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New signs confirm that TJs is coming to Town & Country

Original post made by Carol Garsten on Nov 14, 2008

Have you seen the new signs at Town & Country Village?
Gone are the old reader boards, icons since the 1950's.
The new signs which were installed yesterday don't say
Town & Country Village (yet) but they do say Trader Joes!
Yeah!!! But alas if you think you can drive in to the property
and visit Trader Joes'll be disappointed.
The new Trader Joes, in a new building being constructed
on the Town & Country Village Property is slated to open Q1 2009
(maybe Q2). Check out all the new stores at the renovated
shopping center.

Comments (44)

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 14, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Trader Joes is not the kind of grocery store we need in PA--Trader Joes is a small specialty store catering to the organic/veggie/touchy feely crowd. We need a large, full service grocery, not a small overpriced place with limited selection.
Does T&C have anything like a Target, Wal-Mart or Best Buy? Pribably not, just junior versions of the shops found at Stanford Shopping Center that many of us cannot afford to shop in anymore.
You must be rich Carol!!!!

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2008 at 9:08 pm

Trader Joe's is quite reasonable. Not sure, Marvin, why you think we need any of those big box stores in Palo Alto when they're all nearby.

Trader Joe's would be very useful.

Posted by sally, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 14, 2008 at 11:22 pm

I go to Trader Joe's in Mountain View every week. Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy a few times per year at most. I am very happy that Trader Joe's is now within walking distance.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 15, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Ohlone Par--two words--tax revenue

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Trader Joes sells a healthy selection of fresh and packaged food at very reasonable prices,it certainly much lower prices than Whole Paycheck/ Whole Foods for comparable items.

They also avoid China originating foods because concerns about contamination, very reassuring indeed given the series of disasters involving, human food, pet food and childs toys made in China.

A TJs in Palo Alto is a great idea, they obviously see enough demand evn with stores in MV and MP.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:15 pm


Tax revenue's nice, but we don't *need* Wal-mart in PA and we don't really have a great space for one. Basically, a Wal-mart in PA would appeal mostly to out-of-town shoppers. I know people who shop at Costco; lots of people who shop at Target. I know no one who goes to Wal-Mart. For some (like me) it's for ethical reasons--but for a lot of people it's just an unpleasant shopping experience. They don't have to, so they don't.

Trader Joe's on the other hand is a good anchor for Town & Country and is more reasonably priced than Whole Foods and Piazza's. I already drop by Trader Joe's in Mountain View for packaged stuff because the prices are better.

Posted by Greg K, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 16, 2008 at 8:19 am

Palo Alto already has a big box electronics store: Frys. I doubt that Best Buy would want to come to Palo Alto when they already have a store down the street in EPA. Same is true of Walmart and Costco and Target who already have stores near San Antonio Rd. Besides, these big box stores only build in low rent areas. I'm not sure that T&C qualifies.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Greg--you are correct--PA missed their opportunity to attract a store like Best Buy or any other big box store. City officials always talk about tax revenue--what have they done about it? What are they doing to keep our car dealerships for example???
T&C used to be a nice place to shop--but now many of the stores have been driven out and it is turning into a Stanford Shopping Center Jr.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:46 pm

"Palo Alto already has a big box electronics store: Frys. I doubt that Best Buy would want to come to Palo Alto when they already have a store down the street in EPA."

Consumer electronics retail is a very, very risky business. It's not a long-term play any more, because product development times are approaching zero. It's almost impossible to project demand, except for a very few products. It will be a small miracle if Fry's is in business when their "special rights" here run out near 2020.

Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I know people who go to Walmart, but I agree the one in San Antonio is small, old, and shabby. But a brand new Walmart - those things are sweet! I disagree that PA folks wouldn't shop there - many many would (including me). There is a reason they are the world's biggest retailer. But I do agree there are not any places I can think of in PA that would accommodate the access, parking, and footprint required for a modern-format Walmart.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2008 at 4:36 pm

I disagree about Walmart in SanAntonio being old and shabby, it is practically brand new. Hasn't been there that long. I have never been in any other Walmart, so can't compare. I don't like it for many reasons, so rarely shop there, but it seems to be good at what it does.

But, we do need affordable shops in Palo Alto. Kohls isn't around here so would be a good candidate. We keep building new housing, but nowhere for the residents to shop. If we can find space for more housing, we need to find more space to build places for them to shop.

