It’s a no-go for Trader Joe’s

Brian Brown, Reporter

Dispelling rumors can be tricky business.

A person hears something from someone who knows somebody else and so maybe there’s a story.

When a news tip comes in, the process for a reporter is much the same each time – call those who would know, and find out what you can.

Lately, there’s been a persistent rumor making the social media rounds that Trader Joe’s is coming to Springfield. Specifically, people are saying the new home for the hard-to-find foods store with tropical décor is the vacant Howard Johnson’s hotel behind Target on South Glenstone Avenue.

Brad Thessing of Thessing Commercial Properties LLC, who last year purchased the 3333 S. Glenstone Ave. property with Kevin Guffey of central Missouri-based American Realty & Development, said he wished there was some truth to the rumors.

“I’ve heard that one myself,” Thessing said this week. “I’m telling you, it’s not in the cards.”

Thessing said he has reached out to the Trader Joe’s real estate team to try and garner interest for the property that is being transformed into a 60,000-square-foot retail center. However, the Springfield market isn’t in the chain’s two-year plan.

After requests for information from the company, I received a call from a spokeswoman who confirmed what Thessing had said. Plans for expanding into new markets are set through 2015, and Springfield is not on the list.

That means, for now, the frenzy on Facebook can tone down. A Facebook page titled Trader Joe’s, Please Come to Springfield, Missouri, had 1,709 likes this morning. A posting on the page sharing the hotel rumor from Jan. 30 garnered 169 likes, which may be why the newsroom staff keeps receiving tips from friends.

In sharing what I’d found with the editorial crew, two people said they were reminded of long-standing rumors The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was planning to buy Exotic Animal Paradise in Strafford. From what I heard, that one would spread for a time, would then die out for a while, only to be reborn from ashes like a cartoon Phoenix.

In an age of social media – and given the local interest – this Trader Joe’s rumor could have some legs.

In short, for now, “It’s a no-go for Joe’s at HoJo or anywhere that we know.”

Dispelling rumors can be tricky because people often want news we can’t give them. Sorry, gang.

On the plus side, Thessing said he’s been in contact with five or six other national retailers he declined to name that are interested in entering the Springfield market. But nothing has been signed, so he’s keeping those cards close to his chest. When we know, you’ll know, too.


1 Response to “It’s a no-go for Trader Joe’s”

  1. 1 Mark Sponsler (@marksponsler) February 21, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    While Trader Joe’s would have been great, we have two stores owned by his brother… ALDI’s. Now, COSTCO is something I can get behind. Where’s the petition?

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