Trader Joe's Salem Oregon, Definitive Data

Update:  Salem Trader Joe's is now open at 4450 Commercial St SE

In the years that has been in existence, in the dozens of internet polls that have been on it, there has never been as much agreement on any issue as to whether or not folks in Salem would shop at Trader Joe's. The answer to that recent question, posed before readers of this site, is a resounding "yes." 95% of over 100 people who answered the question said they would shop at the privately owned grocery store that claims on their website that "customers are king."

People in Salem have wanted one of these stores for a long time. It's a topic that comes up in conversation often with people on the street and at cocktail parties.(yes, on occasion, people invite me to their cocktail parties) There's a few TJ's in the Portland metro area, one in Eugene. They've even recently opened one in Bend. So, Salem must be on the list to get one next, right? That's what I asked the checker at a recent visit to the Lake Oswego store. His answer was that Trader Joe's was planning on opening three stores in Oregon this year and that one of them would be in Corvallis. If a bucket of cold ice water poured over my head at the moment that I heard that answer, I wouldn't have noticed. It's impossible to think that a TJ's in Corvallis is a better idea then a TJ's in Salem.

The rumors are out there. These cocktail party conversations usually lead to someone saying that Trader Joe's doesn't like the demographics of Salem. That's BS! 95% of the people who answered the poll on this page said they would shop there. It would be 97%, but three people answered "not sure." And what about the demographics of Corvallis, makes that a more attractive place to open? They have a smaller population. Another rumor that I hear often, is that TJ's wants a nice shiny new building next to the freeway. Well, nobody in Salem lives near the freeway. If they're going to call themselves a "neighborhood grocery store" then they need to be in our neighborhoods. And why bulldoze our open space when we have several vacant buildings with ample parking sitting vacant. I keep pointing to the former Albertson's location on South Commercial as the ideal place for them to set up shop. If you do a google map on that location you can see plenty of homes nearby where people will walk or ride bikes to get their groceries. There may not be a freeway nearby but there are bike lines and safe walking paths to this location. The ugliest rumor and the one that I believe is least likely to be true, is that one of the grocery stores in town has a deal with TJ's to keep them out. That can't possibly be true. Why would people who thrive under capitalism, make and agree to backroom deals that would thwart free market practices in our city? Competition is good and healthy for the consumers here.

So, I'm sure that someone at Trader Joe's headquarters has a google alert set up and will find this post on the web. My plea to you is that you will have success in Salem if you open here. There is no doubt about that. And to open in an existing building means you will help Salem succeed. Many of the residents here are practicing sustainable lifestyles and expect that the places they shop will do the same. A lot of the people here will shop at your store based on the reasonable prices for high quality goods. We are a growing community with plenty of families that will benefit greatly from your services and healthy food options. If a deal is not already in the works to open a Trader Joe's in Salem soon, I ask you, what will make this a more attractive place for you to open shop?

For the folks in Salem that want a Trader Joe's and are willing to make some effort to get them here, click here and complete the location request form from their website. They won't be able to ignore us if they hear our voices loud and clear.


KandN said...

Here's piece from the Seattle PI. It's 6 years old, but still a good story about TJ's:

Jodi B said...

Well said! I may just give up my Trader Joe's quest if they go to Corvallis and not Salem. Just don't understand that thinking! Keep up the fight. Talk it up on Twitter, we can't be ignored forever!

Dsperin said...

I just don't get what the hype is about Trader Joe's. On my way back from Vancouver this past Sunday I stopped by just for a looksee, and bought just one item: tortillas. I love grocery shopping, but hate this store. There's nothing unique about the products they carry, and it's mostly all Trader Joe's brand anyway. You'd think that carrying store brand would equal low prices, but that's not the case here. In addition, most of the stuff it just boxed/canned/frozen stuff. You can get that anywhere.

A store that I would LOVE to have in Salem: Whole Foods. The one at Bridgeport Village is amazing! All that fresh seafood, meat, produce... it's a cooks dream! Plus, they have so many unusual items that you can't typically find elsewhere. They are pricey, but for quality and selection, they can't be beat.

Lastly, I don't think that 100 people out of the entire population of Salem offers a legitimate representation of what the city wants. Trader Joe's go away!

Anonymous said...

I would love a Trader Joe's in Salem/Keizer. Opening up one in Corvallis and not in Salem would be insulting. The one off I-5 in Oswego would still be quicker to get to than the one in Corvallis.