Perhaps, when the PA Bowl goes, that development could attract some decent affordable shops. We have unused office development built on the site of the old Scotts Seafood place, perhaps shopping would have been a better bet there.

Posted by TJ lover, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 16, 2008 at 6:45 pm


I think you need to go to Trader Joes and do some price comparisons. They are 50 to 60% cheaper than Safeway, which I no longer shop for budget reasons.

How in the world you ever got the notion that TJs is overpriced, I'll never be able to figure out. They are owned by Aldi Mart which is one of the biggest discount grocers in the world.

Please tell us where you shop for groceries. I can assure you that you are paying way too much, if the answer is anything other than Trader Joes.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 16, 2008 at 7:38 pm

Check out Trader Joe's when it opens. It is not all earthy stuff. They have great packaged stuff which is microwaveable for great meals in a pinch. Also, their canned corn is really good!

Posted by cheerful mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2008 at 9:36 am

Happy to see TJ is coming. They have reasonable price for high quality produce, I shop in their memlo park and mountain view stores a lot. 19 cents for a banana, can't beat it!!

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:02 am

Thanks for coming to Palo Alto, Trader Joe's
-from a fan

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 12:50 pm

I hope that TJs are making plans to accommodate Paly students rather than discourage them. The options for students to buy a decent lunch at a reasonable price are getting worse, I hear that Rojos is the latest to be rumored to close.

T & C have to realise that there is nothing they can do to prevent Paly students roaming the center during and after school and the tenants would be better to prepare for that. A visible place to leave backpacks and the realisation that students will probably want to buy one banana or one can of soft drink and a simple sandwich means that they should be prepared for that. Also, they will be coming in toget items for their homes on the way home so they could realistically be very important demographic to their customer base.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 17, 2008 at 12:54 pm

TJ Lover and Mom--I have been to the TJs in MV a few times--limited selection, small store--give me a large Safeway like in MV and MP.

Posted by Ross Road, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Can anyone tell me how we are going to get out the TJ parking lot? Is a signal going to be installed at the exit. It is already very difficult to make a left turn onto Embarcadero. Could the signal be moved by Paly or could an exit be made at the existing signal?

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm

If they did that, Ross Road, it would encourage more traffic on Embarcadero and with our anti-traffic/anti-Stanford councilmember residing there, that will never happen.
Better to leave it as is and hope that people walk to T&C--after all walkable neighborhoods is another big PA issue.

Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Marvin, I'm not sure how many people want to walk with the robbery rate these days.

Plus, Safeway Menlo is less than a mile away from TJ. How can you expect another Safeway Menlo to be in Palo Alto? Where's the room for one? That one is huge.

Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:21 pm

There is a whole new traffic scheme being designed for Embarcadero at T&C involving
T&C, TJ's, Paly, and the usual traffic, Stand by.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Mom--as I mentioned on the 16th, PA missed the opportunity to attract any kind of large store in the city. All the companies built in the cities next to us--EPA (Best Buy,Home Depot, Ikea) , MP (Safeway), Los Altos (whole Foods), MV (wal Mart, Charleston Shopping Center).
That window is now closed and we will have to make due with the boutique stores and small groceries that are prevalent in our city.
People want visitors and shoppers and tax revenue, but they do not want large stores and traffic--to me that is a clear conflict.
Maybe our council can make the new T&C a target of their Destination Palo Alto push.

Posted by DLH-'74 Gunn Grad, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:09 pm

My oh my Marvin,
You sound like you really dislike Palo Alto; perhaps you would be better served by moving to a bigger city where there are plenty of big box stores and leaving Palo Alto to those of us who love it the way it is. I for one would be sickened at the sight of a WalMart in Town & Country.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm

DLH-'74 Gunn Grad--I did not realize that there is a litmus test for retail that must be met in order to be living in this city.
I like PA--I dislike the shopping choices. I would prefer to do my shopping in town, but I cannot because of the lack of choice of the kind of stores that I like to shop at. Sorry that does not meet the standards set by "veteran" PA residents like yourself. I have no problem shopping in other cities, I am not sure why it is a problem for you. Maybe you can get the council to adopt a non-binding resolution regarding the "dsired" shopping habits of PA residents
BTW, Wal-MArt would be a wrong choice for T&C--however I was talking about large stores in PA in general, not specifically T&C.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

It wouldn't be that big a deal to fix the traffic situation at T&C--they just need to put in a signal at the Embarcadero exit--or put an exit where there's a signal.

