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City Launches Campaign to Win Back Trader Joe's

WEST COVINA, Calif. - Trader Joe's left here in January 2000, citing crime problems, but now the city of West Covina is hoping to lure the supermarket back, the San Gabriel Valley News reports.

Mayor Mike Miller and the City Council are asking residents to write to the South Pasadena-based company to encourage it to return. A similar letter-writing campaign got Trader Joe's to come to Monrovia, Calif. in May 2000. Trader Joe's spokeswoman Pat St. John, said there are no plans to bring a store back to the area, however. "We have a two-year real estate plan updated regularly," she said. "West Covina is not currently on that two-year plan."

According to officials, Trader Joe's abruptly left West Covina after its store in the city was robbed three times and burglarized once in a two-year time period.

Trader Joe's said the West Covina Police Department gave them incorrect statistical information about crime in the city. West Covina in turn faulted the company for leaving so quickly. "On both sides of the fence, words were said,' Miller admitted. "We really need to get past that."

The city has sent out approximately 30,000 mailers to residents, asking them to begin a letter-writing campaign to urge Trader Joe's to come back.

St. John said there are several factors Trader Joe's looks at before deciding to open a store in a certain city, although she declined to say what they are. Also, she wouldn't say whether the bad blood between West Covina and the retailer had anything to do with the decision not to put the city on Trader Joe's real estate plan.

In addition to the letter-writing campaign, West Covina is at work on a marketing plan to bring to Trader Joe's to sell the city to the company, according to Miller.
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