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Our Photo Contest is on! The rules are simple: two things must be in each photo: a Trader Joe’s product in the foreground and our Capital District in the background. Beyond that, be as creative as you want! Send me the photos and I’ll post on our Trader Joe’s blog. We’ll make a slide show and eventually vote on the winning photo! Now Johnny, what will the winner win (drum roll)…….a $20 Trader Joe’s gift card! And maybe there will be other prizes if others get into the act.

But start sending me your photos, because I think this is going to be fun, it’s going to be funny, and best of all, you can bet it’s going to get the attention of Trader Joe’s. So get those digital cameras out and what Trader Joe’s products you’ve been squirelling away, and start snapping! Good luck!

Posted by: Bruce | September 9, 2010



The Honorable Joseph Keegan, Mayor of Castleton-on-Hudson

Joanne Yepsen,  Saratoga Springs County Supervisor and New York State Senate Candidate for the 43rd District

Posted by: Bruce | June 28, 2010


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On Sunday we met for our “We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District” picnic at the beautiful Crossings at Colonie.  The picnic was a great success, wonderfully attended with folks contributing many delicious items from Trader Joe’s  (the Roasted Red Pepper & Artichoke Tapenade, the Spicy, Smoky, Peach Salsa, and Strawberry Lemonade were particular favorites!).  A special shout out goes to our member Betty who brought with her not only food, but an amazing display of Trader Joe’s products, once again demonstrating the wonderful items Trader Joe’s has to offer!   We were especially delighted to have on hand Joanne Yepsen, Saratoga Springs County Supervisor and New York State Senate Candidate for the 43rd District!  Joanne is a longtime supporter of our wwtj cause and has shown real interest in raising our quality of life in so many ways–including helping us get a Trader Joe’s!  With Joanne’s help, and with the help of our 4,000 other members/friends/neighbors,  we’re going to make a difference for our community by making Trader Joe’s in the Capital District a reality!   We can almost taste success!

Posted by: Bruce | June 22, 2010


It’s a great night for our “We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District” group when: 1: we gather around a sculpture that we’re sponsoring in downtown Albany, and 2: the mayor of Albany lends his support for a Trader Joe’s! Here are some photos taken last Friday night before and during the kick-off event for the Albany BID’s “Sculpture in the Streets” program.  Thanks again to Sara Stein for her leadership in putting this together!  

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For those interested, a walking tour map of all the sculptures is available at:

I can tell you that for this brochure, Sara gave me some difficult homework.  I had to sum up our group’s aspirations in 80 words or less.  Here is what I can up with:

“We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District”  is a grassroots organization of over 4,000 of our neighbors that uses fun, creative and pro-community strategies in its campaign to attract a Trader Joe’s grocery store to our area.  The sculpture we are pleased to sponsor reminds us to celebrate every day life and every day activities.  Likewise, our group is committed to bringing home Trader Joe’s’ wonderful, health-conscious products to enhance our community’s quality of life.  Visit us at

I did send copies of this brochure to all the Trader Joe’s execs. along with photos of “our” sculpture.”  Thanks to all who participated in this effort and let’s keep working to bring Trader Joe’s here.  Now lastly, here is the letter I just sent out to several Trader Joe’s executives:

Dan Bane, Chairman and CEO
Trader Joe’s Company
800 Shamrock Avenue
Monrovia, CA 91016

June 21, 2010

Dear Mr. Bane:
I am pleased to let you know that a sculpture we are sponsoring in honor of Trader Joe’s now stands in downtown Albany, New York.  This sculpture, appropriately that of a woman carrying groceries  (whom we have affectingly named  “Joe-sie“), is part of the Albany BID’s “Sculpture in the Streets” program.

Like the fund drive we conducted for our Regional Food Bank in honor of Trader Joe’s, we are proud to continue a campaign of service to our community as a means of gaining the attention of your company and a store of our own.

The optimistic spirit of New York’s Capital District residents is on display in many ways, and is clearly represented by the 4,000+ members of our organization.   We have a wonderful community, ranked #9 by Forbes in its most recent list of “Best Places to Raise a Family.”

We look forward to the day when our community’s quality of life will be further enhanced by the presence of a Trader Joe’s grocery.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Bruce C. Roter, Ph.D.
President, We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District

Enclosures (2)

Posted by: Bruce | May 7, 2010

Showing our Enthusiasm for Trader Joe’s!

