Trader Joe’s Signs Lease in Clarendon (Finally)

by ARLnow.com March 1, 2011 at 9:44 am 11,666 86 Comments

Being Trader Joe’s is like being the prettiest girl in school. Everybody wants to go to the dance with you, so you can afford to be picky.

So it was with the grocery chain’s new Clarendon location. For months now, the company has kept observers wondering when they would finalize the lease for 11,000 square feet of prime retail space on the ground floor of the Clarendon Center project.

First, the store demanded concessions from Arlington County, which were granted. Then, we hear, they insisted on holding off on the lease until they were granted certain county permits.

It now appears that whatever permits the company has been waiting for have been approved. The Clarendon Center leasing plan shows Trader Joe’s occupying the space, near the corner of North Highland Street and Clarendon Boulevard.

In November the company told the county to expect a Summer 2011 opening date.

  • Crabhands

    Smart move waiting on the permits. From talking to small businesses around Arlington that process can be a real headache.

    Want to have a good laugh?
    Ask businesses about their permit horror stories.

  • LyonSteve

    Can’t wait to see the parking clusterf on Garfield St. That block between Clarendon and 11th St has two parking garage entrances/exits. And it already backs up now.

    One of those exits will be for TJ (and the apartment building above, etc.)

  • Hooray Hooray! Who cares about the parking when you can take the bus and schlep your groceries home without succumbing to road rage?

  • Seriously, driving in that area will become a clusterf-ck just like Clarendon Blvd is now when people are trying to turn left into Whole Foods. But for those of us who have bicycles and live in the area I *like* the location.

    • local

      I can stop in on my ride home on Metro or bike. Awesome.

    • R.Griffon

      It’s a shame more people don’t know that they validate parking under the Pottery Barn. Or just don’t care because they’re too lazy to cross the street.

      • I do use the parking garage under Pottery Barn when shopping at Whole Foods but there are days when it’s pretty darned full to!

      • Vinh An Nguyen

        because they’re too lazy to cross the street.


    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      Yes you can park across the street, but that might not be practically if you have a whole cart full of groceries….. I would argue if you are going there for one or two light bags you can carry, then sure. Parking across the street is an option.

  • OX4

    Let the Falls Church SUVs fight over parking. I’ll be taking CaBi.

  • Lou

    Yeah, forcing everyone to wait until you have all your permits approved is pretty much a Diva move. The landlord was obviously very patient with them. Would have been funny if they had leased it out to someone else while TJ’s was d!*king around.

  • Bluemont John

    I’ll stick with the one in Falls Church, even though I live a lot closer to this one. LyonSteve is right; it’s gonna be a clusterflub.

  • Clarendude

    Hurray! I was getting worried. Although I’m not a current TD patron, I am looking forward to a new grocery choice that I can walk to.

  • DudeGuy

    I hate Trader Joe’s. Everyone that shops there either A – has not been to a market before or B – has not pushed a cart before. Everyone leaves their carts unattended and you have to slalom between the idiots.

    • AllenB

      Steve, is that you?

      • SteveGuy

        And there’s no smoking in Trader Joe’s! Sissies.

      • SteveO

        Unless they start selling ammo you can forget about me going.

      • DudeGuy

        Not Steve, just another fact pushing dude

        • AllenB

          That’s quite a fact – “everyone leaves their carts unattended”. And even better “everyone who shops there has never been to a market before or not pushed a cart before”. Yeah, very factual.

        • borf

          I shop at Joe’s and I’ve been to a market before and have pushed a cart.

          • AllenB

            I’m sorry, but you must be lying; DudeGuy says he’s only pushing facts. Therefore, anyone who tries to question the truthiness of DudeGuy is either a pansy or a liberal or a nonsmoker or even, gasp, a cartpushing-pansy-liberal-nonsmoker!

          • borf

            Oh, sorry. I’m so stupid. I should quit smoking.

            Smoking Is Dumb: Young Men Who Smoke Have Lower IQs, Study Finds


          • local

            DudeGuy did a random-sample, double-blind, large sample size, peer-reviewed study on cart abandonment and food market actualization.

