Trader Joe’s to open Springs store Oct. 10

Colorado Springs won’t have to wait until 2015 for its new Trader Joe’s to open, after all.

After months of insisting its target was early next year, the California-based specialty grocer announced this week its first Colorado Springs location at University Village Colorado will open Oct. 10.

The 12,400-square-foot store, under construction at 5342 N. Nevada Ave. — on the north side of the University Village complex — will be open that day for normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to a Trader Joe’s news release.

The chain prides itself on offering an “extensive array of domestic and imported foods and beverages including fresh-baked artisan bread, Arabica bean coffees, international frozen entrees, 100 percent juices, fresh crop nuts, deli items and vitamins and supplements, as well as other basics, like milk and eggs,” according to the release.

It will not, however, offer alcoholic items, according to company spokesperson Alison Mochizuki. Colorado laws allow chain grocers only one store for beer and wine sales, and Trader Joe’s already has filled that with one of its Denver stores, in the Cherry Creek area.

The release stated the new Colorado Springs store — as all of its more than 400 U.S. stores — will feature the chain’s typical festive Hawaiian motifs, as well as “local flair” and “art celebrating the neighborhood.”

This brings to six the number of Trader Joe’s locations in the state since the chain announced the opening of its first Colorado branch — a 14,000-square-foot store in Boulder — two years ago. Since then, the company has opened three stores in Denver, one in Greenwood Village, and plans to soon open two more in Denver and Fort Collins by year’s end.

The buildout of the anchor site brings the University Village complex to around 575,000 square feet, nearing its goal of 650,000, Olive Real Estate Group Inc. broker John Winsor told the Business Journal in March. Winsor has helped developers Kevin Kratt and Tom Cone broker space at University Village since it opened in 2009. Trader Joe’s will join four other anchors at the complex: Costco Wholesale Club, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Kohl’s and SteinMart.

The company had anticipated an early 2015 opening date, Mochizuki told the Business Journal in March. She declined to comment on the earlier debut.

“Unfortunately I do not have an additional comment as we don’t discuss our business or real estate practices,” she wrote in an email Monday.

The company announced in March its plans to enter the Pikes Peak market, beginning construction shortly thereafter. Winsor told CSBJ then that the company had signed a long-term lease, but representatives for the company have declined to comment on details.

Trader Joe’s has a different approach from other high-end grocers, including creating organic, additive-free versions of popular favorites under its own house label. More than 80 percent (3,000 items) of its inventory is under this label, according to information on the company’s website.

Among those house labels are Trader Jose’s salsa, Trader Ming’s fried rice, Trader Giotto’s marinara sauces and more.

“Trader Joe’s introduces approximately a dozen new items every week, heightening the store’s adventurous appeal,” the company stated in the release. “Our buyers travel around the world searching out unique products at great values. In order for an item to be sold in a Trader Joe’s store, it must pass the scrutiny of a discerning tasting panel. Thousands of items are tasted each year to find products that both appeal to the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado.”

Since the Trader Joe’s construction began, University Village has welcomed a few other businesses to the complex: a second location of Over Easy: A Daytime Eatery, The Colorado Running Company, Massage Green Spa and Postal Annex+.

“They are wonderful additions to UVC,” according to a statement on Also in the works are a Starbucks coffee shop and a Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop, both expected to open in September, and an upscale San Diego-based eatery called Cowboy Star Restaurant & Butcher Shop, which also is expected to open in October, according to the website.

“We are very excited to welcome these new stores to the center to give you just that much more variety in your shopping choices,” the website states. “UVC is still growing and constantly adding the kind of shops and services you’re looking for.”

The shopping center has even started its own UVC Running Club, which meets at 6 p.m. each Monday for a trek along the Pikes Peak Greenway.

The success of University Village is in part due to its position between heavily traveled commuting routes — Interstate 25 and North Nevada Ave. — and near UCCS. Analysis by Olive Real Estate group indicates that nearly 500,000 people live within a 25-minute drive of the complex, including the more than 10,000 students currently attending UCCS, which is directly east across Nevada Avenue.

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