To see if there was anything behind the buzz, Citydesk dialed up Cece Gassner, assistant for economic development at the City of Boise.
“I haven’t heard this latest rumor,” said Gassner. “I do know that Trader Joe’s is always looking for new markets, and Boise is definitely one they are looking at because of the retail gap that we have in specialty grocery here. From time to time I know that they take a look at different places, but I am not aware that they’ve actually signed something or that they’re close to signing for any particular property.”
Asked specifically whether TJ’s might open a location in the now-vacant former Ridley’s Market space on Bogus Basin road, Gassner had this to say:
“I’ve heard they’re looking at [Ridley’s] just because it used to be a grocery store, so of course it would be something fairly easy for them to kind of step into,” said Gassner. “My understanding is that they’ve also looked at places that are out … closer to the mall just because of its proximity to 84 and the ease with which folks from Ontario and Mountain Home can get out here. So they’ve kind of looked all over, my understanding is that they’re sort of keeping options open.”
A potential drawback for Trader Joe's opening a local store, Gassner noted, is Boise's relative distance from the nearest distribution center.
"One serious issue … is the distance that we are from their closest distribution center," said Gassner. "So that’s something that, from a logistics standpoint, I know they are constantly going to be looking at, and I am not sure where they are right now, to be honest, with their decision."
Hal Simmons, planning director at the City of Boise, also hasn’t heard anything concrete about Trader Joe’s coming to town in the immediate future.
“Nobody’s talked to us about the site or about Trader Joe’s. I’m not saying it’s not happening but nobody’s come in and talked to us about it yet,” said Simmons.
Trader Joe’s couldn’t be reached for comment.