As part of the incentive package prepared by City staff to lure a Trader Joe’s to Chicago Avenue, the City will rename the Lee Street Beach “Trader Joe’s Beach,” and cordon off about half the beach for the exclusive use of Trader Joe’s employees and invited guests on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The City really needs this store,” said the City’s Director of Corporate Largesse Grafton Grant. “We were willing to do whatever it takes. That stretch of Chicago desperately needs grocery options for residents.” The location, between the two Evanston Whole Foods locations and about 200 yards from Jewel, gives the Aldi-owned Trader Joe’s a foothold along the stretch that some pundits are already calling “grocery store lane.”
“It was clear pretty early on that buying the store a $2 million parking lot was not going to be enough,” said Mr. Grant. “We had to find a way to sweeten the pot a bit. And the City’s crack staff hit upon this idea, the beach idea, and suddenly everyone’s eyes lit up. We thought we had them, and we did.”
The City will provide life guards, special ID passes, and portable toilets for Trader Joe’s staff. It is expected that the portable facilities will be replaced by brand new, state-of-the-art washrooms as soon as 2015.
Lee Street Beach is the closest to the proposed Trader Joe’s site. “We have numerous beaches here in Evanston,” said Mr. Grant. “We can afford to let one of them go, at least part of the time. It’s definitely worth it. I mean, we’re getting a Trader Joe’s after all.”