News came just before the holidays last month that many thought they’d never hear: Trader Joe’s is finally coming to New Hampshire. It was a Festivus (eve) miracle!

In fact, Trader Joe’s is really moving a store to New Hampshire–the Union Leader reports that the store currently about five feet across the border in Tyngsborough, Mass. will be moving up the road to Nashua sometime this year. That move may seem small, but with only one other store in northern New England–opened in late 2010 in Portland, Me.–it could mean that future locations might pop up elsewhere in the state.

Given their relatively small size compared to other grocery stores and their history of locating stores in urban neighborhoods, it’s easy to imagine a Trader Joe’s opening in an up-and-coming Manchester neighborhood in the coming years. The store in Portland, for instance, is located in the Bayside neighborhood, an area reminiscent of Manchester’s Downtown South–a district once home to former railyards and warehouses and now dominated by parking lots and suburban-style strip retail. The new–and sadly, suburban-scaled–Market Basket nearing completion there, however, might make that area less attractive a Trader Joe’s, Manchester Food Co-op or other urban-scaled store.

With a foothold in New Hampshire, though, maybe it won’t be so far-fetched to dream about a small grocery store filling some vacant space like the old Vista Foods on McGregor Street, or better still as part of a large-scale redevelopment of areas like the old Flat Iron District that preceded that Vista plaza in the first place.

Trader Joe’s to open first NH store in Nashua

By JULIE HANSON
December 22, 2011
NASHUA — Trader Joe’s is opening its first New Hampshire location in Nashua sometime next year.

“We’re excited,” said Alison Mochizuki, spokesperson for Trader Joe’s. “We look forward to becoming part of the neighborhood.”

The privately held company announced that the Tyngsborough, Mass., store across from the Pheasant Lane Mall is moving down the road and across the border to Webster Square Plaza on Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua.

The new store will be larger than the current location and will offer wine, Mochizuki said. The Tyngsborough location does not carry beer or wine.

The grocery chain offers hard-to-find items alongside staple food items, many packaged under Trader Joe’s label. The chain uses local suppliers for goods such as dairy, bread, and produce whenever possible.

Tyngsborough resident Lee Schermerhorn said it’s been a feather in the town’s cap to have a Trader Joe’s location, but he understands why the store would choose to move to an area with more parking.

“It’s kind of sad, but it’s right next door,” Schermerhorn said.

Carol Lyle lives in the Manchester area, but said she shops at Trader Joe’s in Tyngsborough with her daughter for the store’s large organic selections.

Bob Sampson of Nashua said he chooses Trader Joe’s for its quality and the large selection of unique food items.

“It’s healthy food at an affordable price,” Sampson said.

The company began in the 1950s as a small chain of convenience stores called Pronto Markets.

In 1967, the name was changed to Trader Joe’s. The chain now operates 366 stores across the country, including 17 in Massachusetts.

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