          • OX4

            That study was the basis for his dissertation, “Abandoned Shopping Carts and the Effect on Liberal Food Market Aisle Accessibility.”

          • R.Griffon

            You are a statistical anomaly and are no longer relevant.

          • borf

            Always an outlier, never a bride.

          • AllenB

            Aww… I’m sure the right statistically relevant descriptor will come along someday. It just takes time.

    • Mkt Common

      I hear you. I just don’t get all the TJ love. A plethora of pre-packaged produce and high-calorie/sodium meals, highly limited wine selection, an issue with leaving stuff on shelves waaaay past the due date, an entire aisle of frozen entrees….

    • baroque


  • Tre

    awesome… now I can save 32 yards walking to Traders instead of Whole Foods! Thats over 60 yards round trip!

    • notahoo


    • IB

      …and $50

  • Too Easy

    Perfect, now I can get lunch and dinner before I bike home.0 I0 love me some Trader Joes

  • Patrick

    Any idea why the clarendon center leasing plan shows Trader Joe’s occupying two retail locations? Locations 5 and 9 are both listed as being Trader Joe’s, but the two locations don’t appear to be connected internally.

    • borf

      A radial saw and a sledgehammer will take care of that problem.

      • Bill

        I haven’t been inside the new building yet but it looks like there’s either a lobby or hallways in between the two lots.

        Will be interesting to see how it is situated.

    • Clarendude

      They were going to lease just the rear half of the space labelled “5” and use it as stock storage (the two spaces are “connected” via an interior corridor. It does look like they leased the whole space number “5” which makes me wonder if the whole thing will be storage (with no retail frontage on Garfield) or if they are going to do something else.

      • Lou

        I could be that they had to lease all of it now, and will sublease later, or amend the lease, to give back the frontage to another retailer.

    • LyonSteve

      Curious on this one as well.

    • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

      the smaller spot is reserved for Bike Parking – since everyone appears to be riding their bike to this place

    • R.Griffon

      That other one’s the smoking room.

  • bennynojets

    I just hope the lines are shorter than the one at Foggy Bottom.

    • AllenB

      Those are some big lines in Foggy Bottom, but they move surprisingly quick.

  • yaddayadda

    Is there really enough market demand to support another grocery store in this neighborhood? Will this put Whole Foods out of business?

    • LyonSteve

      Have you seen Whole Foods? People drive for miles and miles to get there. It doesn’t matter where this TJ was located there would be plenty of business for it.

    • borf

      Yes. No.

    • R.Griffon

      TJ’s doesn’t really carry everything that you need like a larger grocer; it’s more of a specialty and niche shop. You could never do all of your shopping there to feed a family.

      But single people, maybe. I wonder how long I could survive on a strict diet of Pirate’s Booty and Two-Buck Chuck. Hmmmm. I might need to try it. Y’know … for science.

      But most people will still find themselves shopping there AND a regular grocer. In fact, everyone that I know who shops at Whole Foods still has to go to Giant or Shoppers for stuff that Whole Foods doesn’t offer (mostly chemical-laden crap that you can’t live without).

      • Andrew

        What does Trader Joes not have that you would need to feed your family?

        Produce, check. Dairy, check. Bread/cereal/rice/etc, check. Meat, check. Frozen stuff, check. Beer, check. Wine, check.

        I’m fairly certain they have most toiletries as well.

        • R.Griffon

          My recollection is that it’s OK if you want to buy something simple and cook it up as they have staples from the major groups, but it’s not so handy if you’re shopping for a recipe. It’s been a while since I’ve been in one, but I don’t remember them having a lot of stuff. Things I’d buy off the top of my head – flour, yeast, peanut butter, jelly, honey, butter, whipping cream, any number of specific herbs & spices, wheat pasta. Do they have eggs? I don’t remember any eggs. And is their milk organic?

