Trader Joe's Coming to Downtown Minneapolis

A Trader Joe's grocery store is planned for downtown Minneapolis.

A Trader Joe's grocery store is planned for downtown Minneapolis.

Uptown may have successfully thwarted the arrival of a Trader Joe's back in 2012, but the Mill City Times is reporting that the grocery store chain, best known for its inexpensive party snacks, extraordinary commitment to chocolate bar varieties, frozen Thai food, and cheap booze is coming to downtown Minneapolis.

See also: Trader Joe's Lyn-Lake proposal squashed

The neighborhood known as Thresher Square is currently home to the Old Spaghetti Factory and the Advance Thresher Building -- the latter listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The store is planned to go up in that neighborhood, on the corner of Chicago and Washington Avenues.

Predictably, the building will be a mixed residential/commercial building, with condominiums occupying upper floors.

Downtown is already home to a new-ish Lunds grocery store and the newer deluxe Whole Foods, as well as Local D'Lish in the Warehouse District, an independently owned and operated boutique grocery that only carries products produced in the upper Midwest.

Fans and foes of Trader Joe's seem to fall on two sides of the cultural spectrum -- those who decry the elimination of old construction in favor of new, those who would rather see independents reign instead of corporate behemoths, and those who are dubious about the company's stance on GMOs versus, well, those who think none of those things and really like cheap party snacks.

While TJ's makes organic products available at lower prices, the store is notoriously secretive about its sourcing, in an age when disclosure about food transparency is at an all-time high.

And yet, the store has its loyal devotees, many with strong brand loyalty (even though the brand is manufactured by a company called Ralcorp, which is owned by ConAgra -- otherwise known as the Anti-Christ of the natural/organic/non-GMO food movement.)

Still, many view it as a boutique grocery for the common man.

We did an unofficial poll of our downtown office denizens, inquiring whether they cared/were excited about the news and received these reactions:

"Hmmmm...I used to be a big Trader Joe's fan but it was such a pain in the ass driving out to the 'burbs or busy shopping areas where they are around town. I suppose having more grocery options downtown is a good thing, though I'd rather have there be a co-op instead of a big chain. I mean, there is already Whole Foods, and that has its 365 or whatever line of "affordable healthy food."

"Yes! There are too many Kowalski's, Lunds, and Whole Foods stores in the area. Real people need to eat, too."

"I'll cop to the occasional munchies-induced haul of Belgian chocolate truffles, cheap aged cheddar, cookies-in-a-bucket, and toasted-coconut pancake mix, but there's just something about veggies under cellophane or a pound of organic lemons for $2 that gives me the heebies. The checkout people are so nice, though."

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