When my friend Kat's son, whose name is Joe actually, comes to visit from California, Kat has to ride up north with him to his favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's. So it has to be special, right?
So I'm enjoying a delicious brunch this Sunday at an outdoor table at Rafferty's with my friend Steve, a very astute and talented writer (don't tell him I said so) from Brooklyn, who says what we've all said at least once, what this town needs is a grocery store.
Asbury Park can't possibly be cool like Brooklyn, says Steve (poking a bit of fun at a recent Tri-City story by my good friend and neighbor Dan J), because it doesn't have an equally cool place for buying the family provisions.
So looking across at the row of empty stores along Cookman Av, opposite Rafferty's, I say, why not in that building, meaning one of the buildings running to the corner at Press Plaza that restoration architect and builder Carter Sackman is about to renovate, like he did Steinbach's making it nice enough for Rafferty's to occupy. Why couldn't that fantastic, brown stone art deco-looking building accommodate a Trader Vic's, I ask. (My friend Steve doesn't embarrass me by saying, Maureen, Trader Vic's is a bar .) Trader Joe's? says Steve. Of course!!
So, assuming Carter would agree, what could get Trader Joe's management to open its store in our reportedly super groovey little city? Public demand, I say!!!
So here it is folks, your chance to publicize your opinion on bringing Trader Joe's to Asbury Park. Just click here to send me an email or leave a comment here. Or go to my Facebook page, Maureen Nevin, and comment there. I just want to see how much interest there is. Then I'll call Trader Joe's and say, hey, AP wants you, here's X# people who say so.
And just think of what it would do for the local shops on Cookman and Bangs!! I'm so excited!!
There are nine Trader Joe's in the state of New Jersey (there were four a few years ago), but they are all an hour's drive away from Asbury Park (nearest ones are Westfield and Princeton) and I wouldn't mind having one nearby. On the other hand, chain stores come into a neighborhood provide low paying jobs, don't use local vendors and suck the money out of the community to where ever their corporate center is. They also bully zoning boards and threaten law suits when towns don't give variances for sub standard building and inadequate parking that negatively affects the community. I really don't want their corporate lawyers to be able to say "People in your town are begging us to build here - look - here's a list of names". I will not be on that list.
When Trader Joe's figures out we are a good place for their next store, then that's fine with me. In the meantime, I will stop by in Union Square or Westfield and buy a few things, or shop at some of our fine independently run stores like Nature's Corner in Spring Lake's or Dean's in Ocean Township.
I'm all for a Trader Joe's in AP, but I think at this point the chances of that happening are slim - they announced plans recently to open In Shrewsbury, and they are not into aggressive expansion operations. Never-the-less, put me down.
BTW- your column opens a serious conversation about exactly what the plans are for redevelopment in town. Having just watched the leveling of the Baronet, are we witnessing the birth of a new Long Branch/Pier Village? Or even worse?
A Trader Joe's would only go in a spot that was not so crammed in ... across Main Street where I remember there *being* grocery stores. Can't imagine those closed... haven't been to Asbury in about 10 months.
Cookman is not the right location for a Trader Joe's but a small independently run natural food store, yes! So sad those 2 stores in Red Bank closed. THAT'S what happens when you strive for being the place you aren't - you lose your down to earth, grassroots, creative vibe - and it's not a good thing.
Asbury doesn't need to be 'cool like Brooklyn' (where I live) - in fact, I think that would lead to its demise, gentrification, and further loss of its cool characteristics - becoming bland like so much of NYC now.
Your blog is great. Keep the faith.
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