Marvin, there is a Safeway in Palo Alto--it's the worst grocery store in town. Since you are near a couple of large Safeways, I'm not sure what the gripe is about. Palo Alto has a lot of retail for a town of its size--it has a regional shopping center, for pete's sake.

I mean, your main gripe seems to be that the stores aren't large and low-rent enough. When people point out that Trader Joe's is actually quite affordable, you gripe that it's not something bigger even though it's the largest anchor you could put at the T&C site.

Paly Parent,

Grocery stores run low profit margins--can't imagine Trader Joe's wouldn't welcome students buying prepared (higher profit margin) foods.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:45 pm

OhlonePAr--the safeway in PA is the worst in town, because it is undersized--which is my point--stores in town are too small. I have been to TJ and I do not find them affordable--just my opinion on that.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Best bet for anyone wanting to leave T & C and turn left on Embarcadero is actually best to turn right and do a U at ECR. The pedestrian light where it is should stay as otherwise it would be a deathwish for Paly students crossing at lunch times and other times. If a light is put on the exit, there must still be a light that stops traffic all ways for pedestrians otherwise when students are there crossing the left turners would never move because there is a steady flow through each stop light at lunch time and before/after school.

Posted by Traffic, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm

regarding the need for another traffic light--there may be a problem putting a light too close to the El Camino traffic light. You may get traffic backed up into ECR.
It is also hard to get into T&C from southbound El Camino as well.

Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Trader Joe's Kung Pao Noodles are da bomb!! Dinner in two minutes!!

Posted by PatrickD, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Can't wait for Trader Joes at T&C; the one in San Antonio Shopping Center is really cramped (and you have to fight with the Walmart patrons for a parking space).

The only problem is we still need a Milk Pail analogue next door. You can't get everything at Trader Joe's and fresh fruit and vegetables are not really their forte (plus they're overpriced). I love everything else about it though.

Posted by Trader Joe customer, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 8:16 pm


How often do you go to T&C?

Even though I love Trader Joes, I believe that parking at T&C will be a complete mess after it opens. It already is so difficult now.

Actually, if parking and traffic flow are not improved at T&C for the opening of their Trader Joe's I'll probably keep going to the one in Mountain View.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 9:39 pm

As part of the Trader Joe's project, a traffic light will be installed at the Embarcadero exit, and the Paly driveway will be moved (at the developer's expense) to line up with the T&C exit. This should help the traffic flow, but probably won't be good enough. The developer managed to avoid going through the Planning and Transportation Commission and having to do a thorough traffic analysis by implementing changes piecemeal, with none of the changes being big enough to trigger a comprehensive review of the traffic plan. This is a total manipulation of the process, and the result will likely be disastrous as a consequence. This is one of those cases where I would love to be wrong, but only time will tell. I am a regular TJ shopper, but this strategy by the T&C owners has been very dishonest.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 9:52 pm


Thanks for the info. It sounds all too probable.

I wonder how much would involved in establish a footbridge alongside the railway overpass?

Posted by sally, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:12 pm

OhlonePar - I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but there already is a very nice, paved, bike/pedestrian path parallel to the Caltrain tracks. It runs from the University Ave. Caltrain station, past the medical center and Homer Street tunnel, over Embarcadero Road, and ends at Churchill Ave. near the high school. From Churchill, bicyclists and pedestrians can continue south on residential streets and sidewalks down to Peers Park and California Ave. This path should be a great way for people to get to T&C and Trader Joe's without driving. Just bring a backpack or mount a rack on your bicycle to carry your groceries home.

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:25 pm


I think Oholone is thinking about safe passage for the Paly students crossing the street at lunch times.

I have met my teen for lunch in the parking lot and been amazed at how busy that pedestrian light is at lunch time. The kids crossing are a steady stream and as soon as the light changes the button is pressed for the next stream of kids. Before they are all at T & C the first ones are already on their way back. For the whole of the Paly lunch break, the pedestrian traffic crossing that street is a major traffic nightmare.