          I don’t remember seeing any of those things, but maybe I’m mistaken. My general feeling every time I went was that it was great for “finds” plus a few staples, but could rarely answer the mail if you had a shopping list going in. Maybe our location just sucked.

          • Tabby

            The wet cat food selection is poor–says tabby cat. And “most toiletries”? Nah.

            Produce is basic and limited. I wanted to make gumbo the other night and they don’t have okra, for example.

          • borf

            They have most of everything, but not much to choose from and not at the best price. You could feed a family there, but you wouldn’t want to. Like you, we go there to get certain things we can’t get elsewhere like their awesome cereal or frozen gourmet stuff.

          • anon

            They definitely carry – Four, peanut butter (and other fru fru nut butters), jelly, honey (and syrup, agave nectar), butter, whipping cream, herbs & spices (good prices compared to the grocery store), whole wheat pasta (also cheaper than the grocery store), eggs, milk (not sure if its organic). Fairly sure they have yeast, but not positive. They have most pantry staples.

          • Bluemont John

            Actually, they have all the staples, and they’re cheaper than the supermarkets on a lot of things: free-range eggs (under $3), pasta sauce, pasta, bread, pizza dough (a buck a bag!). They’re about equal on bananas but price them by unit rather than by pound, which I find annnoying.

            The only things they don’t have are prepackaged stuff like Hot Pockets, Lipton meals, Hamburger Helper. They do have their own prepackaged frozen things, which are not that cheap but not freakishly expensive either.

          • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

            You mean they dont have frozen items with 200% sodium in them???

            how can I live?

            And whoever above asked about eggs, they definitely have eggs. Its 2011 man, come on, even CVS has eggs these days. Yes they have organic milk (and regular milk) thats cheaper than Giant/Teeter. And organic half and half, yogurt etc.

          • Bluemont John

            Thanks to your screen name, “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” I believe by Miami Sound Machine, is now stuck in my head. I hope you’re happy with yourself.

        • Lou

          They don’t always have scrapple.

      • Sheriff Gonna Getcha

        I can get all of my shopping done only at TJs on a weekly basis. I dont quite see what you mean by your point….

      • LBski

        Agree. TJ has produce and meat, but it’s not very good. Small selection and high prices. For snacks and alcohol though, it’s fantastic!

        • Maria

          High prices? What Trader Joe’s are you shopping at?

      • Maria

        I’m not sure I’d call it specialty or niche… you just have to get used to a limited selection of the same basic groceries you can find everywhere else. If you love a certain brand of something, Trader Joe’s probably isn’t going to cut it for that item. I used to only go there for some things, but the more I went, the more I just bought their brands instead of thinking I *had* to get a different kind somewhere else.

        I do have a few things I prefer from Whole Foods (their multigrain pizza dough is amazing, if anyone’s looking), but I can’t remember the last time I went to Giant/Harris Teeter/Safeway.

        However, I am a single person, so maybe you’re right about families. No idea about that one. Doesn’t seem like Trader Joe’s has much in the way of kid/baby stuff, though I’ve never really looked. Whole Foods is a bit pricey for some of that stuff too.

    • Hattie McDaniel

      On Rt 7 there is a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes right across the street from each other–neither seems to be hurting because of it.

    • manderly


  • SouthArlJD

    OMG! It’s a contest between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for business. Well, I for one welcome our new wholesome overlords. With any luck they’ll continue with their tradition of cheap but tolerable wines – 3 buck Chuck – and tiny free cups of relatively decent coffee for shoppers.

  • Unimpressed

    What Arlington really needs is a Wegmans. Every other grocery store is a chump’s delusion by comparison.

    • OX4

      You’re right. A small, neighborhood Wegmans would fit right in our urban village.

      • AllenB

        A picture IS worth a thousand words….thanks for the laugh.

      • Overgrown Bush

        Yeah, this fits better.

    • RAnVA

      Wegmans would be a great fit in Arlington! We may have to wish very hard–maybe when one of the Harris Teeters move out; there’s one every few miles! :p

    • Justin Russo

      Wegmans should open on the old Dremo’s/Taco Bell site.

