West Anaheim’s Most Pressing Need is…a Trader Joe’s on Beach Blvd?!?!

No soyrizo for Sidhu! Photo by Tony Webster, WikiMedia Commons, CC By 2.0

In West Anaheim, a mile-and-a-half stretch of Beach Boulevard is dotted with motels, mobile home parks, and some haggard-looking shopping plazas between Knott’s Berry Farm and Adventure City. With Buena Park revamping its slice of Highway-39 into an Entertainment Zone and Stanton readying a mixed-use development a little further west, Anaheim’s definitely feeling some fomo with only a newly opened car wash to boast about. Council members already passed a Beach Boulevard Specific Plan in November, but since then, two newly-seated representatives made a recent push for a Trader Joe’s to come to town.

Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu sent a Mar. 19 letter to Trader Joe’s president Bryan Palbaum inviting him to partner with the city. “We believe the Beach Boulevard corridor is an ideal location for a Trader Joe’s,” Sidhu wrote. “Ten years from now, Beach Boulevard will be one of the great economic pillars of our city and region.” The mayor boosted the pitch by noting the corridor’s proximity to the “Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Area,” only no such place exists, just the aforementioned Entertainment Zone where Porto’s, Rock and Brews and The Source make their home.

Co-signing the letter, councilman Jordan Brandman championed the idea of bringing a Trader Joe’s to District 2 during last year’s election. “Pay day lender stores and pawn shops should not be the view on our commute to work,” Brandman said in a campaign ad. “And wouldn’t it be nice not to have to drive all the way to Brea for a Trader Joe’s?” (Pro-tip: the Cerritos location is just a short hop on the 91 for West Anaheimers so save some gas, wontcha?)

Sidhu backed Brandman’s initiative during his State of the City speech earlier this month. “Whether it’s parks, landscaping, or bringing–say it with me Jordan–a Trader Joe’s to West Anaheim, the time to invest in District 2 is now, wouldn’t you agree?” a copy of Sidhu’s speech reads.

Or not! Sidhu and Brandman tried wooing the Trader Joe’s president to set up a location along Beach Boulevard in West Anaheim’s District 1, not District 2. And that area’s actual council representative, Denise Barnes, didn’t even appear invited to take part in the discussion.

There’s already a grocery store on Beach. Photo by Gabriel San Roman

What the Trader Joe’s council bros didn’t mention is that the highway is already home to a couple of grocery stores tellingly reflective of the majority demographics in the surrounding area. Near a main intersection, there’s a big Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market that always packs the parking lot across the street from the undeveloped “Sinkin’ Lincoln” plot where Tower Records used to be once upon a time in Anaheim. And then there’s Guadalajara Meat Market, a smaller specialty grocery store not far away.

Where would a Trader Joe’s fit, in more ways than one? The Beach Boulevard Specific Plan notes in its executive summary that the three-mile market area hosts a socio-economic demographic below the city and county average with a median household income of $72,500. Trader Joe’s typically opens new locations in areas with higher-than-average median incomes, generally in the six-figure range. The Register reported that the last Trader Joe’s to open in OC did so in San Juan Capistrano in 2017 after an eight-year hiatus. The previous locations were in Huntington Harbor and Aliso Viejo.

In the mayor’s pitch to the president, he also dug himself deeper than Sinkin’ Lincoln by touting Anaheim First in hyping demand. “Recently, our council announced a bold new plan to invest in Anaheim neighborhoods called Anaheim First, in which we’re seeking $250 million in new investment in our neighborhoods,” Sidhu wrote. “This neighborhood investment will be driven by robust outreach and dialog with our residents about what they see as adding to their quality of life. And in West Anaheim, our residents are telling us loud and clear that they want new higher end retail options including, very specifically, a Trader Joe’s.”

Guadalajara not good enough? Photo by Gabriel San Roman

Only, council never announced any such initiative, just Sidhu in his State of the City address. When closely examined by the Weekly, an independently formed 30-member Anaheim First advisory committee that never came before council is shown to be stacked with residents whose political activities, endorsements and contributions favored resort-backed candidates like Sidhu. Without really being a city-sanctioned body, no archived audio or minutes of an advisory committee meeting exist where residents expressed a burning desire for a Trader Joe’s.

But that didn’t slow Sidhu’s roll in gushing up to Palbaum.

“We commit to you that attracting a Trader Joe’s is one of our top economic and neighborhood development priorities in West Anaheim,” Sidhu wrote. “Anaheim is proud of our ‘can do’ approach to economic development and business attraction, and we hope we can sit down with you soon to discuss how to make the West Anaheim Trader Joe’s a reality.”

Despite Sidhu’s best efforts, there’s a better chance of the grocery store’s beloved but disappeared banana waffles reappearing in the frozen food section than the chain coming to town anytime soon. “As we shared with the mayor’s office this week, at this time, Anaheim is not a part of our 2019 strategic real estate plan,” Kenya Friend-Daniel, public relations director for Trader Joe’s tells the Weekly. “However we review and update our plan annually and consider new locations we feel would be a great fit.”

Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!