On top of that, there are the student drivers coming out of Paly parking lot. Some of these are students with licences and some are still under parental guidance, but before and after school these young drivers who are still rookies even if they have their licences are coping with one of the most tricky intersections in Palo Alto.

When T & C gets more busy with the TJs shoppers, things are going to get even worse.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Paly Parent's right. I'm thinking of the Paly kids crossing the street at lunch. It's a serious mob.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:13 am

The pedestrian crossing and light will remain where they are, separated from the car exit.

Posted by Donald, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:16 am

The path/bridge that Sally talked about can also be used to cross from Paly to T&C. It means walking a few more steps, though, so I doubt that many students will use it.

Posted by veronica, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:18 pm

It's really too bad that a lot of us are spending our money in other cities for our shopping needs. I, for one, go to Menlo Park or Mountain View for groceries and San Antonio or further for clothes, etc. Not everyone in Palo Alto can afford the prices at Stanford Shopping Center. We also need a grocery store at Edgewood Plaza but I guess the city fathers or whoever will just wait until we are sick and tired of looking at an eyesore and then force the extra housing on our neighborhood without an effective grocery anchor. By the way, it's great that TJ will be located in Palo Alto but in a bad location....I will continue to shop at TJ's in MV.

Posted by Old teacher, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 19, 2008 at 8:25 am

At the risk of sounding like the 1950's.... instead of so many Palo students "needing" to cross Embarcadero to buy lunch at Town & Country, why don't they just be independent, pack their own nutritious, low-cost, lunches the night before school, put them in the fridge, grab and go ? They'd save time, money, and the environment. Paly's central green area has recently added lovely new landscaping. There is no need to risk life and limb crossing Embarcadero to buy prepared food and then toss all the plastic and paper packaging.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2008 at 8:23 pm

Veronica, there is going be a grocery store opening where Albertson's was. It's already been approved. Also, the city of PA does not want big chains in PA so they wouldn't approve the stores. That's why we all have to go elsewhere to purchase.

Old teacher, things have changed--mostly homework loads. Paly students are studying so late that they don't often have the time to pack a lunch in the morning because they need what extra winks of sleep they can get. And moms these days often work so it's easier to give their kids cash. And some kids prefer hot lunches to sandwiches. Cafeterias are used by adults when they could very well pack their lunches too.

Plus, what you are saying is like saying, "Why don't Americans just lose weight? All they have to do is eat less and eat healthy and exercise." Sounds easy in theory...

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 20, 2008 at 1:30 am

Hmmm, my mother worked full-time and somehow there was time to pack lunches. It's not that time-consuming--a prepackaged drink, a sandwich or some such thing, a piece of fruit and maybe something else (cookie, nuts, whatever.) You can even practice your Spanish while doing it. And as Old Teacher says, do it the night before. We always did. Stick it in the fridge and grab it in the morning. It's less time consuming than waiting in line at Town and Country.

And, yeah, brown-bagging it is actually one of those tips always given for controlling weight. Certainly it's a more healthy lunch than you're going to get at Kirk's.

I'm with Old Teacher on this one. It's amazing how many people seem to have very little idea how to put together a decent meal for themselves. We're teaching our kids to eat carelessly.

Posted by Old Teacher, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 20, 2008 at 11:30 am

OhlonePar, Thanks for your thoughtful comments on packing lunches. It would be sad to think that life was so busy that we can only throw money at our kids and not take time to prepare something loving and nutritious. I chuckled at your suggestion that one practice Spanish while making a lunch. Along with single parenting and lunch packing, guess what I taught for a million years, throughout the PAUSD. Bon apetito, everyone !

Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Having my second kid now at Paly, I can confirm that many, many kids do take lunches with them to school. My kids buy lunch at T & C on average once a week and usually do it because they want to eat with friends and they decide together which day to go. On the other days they take lunch with them because they are so busy with clubs (fun things not academics) that they don't want to waste time at lunch when they can be doing something fun with friends. But, they tell me that some, but not everyone, goes to T & C every day, most only go once or twice a week. But, there are free periods and also many meet up with friends after school at T & C before going off to their after school activities together or separate. So I see T & C for my kids as socializing rather than the need to buy lunch. My first kid often went with bagged lunch with friends just so they could hang out even though no lunch was bought there.

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