa and western Illinois as well as help to attract other well-known retailers.
'People will travel to your community to shop at a retailer like Trader Joe's,' Josh Schamberger, president of the Iowa City-Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Monday. 'It's the one that I've heard most requested by people in the community.'
Trader Joe's carries domestic and imported foods and beverages, including artisan breads, coffee and wine, international frozen entrées, deli items and vitamins, as well as milk, eggs and other standard grocery items.
Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe's, declined to say how many people the Coralville store will employ. The chain has more than 460 stores in 41 states, she said.
The Coralville Trader Joe's will be the retailer's second store in Iowa. It operates a venue at 6305 Mills Civic Pkwy. in West Des Moines.
When deciding where to locate, the retailer looks for potential shoppers with minimum median income of $60,000, who are college educated — a bachelor's degree or higher — well-read and well-traveled, and live in communities with 60 percent owner-occupied houses, according to InfoScout, a San Franscisco-based retail market researcher.
Deanna Trumbull, retail consultant for the city of Coralville, worked for the past seven years to bring Trader Joe's to the area.
'I knew from the beginning that Trader Joe's had high level interest in this community,' Trumbull said. 'It was kind of waiting for the stars to align.
'We had a site that we knew was perfect for them, and they really liked the site.'
Trumbull said Trader Joe's will bring more credibility to the Coralville-Iowa City market when she works to recruit other well-known retailers.
'A lot of retailers at the national level do not understand how far reaching our market is,' Trumbull said. 'People come to Iowa River Landing, the University of Iowa and the Iowa City-Coralville area from all over the state on a daily basis.
'Trader Joe's will legitimize the regionality of our market.'
Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said OliverMcMillan, the real estate development company working with the city to develop the 180-acre Iowa River Landing, has done some preliminary grading on the Trader Joe's site and a storm sewer was moved to prepare for the project.
'I think they are shooting for the next couple of weeks to start on the foundation,' Hayworth said. 'To get it done in the timeframe that they needed it, I think they really need to keep things moving.'
Trader Joe's enters a specialty foods market in the Corridor that already has an Iowa City-based New Pioneer Co-Op in Coralville and Iowa City — as well as in Cedar Rapids — and Boulder, Colo.-based Lucky's Market in the Iowa City Marketplace.
Denver, Colo.-based Natural Grocers recently opened a store at 931 Blairs Ferry Road NE in Cedar Rapids and plans another store at the southeast corner of South Gilbert Street and Highway 6 East in Iowa City.
The expansion follows Greensboro, N.C.-based Fresh Market's closing of 13 stores in four states — including its venues in northeast Cedar Rapids and West Des Moines stores — in May.
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