First TV and then today’s Democrat-Gazette reported on steps taken by Trader Joe’s to open a store in a former toy space in West Little Rock.
The breathless coverage of the arrival of a national chain with outlets in 40 or so states reminds me of nothing so much as a journalist who once declared a watershed event in the location of both an Apple store and national tennis shoe chain outlet in west Little Rock. It was the beginning of history, he seemed to say, for a new Little Rock. Not so much, it turned out. The clamor over new stores reflected then and now a certain neediness in the city, it seems to me. We proclaim we have arrived thanks to a grocery store. Meawhile, infrastructure, schools, crime and family status are better signifiers of our stature for those who can bring significant development to the city.
The law that allowed full wine sales in grocery stores undoubtedly was an important factor in Trader Joe’s decision to finally add Arkansas to its roster. So thanks Walmart and other major grocery retailers for helping encourage more competition through that law change.
Trader Joe’s is still only a grocery store. Its store-brand crackers, cookies, candy and cereal are deservedly popular. It displays produce well. The wine selections are interesting and well-priced. But it’s not a full-array grocer like, say, Edward’s. A full range of cleaning supplies? You won’t find them among other factors that will make the store more of an occasional choice rather than the new go-to weekly stop for many.
But come on down, Joe! What’s not to like about Two-buck (or is it now Three-buck) Chuck wine?
I can only imagine the excitement if this were news of the advent of a Cheesecake Factory. That might prompt an extra edition of the newspaper (digital, of course — the D-G is now apparently on the cusp of being down to daily real paper delivery in only Pulaski County in the 63 counties outside Northwest Arkansas.
NEWSPAPER UPDATE: A blog reader said her mother, a D-G subscriber in Pulaski County, had received notice of the change to digital daily delivery in October.