The Bronx is the only borough without a Trader Joe’s, even after years of residents’ efforts

Customers wait on line to enter a Trader Joe’s in Lower Manhattan. Despite residents requests, the Bronx remains the only borough without one.
Photo Tequila Minsky

People love Trader Joe’s, although Bronxites wouldn’t necessarily know why.

The supermarket chain ranked No. 4 in Axios’ Harris Poll 100 rankings for U.S. companies with the most visible brands and best reputations, besting the likes of Apple, Amazon and Chick-fil-A.

Maybe it’s the brown paper bags with sturdy handles, or the friendly staff who willingly bag your groceries for you and just happen to be cooler than any other grocery store workers around.

Even with a store brand Gochujang that really isn’t Gochujang and not having common items available at times, the store has a steady and loyal fanbase. Maybe it’s the unique frozen food options or the fun snacks. Or maybe it’s the pretty flowers in quirky pots, the 99 cent silly greeting cards or the bang for your buck.

The charming chain has stores across all five boroughs — except for the Bronx. There’s nine locations in Manhattan, three in Brooklyn, three in Queens and one in Staten Island.

Trader Joe’s spokesperson Nakia Rohde did not answer whether the company is considering opening a store in the Bronx, but did confirm that there has never been a Trader Joe’s in the borough.

“We consider many locations,” Rohde said. “We list all of the locations that are opening soon on our website. Unfortunately, Bronx is not on the list at this time. However, we add more stores every year.”

The company accepts store location suggestions through an online form, that, according to Rohde, goes “directly to the people involved in making those decisions.”

But Bronxites have floated locations for the supermarket chain for years, utilizing the company’s online form to request a Trader Joe’s, to no avail. Rohde did not share which locations have been requested most in the borough.

Recently, in a community Facebook group, Northwest Bronx residents debated whether the site of the former 24 Hour Fitness at 298 W. 231st St. has TJ’s potential. The conversation started with a resident asking others to join him in urging Trader Joe’s to open up shop there. The post garnered 200 comments.

While some enthusiastically agreed to submitting a request for the location, others had doubts about the site, which sits at the corner of Tibbett Avenue and West 231st Street in Kingsbridge.

And some naysayers doubted Trader Joe’s would come to the Riverdale area at all.

It’s not the first time Northwest Bronx residents have tried to solicit TJ’s to come to the area.

The Riverdale Press reported in 2019 that despite an email circulating in North Riverdale calling on locals to request a Trader Joe’s location to replace a Key Foods at 5661 Riverdale Ave., the grocery chain was not looking to expand into the area in 2019 or 2020.

And years earlier, in 2012, the Press reported that the beloved grocery store seemed to have plans to move into the Riverdale Crossing shopping center in Kingsbridge, which ended up being a false alarm.

According to Rohde, there are 543 total Trader Joe’s across 42 states.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes