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Oswego Trustee Makes Push for Trader Joe’s

Jan 25, 2016 06:34PM ● By Shannon Antinori

Oswego Village Trustee Ryan Kauffman is working to bring a Trader Joe's to town.

A local Trader Joe’s store is on the wish list of many Oswego residents, and now a village trustee is launching a campaign he hopes could make it happen.

Ryan Kauffman said after numerous requests from residents, he’s planning to reach out to the upscale grocer in the hopes of bringing a store to the village.

“Residents have been contacting me frequently to ask, ‘What’s the village doing to get a Trader Joe’s in Oswego?'” Kauffman said.

Oswego Economic Development Director Vijay Gadde said the village last spoke with Trader Joe’s officials in 2014, after an Oswego shopper survey revealed that the retailer was one of the five businesses most coveted by residents. At the time, Trader Joe’s reps said the chain had no plans to add any Illinois locations outside of the City of Chicago  — at least not for the next few years.

“Now might be a good time to reach out again,” said Kauffman, who added he’s been using Facebook to encourage residents to request an Oswego store using a form on the Trader Joe’s website.

He said he’s considering taking his efforts door-to-door by circulating a petition appealing to Trader Joe’s corporate leaders.

“I just think if we could capture Trader Joe’s attention, they might take another look at us,” Kauffman said. He also said he hopes to work with the administrators of a “Bring Trader Joe’s to Oswego” Facebook page that was launched in 2012. To date, the page has more than 1,600 fans.

Back in 2014, Trader Joe’s said that with a store in nearby Naperville, it was unlikely that a location would come to Oswego.

“They’re pulling too many Oswego residents to the Naperville store – that’s a negative, not a positive,” Gadde said, since the chain is unlikely to want to draw shoppers away from an established location.

Trader Joe’s currenty has no new Illinois stores in the works, according to its website, but is planning locations in Ohio, Oklahoma, Washington and Texas.

According to Gadde, the village isn’t putting its eggs all in one basket – local officials are also looking into several other chains with healthier or organic food offerings, should its newest bid to woo Trader Joe’s fail.

“Grocery has a lot of competitors, so there’s lots of options,” including retailers like Fresh Thyme, Standard Market and 365 by Whole Foods Market, a new concept recently launched by Whole Foods to offer healthy foods at a lower cost.

Kauffman said he believes the village is a good fit for a store like Trader Joe’s.

“We fit their demographic – young, affluent, health conscious,” he said. “It would be win-win for everyone.”

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