While not the same, and in some ways better, we have Life Source, and we need to support them as much as we can.

Anonymous said...

The demographics that Trader Joes look at is education and income and despite Corvallis being smaller they have a higher level of education and higher income per capita. Trader Joes is not Winco - it costs more and all their market testing shows that people with higher education and income are the bulk of their clients.

It sucks though for Salem!

Anonymous said...

I think we don't have a TJs because of Roths.

The Mulligan Family said...

Trader Joes DOES NOT cost more. It is less expensive than Safeway or Roths and carries higher quality and more assorted items than Winco.

You can't beat TJ's wine selection, frozen seafood, pasta, cheeses, and many other items. I have been on a quest for a TJ's in Salem since we moved here 13 years ago. I have been to their website many times and filled out the request for them to open a store in Salem. It is frustrating to think that Corvallis may receive a TJ's and Salem won't.

I always thought Keizer Station would be a perfect location. I also agree that the old Albertson's would be a great location too. But, it is a very large space - perhaps too large for TJ's.

Whole Foods WOULD be a wonderful addition to Salem or nearby. But, their prices are not better than TJ's.

Lise M said...

Trader Joe's has the best store best sauces, sweets, prepared food and atmosphere. It may all be TJ brand goods, but they are like Costco/Kirkland;good products all the way around. I think TJs should go in near downtown like Commercial...but not too close to Life Source.

KandN said...

Just found this tidbit:
"Anecdotal information gleaned informally from Trader Joe's shoppers reveals several sometimes overlapping types: There's the frugal foodie looking for the next new thing; the iconoclast who resents "customer loyalty cards" and dislikes big-box retailers; the health-conscious, ecologically sensitive parent seeking organic and pesticide-free foods, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and wholesome snacks; child-free working couples and singles who favor the convenience foods packaged just right for one or two; and a whole lot of people who like to indulge in luxuries like flowers, candy, cheese, wine and Greek yogurt without signing over their paycheck?"

filbert said...

As a very dedicated Life Source shopper, I would still like to see more variety in Salem-area grocery shopping. Whole Foods certainly has a dazzling array of choices, but I'm not a big fan of their prices. TJ's, on the other hand, has lots of very reasonably-priced, high-quality items. I'd like to see a Trader Joe's in the Salem area.

Anonymous said...

I like TJs but would hate to see a chain store come in and challenge a great locally owned health food store such as LifeSource.

Anonymous said...

TJ would do better in Corvallis...the demographic there is more of the shoppers they are looking for. Salem is not very green, or healthy for that matter. The only con is that it might be bad business for the two co-ops in town.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Dsperin. I don't get all the hype on TJ's. I've been to the portland ones, and left unimpressed. It's just so cliche now.

I'd much rather have a whole foods.

Salem Man said...

I'm not worried about TJ's competing with Lifesource. Since when is competition a bad thing. The prices at Lifesource are considerably higher than the average grocery store and if this meant they had to lower their prices to get customers back, it might attract new customers such as myself.

Pam said...

Salem Man's right. Competition is always good for business.

I'd love to have a TJ's in town because it's a hassle to drive up to Lake O when I'm out of things I can only find there.

And I invite those who don't see what the big deal is to buy something from TJ's and try it. Their private label goods are amazing - I'm hooked on their kalamata olive oil - and can't compare to standard supermarket fare.

Salem Dinner Table said...

This post got me to thinking about all of the places that have closed in Salem in the past. I started a list, can anyone add to it?

Lane Bryant- Salem Center Mall
Albertsons 2 Salem locations
Kenny Rogers chicken
Linens-N-Things- Lancaster Mall
Mervyns- Salem Center Mall
Lefty’s Pizzeria- Downtown
Mikes Steakhouse- South Salem
Whites Restaurant-South Commercial
Chalet Restaurant-West Salem
Old Chicago (where Alessandro’s is now)
Boston Market- South Salem
G. I. Joes- South Salem
The Big Kahuna- Downtown
Tommy Johns- Downtown
Macheezmo Mouse- Salem Center Mall

Lise M said...

M2D, interesting point. I know that many of the places that have closed were due to their own reasons (nation/region wide financial issues, health code reasons). However, it would be interesting the compare the target demographic of the closed places to the demographic of newer stores that are thriving. I think that Mervyns was bought out by Kohls, so it wasn't a store closure really.

