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Trader Joe's Eyes Pittsburgh in East Coast Expansion

PITTSBURGH - Specialty food retailer Trader Joe's is reportedly eyeing the Pittsburgh market as it continues its growth plans on the East Coast, the Pittsburgh Business Times reports.

Local real estate industry sources told the newspaper that the California-based retailer is scouting space for two or three stores in the area, seeking locations that average 10,000 square feet.

Sources said Trader Joe's expects to enter the Pittsburgh market in 2003.

Trader Joe's, the West Coast retailer that started as a convenience store, is working to open 50 stores between Boston and Washington, D.C., with two locations now open in eastern Pennsylvania and one in Cleveland.

The company offers upscale grocery fare such as health foods, organic produce, and nutritional supplements. To keep costs down, its stores have no service departments and average about 9,000 square feet. The company's specialty is its line of more than 800 private-label products, including beverages, soup, snacks, and frozen items.

Started by Joe Coulombe as a Los Angeles convenience store chain in 1958, the company was bought in 1979 by German billionaires Karl and Theo Albrecht, who also own the ALDI food chain.
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