Trader Joe's is a national chain of "neighborhood grocery stores" committed to providing "outstanding value in the form of the best quality products at the best everyday prices." It says so on the company's website.

The first Trader Joe's opened in 1967.

The Monrovia, California-based company currently operates 560 stores across the United States, and if one woman has her way, Store No. 561 will be in New Bedford.

New Bedford's Cecilia Cambra Weeks is waging a one-woman campaign to attract the popular grocer to the city.

"I really love their prepared meals," Weeks said. "They are convenient, perfect for those days when I'm not up to cooking, reasonably priced, and the best tasting of any I have found."

Is New Bedford In Line To Get A Trader Joe's?
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Weeks said she is also a "fan" of the other Trader Joe's products she has tried.

"A friend used to take me to the Hanover location before she moved away, but now all of the locations are too far for me to travel to," she said.

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There are 19 Trader Joe's locations in Massachusetts. There are two locations in Rhode Island. The store closest to New Bedford could be in Providence.

New Bedford City Councilor Ian Abreu, who led a push to get Aldi to locate in New Bedford, said the city could benefit from a Trader Joe's.

"Competition, especially as it relates to additional options for foods that organic, non-GMO, and locally-sourced foods is always an initiative I will support," he said.

Is New Bedford In Line To Get A Trader Joe's?
Nick Cooper/Townsquare Media

Aldi opened in Dartmouth after failing to negotiate a deal to locate on Kings Highway in New Bedford.

"That was a gut shot," Abreu said.

Weeks contacted Trader Joe's, asking the company to locate a store in New Bedford.

"They did thank me for my input and that they do take the public's interest into consideration," she said.

Weeks posted to Facebook, asking others to contact Trader Joe's.

"I have been happy with my post's response but haven't heard anything from Trader Joe's...yet," she said.

You can request a Trader Joe's in your city here.

I contacted Trader Joe's and asked why they have not located a store in New Bedford when there appears to be quite a desire for one.

Public Relations Manager Nakia Rohde gave an interesting response.

"While we do not yet have a location in New Bedford, we are actively looking at hundreds of neighborhoods across the country as we hope to open more new stores each year," Rohde said. "We list all of the stores that are opening soon on our website."

"We do not YET have a location in New Bedford," Rohde said. Should we read something into that?

I asked the Mitchell Administration for a response to this story and Interim Public Information Officer Holly Huntoon replied with the following statement from the New Bedford Economic Development Council Executive Director Derek Santos:

“National or larger regional retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and others, base their site selections on market demographics and if they have made a determination to expand into new markets that meet their requirements. Such companies either have site selection and real estate professionals as part of their corporate structure, or they retain consulting site selectors, or even combinations of both.

These types of entities do not respond to direct solicitation of specific sites by municipalities. Their process is internal and even when a determination is made that expansion is desired to meet an identified market gap, it may take time (several years) from those professionals reaching out, as was the case with Starbucks, with a location being selected and then developed.

The NBEDC has tried proactive outreach as well, but our experience has been that market data is the decisive factor for these retailers, and until the data (whether market studies we commission ourselves or analysis done internally by retailers) demonstrates a strong business opportunity, it remains a challenge. That said, market conditions are always evolving and we will continue to seize opportunities as they arise. We have engaged with data analytic firms to understand the market conditions in the New Bedford region and know that the current data would not support such retailers. As those market conditions change, those opportunities may change as well.

We also intend to stay committed to the core elements of the City’s economic development strategy, with its focus on strengthening existing businesses, working with regional developers who have a better understanding of the nuances of our market area, and recruiting investment that makes sense for us to continue to build a stronger, sustainable, and equitable local economy.”

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