Trader Joe’s knows about us, here in New York’s Capital District!  In fact,  getting a Trader Joe’s no longer seems to be a question of “if,” but “when.”  We don’t need to send the company more demographic info (we’ve done a great job of that already).  But to hasten Trader Joe’s arrival to our community, we need to keep demonstrating our enthusiasm!   Here is a photo–our “rallying cry” YUM!–to print out and send to our friends at Trader Joe’s.  Of course you may write your own personal message on it!

To print image: just right click on image and “save image” to your computer.  Then you can print it out (3 tips when printing: Tip #1. You may need to uncheck the “fit picture to frame” box;  Tip #2. You can make them 3X5 size and print them out on one sheet; and Tip #3, Ignore tips 1 and 2 and do it any way that works for you!).

TJ fund drive

Fans of Trader Joe's presenting Mark Quandt and Tracey Martin with a check following last year's Trader Joe's/Regional Food Bank Fund Drive.

Albany, NY — Local fans of Trader Joe’s, the highly coveted gourmet grocery chain, will be serving up generosity this Thanksgiving as the local advocacy group, We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District (, launches its 3rd Annual Trader Joe’s/Regional Food Bank Fund Drive. Bruce Roter, a professor at The College of Saint Rose who heads the group, is calling on his members and the public to donate to the Regional Food Bank of Northeast New York and designate Trader Joe’s as the honoree of those donations. In turn, for each donation received, the Regional Food Bank will send out a letter of acknowledgement to executives at Trader Joe’s. “It’s definately a win-win situation, explains Roter. The Regional Food Bank gets much needed support, and our group is able to demonstrate to the Trader Joe’s Company that we are the progressive, generous community that they ought to be a part of.”

To date, the orgnazation has raised over $3,500 for the Regional Food Bank in cash and food donations. The initiative even drew the attention of the Trader Joe’s Company, which donated food to the Regional Food Bank during the previous drive. “I’m hoping for a repeat,” say Roer. “They’re a great company. Great food and their products are always reasonably priced. Something we can all relate to, this time of year.”

HOW CAN I HELP?   Your support can help us translate thousands of well-needed contributions to the Regional Food Bank into thousands of letters to Trader Joe’s! At the end of the drive, we will present the RFB with a large poster-sized check representing the grand-total of our effort! I know all donations will be graciously received and will be used to feed the hungry in our region this holiday season.   Participation is simple!  Just fill out the form below and submit it with your donation to the Regional Food bank.

Here’s the form (please also forward to friends, coworkers, and all others who might be interested!):

please cut and send with your donation, PLEASE SEND IN YOUR DONATION BY FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20th ————————————————————————————————————————–

Send to:
Linda Laurien (ATTN: Trader Joe’s)
Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York
965 Albany Shaker Road
Latham, NY 12110



Please Print
City________________ ZIP____________________

I was in a local supermarket yesterday doing a quick shop and I had my trusted Trader Joe’s bag with me. The question is, how do I carry it? Do I place it on my wrist and let it dangle, enticing the glances, stares, and (hopefully) envy of fellow shoppers? Or do I hide the bag, folding it up in my cart so as not to offend the “establishment?” Well, as for me, I boldly display the bag, calling out to the world, “here it is, and here is what we want!” I have had shoppers come up to me and ask me where the nearest Trader Joe’s is. I wind up telling them about our campaign and invite them aboard! One thing I’ve learned is that a gleaming red and white (or the newer blue Hawaiian style) Trader Joe’s bag can be a great ice-breaker (hint to shy people: bring one to a party filled with your favorite vino).

So how do YOU carry your Trader Joe’s bags while shopping locally?

Posted by: Bruce | October 14, 2009



Yesterday I attended the groundbreaking for The Fresh Market as it makes its entrance into New York State. It’s first store will be located at a beautifully redeveloped corner of Routes 9 and 155 in Latham/Colonie. I was delighted to attend (and equally delighted to receive a bag of their goodies on the way out). I unabashedly told the Fresh Market representatives that I represent a local grassroots organization of  3,500 who are campaigning for Trader Joe’s to come here. I also explained that we believe that the entrance of The Fresh Market is definately a step in the right direction and offered the Fresh Market representatives the opportunity to deliver their message to you. So here it is: “The Fresh Market (which will open in about a year) prides itself on quality products and we invite you to see many of our products at our website ( . We are a smaller, family-owned store with an old-fashioned feel and a commitment to customer service.”