Don't forget Rockin Roger's multiple locations that were closed and the many places that used to be where Best Little Road House now is.

KandN said...

Just called White's and heard first hand that they are OPEN!

Salem Dinner Table said...

My bad I assumed they closed because they were for sale. Why did you call are you a regular customer there?

Crossroads Bar & Grill, 3165 River Road N, Salem closed it's doors Monday because of a lack of customers.

KandN said...

No, I'm not, just concerned about the consequences of posting bad info on a popular blog. We have a responsibility to check our facts.

Salem Dinner Table said...

WE? LOL Howver, you didn't post it I did therefore you wouldn't be held personally responsible neither would Salem Man I would hope; else he would have called foul since this is his site. Gheesh I hope no litigation would have ensued. LOL

Sometimes I think people on here are just lying in wait to catch someone making an error such as this or not posting the link to the source or misspellings, heaven forbid! I gave up on perfectionism I found that it tends to leave nothing to strive for. LOL Being controversial is much more fun. :/

Salem Dinner Table said...

These were in the Statesman yesterday and today. Could this be true? I wonder which Roadhouse they mean?


Cossroads bar closed today 3165 River Road N, Salem

Roadhouse not holding blues jam (Closed) The restaurant closed Monday but still expected to hold the weekly blues jam. But, the jam has been canceled, and the restaurant is shut for good.

tracylee said...

Yeah, the final jam was last Sunday, I think there was a communication or timing mixup.

Anonymous said...

Mama2dylan - that is just plain irresponsible to post that a restaurant has closed when it is not correct. Do you own a business and understand the potential impact that an off-hand comment like that can make?

Have you ever risked your house and your entire life-savings to take a huge risk and open a restaurant or business? Imagine doing that and somebody starts a rumor that damages your business.

I appreciate some of the reviews you have posted here, but that is flippant attitude is unacceptable.

Salem Dinner Table said...

Alright already! What are you my father? You don't need to be so condescending. So I made an error and it has been brought to my attention and publicly corrected by another reader that should suffice. They are for sale so I would imagine that if and when they sell they will close at that time.
I don't own a business but I play a very important role in a successful local business here in town. If I read this board and saw the error and that it was corrected that would be fine with me. It was an honest mistake not meant to be malicious. When you say, "Have you ever risked your house and your entire life-savings to take a huge risk and open a restaurant or business?” Imagine doing that and somebody starts a rumor that damages your business." you sound like my buddy Sean.  No I haven't done that, but my boss owns a very successful business and she never risked her house (doesn't own a house) nor her life savings, doesn't have that either.
BTW did you know in 1936, Charles and Myrtle White, and sons Bob and Ken, opened White’s Restaurant? Many of the White family contributed to its growth and popularity. In 1946, Charles and Myrtle retired, and son Bob and his wife, Carole, took over. It's sad to see them up for sale but maybe it's health related or retirement time, who knows?

Anonymous said...

Mama2Dylan -
I have every right to be condescending. You are whiny and ill-informed and you are starting damaging and false rumors about at least one small business.
Please just stop typing. You are degrading the quality of this blog.

Anonymous said...

White's closed? That is terrible!! I have been going there since the mid-90's. Great place to read the newspaper and drink coffee at 6:30 in the morning.
Their food was decent, but they had the best service in town.

Had sad is that?

Anybody know why they closed? They always seemed busy. Is anything opening in that space? Hopefully not a chain, tho it is a prime location.

Salem loses a landmark. Why hasn't the stateman done a feature on this? This stinks.

KandN said...

No worries, anonymous! They are not closed!

Anonymous said...

Perfect example ^^^

Anonymous said...

TJs management are dorks!

Bob in Independence said...

I am constantly amazed at just how far behind the rest of the USA the Salem area seems to be. Not having a TJ's is just one of many things I miss having come here from San Jose, CA. No, I would not want to go back, I mostly love it here, but not even an operating airport? Geez!

Anonymous said...

Open in Corvallis soon! I can't wait. It's as close for me as Salem. Whoot!

Doug Gabbard said...

Bob, San Jose (my hometown) has about six times the population of Salem. Expecting comparable amenities is not reasonable.

Sara Kelly said...

