The neighborhood has been waiting with baited breath for so long to hear what would be moving into the old Albertsons that closed its doors earlier in 2006. There was a brief scare that Long's would be moving into the space giving exactly what the neighborhood really didn't want or need: more drugs. *cough*.
What the neighborhood had been clamoring for was a Trader Joe's - we had started a letter writing campaign to TJ's to express our desire and we even engaged City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan to help. She rallied to our cause as well and she was able to work with the owners to renegotiate the lease to make the property more appealing to Trader Joes or at least an establishment that would compliment the neighborhood better than a pharmacy.
Pat's e-mail newsletter tells the good news:
I am delighted to announce that at long last my efforts have paid off . . .Yes, the first Trader Joe's in Oakland will open in the old Lakeshore Avenue Albertsons building in early 2007. After considerable community advocacy organized by my office and months of negotiations, Sansome Pacific and Trader Joe's have signed a lease to open a Trader Joe's store on Lakeshore Avenue.
The neighborhood has long hoped for this result. In response to my on-line survey, over 800 people wrote in to say that they wanted a food store in that location, and the great majority favored a Trader Joe's. For months, when I've been out in the neighborhoods, the question I'm most often asked is "What's happening at the old Albertsons? Can you get a Trader Joe's?" It took a long time, and it wasn't easy, but the answer is YES, I GOT A TRADER JOE'S!
The exterior of the store will get a face lift, and at my insistence, the loading dock will be moved from the back of the store (Wesley Way) to the side (Lakepark), so as not to disturb the Wesley residents in the early morning hours.
Many of our Grand Lake area seniors and folks without cars will be very happy that they can once again buy groceries within walking distance of their homes. And I've heard from many, many moms and dads with young families that they will be frequent customers. I am very pleased that we were successful in getting a store that the community really wanted.
Thank you Pat, and thank you Trader Joe's. Arin and I are going to have to get a bigger grocery cart to hail all that 2 buck chuck home with us.