I can tell you that the reps were very nice, very genuine and I look forward to trying their store (by the way, I asked if they also wear Hawaiian shirts, FYI, NO!). I also explained to the reps that we are a diverse region craving diverse shopping experiences and good quality products and I’m sure The Fresh Market will thrive side-by-side with Trader Joe’s’ eventual entry into our region. Of course, price is an important factor for us also.  So, one of the questions to be answered is “will the items at The Fresh Market be as reasonably priced as we find them to be at Trader Joe’s?” 

Bottom line, we’re a tenacious group. We welcome The Fresh Market to our community, AND we still Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District! Are we going to use the Fresh Market’s entance into our area to leverage Trader Joe’s interest here?  What do you think?

Now, if you’re interested, here is the “official” statement I handed out at the event:



“Because We Deserve Better!”

Bruce C. Roter, President,

October 13, 2009

WWTJ Welcomes The Fresh Market to the Capital District

The 3,500 members of the local grassroots organization We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District welcomes The Fresh Market to our community. Their expansion here is a step in the right direction and today’s groundbreaking not only develops this corner, but creates a more diverse landscape for retail food shopping in our community. This occasion sends a clear signal that when it comes to new and improved grocery stores, New York’s State’s Capital District is open for business!

We understand the quality of products The Fresh Market to be excellent, and we look forward to shopping at The Fresh Market and sampling their delicious foods. The motto of our organization is “because we deserve better.” This relates to a greater diversity of food shopping experiences in the Capital District, better quality products, and lower prices. To the extent that The Fresh Market can contribute to these goals, they are most welcome here!

Bruce Roter, President
We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District

Posted by: Bruce | September 16, 2009


Ok, so maybe you wish they lead to Latham or Saratoga Springs. For now, let’s all be Albanians and send this map to the execs. at Trader Joe’s! To send, just right click on the map and save image to your computer, then print out three copies (plain paper is fine), and send them to:
Dan Bane, Chairman and CEO, Trader Joe’s, 800 Shamrock Avenue, Monrovia, CA 91016; Brandt Sharrock, Vice President for Real Estate, Trader Joe’s Company, 117 Kendrick Street, Suite 700, Needham, MA 02494; and Audrey O’Connell, Vice President of Marketing,Trader Joe’s Company, 117 Kendrick Street, Suite 700, Needham, MA 02494


Posted by: Bruce | August 29, 2009


 tjsvspc2Many believe we save money when shopping at Trader Joe’s.  So what is the difference in price?  We shopped at Trader Joe’s last Monday and, using our itemized receipt, I went to see what it would take to purchase the same items (or close to the same items) at our local Price Chopper.  A couple things to keep in mind: 1. where the size of the Price Chopper product was not the same size as that purchased at Trader Joe’s,  the Price Chopper price was adjusted so that, ounce for ounce, it would be equivalent to what was purchased at Trader Joe’s; 2. there are two columns of prices for Price Chopper, their regular price and the sale price for those items on August 28th, 2009 (provided the customer had a Price Chopper card).  3. I did not take the Trader Joe’s item’s prices with me when I went to find comparable items at Price Chopper. Lastly, it should be mentioned that this does not reflect a “normal” shopping list since no perishables (including frozen or prepared foods) were purchased.  The obvious reason is that we didn’t bring a cooler with us as so many seem to do when they shop at Trader Joe’s.

Conclusions:  On some items, PC fared better than Trader Joe’s (Trader Joe’s coffee at $7.99 vs. Price Chopper’s Central Market at $4.32; or Trader Joe’s Maple Syrup at $17.99 vs. PC’s maple Syrup at $16.99).  But in general, Trader Joe’s prices were better, to a total savings of $35.50 if products were compared at regular price or $26.53 if products were compared to Price Chopper’s sale offerings on that day.  Price Chopper especially lags behind in the prices of breakfast cereals (Barbara’s Puffins ounce for ounce at Trader Joe’s $3.49 vs. $7.48 at Price Chopper). 

Obviously, this comparison only takes prices into account and not product “quality,”  which is subjective.  This little “study” also doesn’t take into account other intangeables, such as “shopping experience.”  At some future point it would be interesting to include the Capital District’s other supermarket chain, Hannaford, in this comparison as well.

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