21 Replies to “West Anaheim’s Most Pressing Need is…a Trader Joe’s on Beach Blvd?!?!”

    1. I agree. Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and other high quality shopping.

      If you drive down (southbound) Harbor Blvd starting in La Habra, then Buena Park, when you get to the Anaheim City Limits, there is a dramatic change to the Boulevard. One that needs to be changed. As a District 2 resident, I wan to see Beach Boulevard improve.

      While I live just East of Magnolia, my local park and library is on the west side of the street (District 1). But to my family, and my neighbors, it is West Anaheim. And we also include the Anaheim Island area (un-incorporated Orange County).

      Would I like to see Magnolia, Lincoln, Brookhurst and other streets improve, of course we do.

      Councilmember Barnes is hosting Community meetings on Monday, April 1st at Noon and 6 PM. And those meetings will be held at the Brookhurst Community Center, located in District 2. We plan to attend as West Anaheim residents, because we care about our neighborhood and want to see it approve.

      As for the Buena Park section of Beach Boulevard, the city on its Webpage says “Entertainment and tourism attractions along the Beach Boulevard Entertainment Zone in Buena Park generate 6.4 million visits annually. The Zone is anchored by legendary amusement park Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City Water Park, Medieval Times, Pirates Dinner Theatre, Rock & Brews, The Source, and the newly opened Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. Fifteen hotels are interspersed throughout the district with over 2000 rooms, and twenty-five restaurants compliment the area- all just 6 miles from the Disneyland Resort.” Knott’s (owned by Cedar Fair) calls its property a Resort that includes Knott’s Berry Farm, Knott’s Soak City, the true replica of Independence Hall, the California Marketplace and the Knott’s Resort Hotel. I would say both terms are correct, Knott’s promotes its name, the city prefers a generic name.

      1. Thank youDavid. We live our district and it to be finally upgraded and give us places to shop and enjoy. A few minutes either way in Beach has done it, so it’s obviously not demographics. It’s unfair of the editor of this article seems to be just so fond of reporting so unfairly.
        We just love district 1. And we deserve better. We all do….its just our turn now.

  1. I would shop there every week, I love Trader Joe’s but there’s not a convenient location near me. I go to the one near work, or in Tustin after visiting my mother inaw.

  2. I have moved to Anaheim from Long Beach. Love this new city I call home. But i was truly spoiled, the LBC has 3, yes 3 Trader Joe’s. I love some of the special seasoning items, the 4% fat ground beef, and many other items that were on my weekly shopping list.
    I would love love some TJ’s in Anaheim.

  3. What a one sided narrative about a very important area.
    We, meaning the residents of district 1, have been fighting for DECADES for change on Beach Blvd. Clearly, in either direction, Buena Park and Stanton have done very well in upgrading businesses. Westgate (the property on Beach) CLEARLY vacant for decades is purchased and ready for a long time. But still empty.
    What exactly has been done? Nothing.

    There has been nothing done in the past beyond words. So thank you Harry Sidhu.
    You, the person who wrote this article obviously do not understand what’s been going on in this area. The Beach Blvd specific plan was started years ago, but obviously it was used by politicians as a tool..nothing was done. Mayor Sidhu is very sincere in trying to upgrade to PROMISED business and residential upgrades. And we have fought hard for a long time to open a Trader Joe’s and pushed the city to devote focus to OUR area for once. Statistically we have been LAST on the list for a long time.
    It’s been well noted we watch frequent businesses ribbon cuttings in other parts of Anaheim, while our district almost gave way some of our park space, motels that should have been gone decades ago still exist, and transient camps had taken over parks completely for years before anything was done. Sidhu came in and immediately started implementing plans.
    The shelters were built by volunteers in our community, and fought for by our residents.
    Do not let politicians come in and take any credit for that part…and we have been the ones begging for a decent place to shop for decades.
    Yes my friend, there is ONE store in our district. A very small walmart, I will not gift you with an appreciation for Guadalajara. We do not have a Starbucks in District 1. We do not have a place to dine, or shop, or be entertained. Our community goes to Cypress to shop, and every other city to do everything else.
    Wheres our support been????
    Westgate is extremely important to us. How DARE you write this article. You have NO idea the thousands of hours put in over the years by our residents in meetings, protests, neighborhood council participation, active volunteering, city council briefs on our area, voting, pride and sweat it’s taken to get here. So you take your “where do they think they’ll put a Trader Joe’s?” attitude
    And stick it.

    We deserve everything we have fought for and been promised.

    You have quite the nerve.
    You wait and watch, district ones going to swell with pride, and all you will have is your little keyboard trying to help out whichever politician is telling you to write whatever they ask you to. Good luck.

    And consider being more fair in the future.
    We see right through this.
    I am on that advisory committee, and I do not speak for the others, I will however mention our city council, our council representative and police, city manager, code enforcement, neighborhood, mayor and everyone already know our issues.
    Everyone but you, obviously.

    Jodie

    1. You’re telling me to stick it, but Trader Joe’s is the one who told Sidhu and Brandman better luck next year! Also, that Walmart Neighborhood Market is bigger than any Trader Joe’s I’ve seen.

