BRICK – The transformation of Brick Plaza continues as it was recently announced that a Trader Joe’s would be opening in a space that was previously home to an Ethan Allen furniture store.
“Big news: today our zoning department granted a permit for a tenant fit-up for a Trader Joe’s,” said Mayor John G. Ducey during the April 9 council meeting.
“I know it’s been the most requested business to come to Brick, and it’s been six hard years of trying to get them here,” he said.
Ducey thanked the council members and residents who had submitted online requests on the Trader Joe’s website for a store to open in Brick.
“A lot of people are excited,” the mayor said. “I know for sure Toms River and some other surrounding towns – I talked to some other government officials – and they are not happy that we have it here in Brick, but too bad,” Ducey said with a smile.
Trader Joe’s is an American chain of grocery stores based in Monrovia, California. According to their website, the business began in the 1950ss as a small chain of convenience stores called Pronto Markets, who changed their name in 1967 when the stores were made bigger and were constructed with their signature cedar plank walls.
Employees wear Hawaiian shirts and Trader Joe’s started packaging “innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods under the Trader Joe’s name.”
Other recent changes to Brick Plaza include the ongoing renovation of the former Mansion nightclub, which will feature the second-tallest building in Brick when the Gravity Vault opens (the tallest is Ocean Medical Center AKA Brick Hospital).
Trader Joe’s marks the first new grocery store in the area since the A&P closed in 2015, which now houses Marshalls HomeGoods and Michael’s Crafts.
A portion of the former Sports Authority was removed to make way for additional parking for the new LA fitness.
“They have a lot going on, everybody can see the brand-new facade and all these new businesses coming in,” Ducey said. Federal Realty Investment Trust is the owner of the project.
He said unfortunately Laurel Square is the complete opposite, with the former Pathmark store “still empty for some reason, after five years.”
Ducey said there would be announcements and updates about Trader Joe’s in the future, but for now the only news is that a permit was submitted and approved.
Trader Joe’s has 13 stores in New Jersey and only two of them – Westfield and Princeton – sell beer, wine and spirits.
Director of Public Relations for Trader Joe’s Kenya Friend-Daniel confirmed that a Trader Joe’s would be coming to the area but could not say if the new location would sell beer, wine and spirits or when they would be opening.
“We are taking the necessary steps to bringing a store there, that’s all I have right now,” she said in a phone call.
Trader Joe’s, which has 487 stores across the U.S., is owned by families that also own part of Aldi Nord, Friend-Daniel said in an email. The two stores operate independently.
“Our goal is to open about 30 stores a year,” she wrote. “We are still considering potential locations for 2019.”
The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m.