As a former Southern Californian, I grew up on Trader Joe's and feel their products are high in quality, but extremely reasonable in price! I am in support of what you have proposed. In regards to the Corvallis location, Salem is much bigger and many people who live in rural areas nearby, like Turner, Stayton, and Jefferson, regularly shop in Salem and so TJ's would have the business of those people amongst others here in the Willamette Valley.

Have you ever been to In-n-Out? What would it take for you to get one of them up here in Oregon? Hahaha. CAN'T BLAME ME FOR TRYING! They're delicious!!!

Salem Man said...

I'd take an In and Out Burger over Trader Joe's any day of the week.

Anonymous said...

At least there is a Trader Joe's less than an hour away from Salem..Here in Spokane we have to drive all the way to Seattle for the nearest Trader Joe's..No sign it's heading to the Inland Northwest anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

Hey I think Salem needs both a Trader Joe's and a In and Out Burger, trouble I have heard with the latter is shipping with the passes, their quality is so high that they want it fresh and winter conditions do not always work out best for the company. So when we visit our loved ones in CA In and Out is the first stop. Have seen a liquor license application on the Albertson's Commercial property, so hopefully Salem will come out of the dark ages and welcome a wonderful affordable, quality and California friendly, as we would love having a bit of home here. They always have such friendly workers, and are so helpful, great for people with allergies to foods, and wonderful CA wines, wish they could sell Tequilla like CA. Welcome them my dear friends!

Anonymous said...

Give me local food any day TJ is no Whole Foods. I don't want food from ALL OVER.
Give me Local Larry anyday.

Anonymous said...

They are opening one...Trader Joes out South Commercial St where the old Albertson's is:

Anonymous said...

I wish they would have built in the Keizer Station. Not only would it be closer, but I've heard Tjs treats and pays it's employees really well...which would help a lot of people on this side of town. South Salem didnt need TJs as most people on that side of town are well-off.

As far as jobs and good places to eat go, NE salem has NOTHING but Roths (too expensive) Walmart (Disgustingly dirty) and fast food. I have no car and public transportation in this town sucks so I have no choice but to get a job at some crap place on this side of town (Like McDonalds) that treats it's workers like crap.

Also, as a culinary school grad, I appreciate good food as opposed to the choices available here (Hometown Barfette, anyone ?).

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry things aren't going well for you, but I know for a fact that there are folks in south Salem who are having tough times, too.
It doesn't matter where you live, the bottom can fall out unexpectedly on anyone. :>(

Salem Dinner Table said...


Anonymous said...

Oh gosh! So sorry!
My intent was not to joust nor jab. I was simply pointing out how important it is not to make generalizations about people because of where they live.

Anonymous said...

Culinary school grad - get a bike. Quit complaining and make positive choices. If you work a crap job that is 100% your choice. I came from the worst part of town -four corners and worked my way up.

Keizer station is awful. If the ground opened and swallowed it up the world would be a better place.

TJ's sited where the money is. Smart move. I won't shop anywhere but locally owned so Roths and lifesource only for me.

AMY said...

TJ would have died quickly in the NE Salem/Lancaster area. They hit the spot just perfectly, I think. And I say that having to drive from where I live... in the Englewood area, which is NE of downtown, to shop there. I do a triangle of Winco, TJ's and Lifesource. Looking more into locally grown and humanely harvested meat this year. Wow... that's an education.

Anonymous said...

Lava - friends turned us on to a locally grown grass fed cattle
Ranch. just loaded our freezer with hormone/antibiotic free beef at a very cheap price Just had to buy two cows.

The beef is ridiculously good.

AMY said...

Thanks anon -- that's what we are doing, too. The cost per package at the store is just not doable. But we have a freezer. So one buy for all year. Two cows? Jeez, I need to find someone to split!

Anonymous said...

The grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free beef that we got from a local farm and have been eating is so far superior to anything we've gotten in the grocery store and 1/4 of the price. We were buying Painted Hills from Roths, but steaks were $20/lb and the taste was not stellar.

If you have never had ground beef from a grass fed, hormone/antibiotic free, free range cow - it is soooooooooo good.

If you have ever seen those giant feed lots that most commercial beef comes from - ugh. They just pen up thousands of cows and fatten them with corn. They almost never move and rarely eat what they are made to eat - grass. It made me want to give up on beef forever.

We've been super happy with ours. Both price and quality.