      And if your civic cross to die on is high-end retail, Buena Park tried that with the Source and now look at it! If you think Westgate can become home to something like a Bella Terra, you’re sadly mistaken.

      1. This coming from someone who thinks the Guadalajara store is good enough. That’s all I need to know about you.
        It’s a fine store, I just want more choices.

        I personally love my community and try to better it. Bettering our district would be good for all of Anaheim.

        Enough said.

        1. Ha! Guadalajara is too small, but does cater to the sizable Latino demographic in the area (as does the nearby Northgate in Buena Park) and for that reason might as well not count for some folks–hence the bite of the caption.

          If I really wanted to be sarcastic, I could’ve invoked the Gigante debacle of the early 2000s and said bringing in a Trader Joe’s would add yet another liquor license to the area in feigning protest!

  4. Aldi’s And Traders Joe are sister company, I think 🤔 Why not just change Aldi’s store at Broadway corner Euclid to Traders Joe since I think Aldi’s not getting much customer. Just my personal thought 😁

    1. They are. And that Aldi’s is in Brandman’s District 2. But he wanted to lift his doggie leg and piss in another district that he doesn’t represent.

      1. Councilmember Brandman was a key figure in helping to draw up and support the Beach Boulevard Specific Plan when he was an at-large member a few years ago. So he is just suppose to walk away from all that work? As a Councilmember, he does represent and works for all of Anaheim. Should he place more emphasis on District 2? Yes. And as far as I can tell he has. He was at the ADA friendly KABOOM! park build at Barton Park (My wife and I were volunteers), but so was Stephen Faessel. It is part of the planned improvements for Barton Park. Both Councilmember Barnes and Councilmember Brandman pushed to have Maxwell Park and Haskell Library returned to its attended uses. Both agree with the need to clean up the railroad tracks in West Anaheim (based on Council Meetings). There is a lot of issues in West Anaheim on Both sides of Magnolia Avenue that need the support and attention of both councilmembers.

        Councilmember Barnes has said multiple times at Council meetings, Community Meetings and at W.A.N.D. meetings about the importance of 39 Commons (aka Westgate/Stinkin’ Lincoln) and the need for quality tenants, and I agree. The project is a key part (but not the only part) of the Beach Boulevard Specific Plan, one all residents of West Anaheim wants to see succeed.

        1. David: Not at all. Just because a council member is elected in a particular district doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be concerned with the affairs of all of Anaheim. I only find it curious that Brandman ran for District 2 on a platform including bringing in a Trader Joe’s, one echoed by the mayor’s state of the city speech where Sidhu stated the time to invest in D2 is now. But instead of lobbying for a Trader Joe’s on Brookhurst Street, Brandman and Sidhu sent a letter just days after the speech highlighting Beach Blvd. in District 1. Barnes, the council rep for District 1, doesn’t appear on the letter, though one would reasonably assume that’d make the pitch stronger. Those are the facts.

          I’m the messenger. Trader Joe’s is the one saying: better luck next year. The reasons are obvious.

          Btw: You’re the former MiceAge reporter, right?

          1. Correct, I provided content for many Websites that focus on Theme Parks including Disney. And that included MiceAge.

            I can’t speak for Councilmember Barnes regarding the letter. All I can say is that the City Manager did write a letter to the current property management for 39 Commons (They have been the rights holder since 2004). It is requesting current status on the property, along with specific demands moving forward, now that the Beach Boulevard Specific Plan was approved. If the city is not satisfied, the contract will be placed up for open bidding.

  5. I live in East Anaheim (not Anaheim Hills). I would love to see a new Trader’s Joe’s go up at the old’s Ralph’s on the corner of Rio Vista and Lincoln. The old Ralph’ s has been vacant for over seven years. The shopping center is in need of a face lift. I know the city is aware but there has been no change. We really need a market here since you have to drive out of the area.

  6. About ten years ago, I emailed Trader Joe’s about opening up a location in the “Bermuda Circle” of O.C.. An area in Orange County where there is no Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, etc..

    Till this day, I am still waiting for a response..

    After 10 years of wondering why Trader Joe’s hasn’t made a move, I have come to the conclusion that they are not afraid of Walmart, Food For Less, Super King, etc..

    But I have reason to believe that they are afraid of “theft”. Theft is normal in retail businesses, but understand that Trader Joe’s prices are fairly reasonable, and they’re profit margins are not that big. The main reason why they (and possibly other healthy food stores) refuse to operate in such demographics is simply because they will not make a profit due to frequent thefts, eventhough they will have enough customers.

  7. Please YESSSS!!! It’s shocking to me that a major city like Anaheim doesn’t get Costco, Trader Joe’s, Whole Food types. They always go to Brea/Fullerton. We needed a mayor who would try to attract these tenants, and i’m glad hes trying.

    Thank you to the mayor for these efforts. Hopefully he makes it happen. And the new development plans on Lincoln & Beach sound GREAT!!! MAKE SURE IT HAPPENS.

  8. What’s wrong with another Trader Joe’s? My parents and a lot of residence in that neighborhood really want that to happen! Not everyone wants to shop at Walmart.

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