  • Tabby

    Agree with that re: Wegmans. Too bad we’re not getting one on the Pike instead of Super Giant.

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  • Noco

    Ah, still prefers Whole foods. Been a loyal costumer for 15 years. TJ? it just doesn’t do it for me, don’t care for their 3 buck wines. I better use for that space would be a really nice french bakery ( a real boulangerie) where you can get really good bread, cheese, flowers and wine on your way home from the metro. That Pain Quotidien thingy down the street doesn’t count.

    • IB

      Two bakeries just opened in the area.

  • Bob

    Maybe the Giant on Wilson Blvd will start carrying more Amys, Cedar Lane, Kashi, etc now.

  • LuvDusty

    @Bob: The Giant on Wash Blvd has a wide selection of Kashi products.

    I live 1 blk from the new TJ location. So I may stop in on my walk home from Metro. I do my weekly shopping for fresh food at Whole Foods and probably won’t switch to TJ–just not the same for me.

    Oh and when I want to get a lot of groceries–I take 4 bags with me and well, CARRY THEM home. : ) That way I get my cardio and weight-resistance done after I shop.

    Maybe Americans would be LESS FAT if we actually, dunno..WALKED places more.

    Anyone who is driving to the Whole Foods in Clarendon is ridiculous. It’s meant for the local customer, that’s why there’s such a small parking lot people!

  • LuvDusty

    Oh and not to be insenstive to those with disabilities or the elderly–I want to add one more thing.

    They offer those “grocery carts” with wheel which carry a large amount of groceries–at the Container Store or Walmart/Target. My parents use that for larger orders. Another option is to go 2x a week to the store instead of 1x a week and get less each time.

    And finally, if you are in a wheelchair, Whole Foods provides specialized carts for you and if you have a disabled sticker on your car you can park in the specially marked spots.

  • Thes

    “Summer” starts in less than 30 days, but it doesn’t look like much progress has been made on the build-out for the store. What gives?

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  • Deborah Rose

    After living and shopping in the Rotunda shopping area for more that 30 years I have yearned for a Trader Joe’s to be nearby. I travel at least 30 minutes to shop at the closest TJ.
    I sincerely hope that we have the peasure of being able to take advantage of an installation of a Trader Joes at the Rotunda.
    Many thanks,
    Deborah Rose

  • Debra Wasserman

    I live and work within 1 mile of the Rotunda Shopping Center in North Baltimore City and would love to see a Trader Joe’s type store open in this location. As Director of The Vegetarian Resource Group, I can assure you that there are many many customers in this community that would jump for joy if this type of store were to open in our neighborhood. Right now we have to travel to the county to visit Trader Joe’s. We would shop there often if it were more convenient. Also, this location is near a high-income community that would definitely shop at Trader Joe’s frequently, as well as being near many colleges with students who would shop here.

  • Mary Joyce Forsyth

    Please open a Trader Joe’s at the Rotunda on 40th street in Baltimore. I have to travel many to many miles now and have parking problems. It would really be popular in this Baltimore location. The neighbors are the kind of clients you want to have shopping at your wonderful stores.

  • Margo m Bates

    We live within a 2 mile radious of the Rotunda on 40th Street in Baltimore Md. We would love to have a Trader Joe’s so close to us. What a treat for our city and all of her residents

  • jbhanson

    We really would love a Trader’sJoe at the Rotunda. Only reason I don’t get to TJ is because of the drive towson and the parking. Rotunda is nearby, lots of parking and you’ve got a hellava market for us and the Hopikins community!


  • Dede Little

    Many will welcome you to the Rotunda with cheers.. Hope we’ll be so lucky.

  • knicks Very good post! manny ramirez

  • nancy rouse

    yes! we would love to have Trader Joe’s take over the old Giant.at the Rotunda. Near Roland Park, Guilford, Homeland, Bolton Hill, Charles Village, Mt. Vernon and more great neighbor-hood and across the street from RolND pARK pLACE,


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