Rumors swirl about a new Trader Joe’s coming to Utah

The company, which has three locations in Utah, declines to confirm reports of two more locations.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) A Trader Joe’s grocery store on 400 South in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. The location is one of three the company runs in Utah — though there are rumors of new stores coming to Draper and in Salt Lake City's Brickyard neighborhood.

There are more than 500 Trader Joe’s stores nationwide, three of them in Utah — but that hasn’t stopped the speculation and anticipation that one or two more of the specialty grocery chain’s locations might be opening soon in Utah.

Rumors started flying in September, when a poster on Reddit started a thread, claiming that cashiers at stores near a former Whole Foods at 11479 S State St. in Draper — including a Zurcher’s party supply store — were saying that a Trader Joe’s is in the works there.

In the same thread, one poster reported that they had talked to an employee at the Trader Joe’s in Cottonwood Heights, who said the store may open in Draper early next year. Another said they had heard a Draper store was supposed to open in November, but the opening has been pushed back to 2023.

The other rumored location for a new Trader Joe’s is in Salt Lake City’s Brickyard neighborhood. A Facebook user, Vee Kelsey-McKee, recently posted that she had spoken to an employee at the OfficeMax at 1180 E. Brickyard Road, who confirmed to her that the office supply store would close to make way for a Trader Joe’s.

Getting someone to confirm or refute the rumors has not been easy.

Nakia Rohde, public relations manager for Trader Joe’s, said “we consider many locations. All of the locations that are opening soon are listed on our website. Unfortunately, the North Draper/South Sandy area is not on the list at this time.”

The only cities on Trader Joe’s “coming soon” list at the moment are in Providence, R.I., and Tigard, Ore., outside Portland.

Linda Peterson, communications director for the city of Draper, replied in an email: “Draper City has been pursuing Trader Joe’s for years, and we are hopeful that they will eventually locate here, but we are not able to share details about discussions at this point in time.”

As for the Brickyard location, Rohde said this week, “I had not yet heard that rumor. Unfortunately, that is all it is at this point.”

Sheila Bishop, a spokesperson for OfficeMax, confirmed that the company’s Brickyard Plaza store is scheduled to close on Nov. 12 — and the store already has started its closing sale. (The OfficeMax spokesperson noted that its sister chain, Office Depot, still has a store at 281 W. 2100 South in Salt Lake City.)

Bishop didn’t say anything about who might be moving into the Brickyard space after OfficeMax vacates.

It’s not hard to see why Trader Joe’s has a cult following. It’s affordable, with a stripped-down, just-what-you need approach to stocking. In the produce department, you can pick up tiny organic cucumbers and figs, and chopped, ready-to-eat broccoli.

They have fun with even the most basic products, like “Stripey Joe,” a new layered English cheese. And during the holidays, they stock such in-house treats as peppermint Jo-Jo’s (the chain’s version of Oreo’s).

The store’s sales flyer, “The Fearless Flyer,” feels like a fun little zine (and is available in print or as an e-newsletter). The store even its own podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s.

What Utah locations of Trader Joe’s don’t have, which some stores in other states do, is one of the chain’s most talked-about products: Charles Shaw wine, commonly referred to as “Two-Buck Chuck” because of its original price of $1.99 a bottle. (It now goes for between $2.99 and $3.99.) Utah’s strict alcohol laws keep wine off of Trader Joe’s shelves.

For now, fans of Trader Joe’s will have to be satisfied with its three Utah three locations: 634 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City, 6989 S. 1300 East in Cottonwood Heights, and 440 E. Park Ave. in Orem. Or they can go to the Trader Joe’s website, TraderJoes.com, and request a new store, which is how — rumor has it — the Orem location came to be.