Students and locals eagerly anticipating the specialty store’s opening this fall were disappointed last week when Alison Mochizuki, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, announced that the empty space on 1855 N. Atherton St. won’t see a store opening until 2012.
As of press time Tuesday, an exact date of the 2012 opening had not been announced.
“We approved the site plan three or four years ago and the site’s been sitting empty since then, so we’re looking forward to having something useful there,” Patton Township Manager Doug Erickson said.
Few details were released, but the California-based store confirmed in March that it would open in late 2011. The cause of the delay in the State College-area store’s construction is unclear, and Mochizuki declined to comment.
The delay is disappointing to many, including Dana Ray, Class of 2011.
“When I heard rumors that Trader Joe’s was going to come to State College, I jumped up and down,” Ray said. “Their food is always very good and specialized, a lot of the food is international and it’s easy to get fair trade options there. So [the delay is] too bad. I was really excited.”
Ray said some of her favorite foods she buys at other Trader Joe’s locations include Mediterranean dishes, dark chocolate and white pear tea.
Patton Township community members seem excited, too, Erickson said.
“We understand from the people I’ve spoken with who are familiar with Trader Joe’s that they’re also very much looking forward to having one in town,” Erickson said.
Though the North Atherton Street store location is still desolate, Erickson said construction of the 12,500-square-foot store should start this fall semester.
The Trader Joe’s store location is between Wal-Mart, 1665 N. Atherton St., and Colonnade Boulevard, on the same side of the street as the Wal-Mart and just opposite of Denny’s, 1860 N. Atherton St.
Physics graduate student Robbie Fraleigh said he is sad to see the store’s building postponed, as well.
“I like that it’s like gourmet food for a reasonable price,” Fraleigh said. “All the products are really unique and delicious. It’s not what you typically get from other grocery stores. I haven’t had anything there that I didn’t like.”
Trader Joe’s has a total of seven stores in Pennsylvania, but, in addition to the Patton Township store, the business is planning to open a Trader Joe’s in Mount Lebanon, Pa., according to the chain’s website.
Nationwide, the company spans more than 360 stores, according to the website.
By Natalie Plumb
Collegian Staff Writer