Trader Joe’s grocery chain has canceled plans to open in a predominantly black Portland community after it was denied by its leaders because of the concern of gentrification. The Oregon community’s fear was that the grocery store opening could attract a wealthier population into the community that could create displacement and inequality.
“We run neighborhood stores, and our approach is simple. If a neighborhood does not want a Trader Joe’s, we understand, and we won’t open the store in question,” Trader Joe’s responded in an official statement. The company reportedly told The Oregonian that it will not try to press the controversial issue, and the grocery chain will simply walk away from all aspects of the development.
Community activists proclaimed that Trader Joe’s high prices were too expensive and not affordable for black families. Activists argued that income equality and displacement would become prevalent around the community. After the strong opposition of opening a Trader Joe’s in the predominately black Portland community, the grocery chain ultimately decided to pull out of all plans for the development with the activists denying the development.
The price of the intended property where Trader Joe’s would have been located was to be heavily discounted from $2.9 million down to $500,000 by the Portland Development Commission. Trader Joe’s was intended to be the primary offering of a two-building development that would feature anywhere from four to 10 retail stores accompanied by a 100-space parking lot. However, African-American activists strongly opposed the development.