Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Trader Joe's: Colorado would be more colorful if the store would join IKEA -- but will it?

Colorado has incredible beauty, a colorful governor, and smart residents (and readers) who would prefer that tourists (especially Texans) stay home and wonder "Why do you need to spend money to advertise something that is timeless?" And although it doesn't have an ocean, it will soon have an IKEA, down in Centennial. But there's one other man-made wonder we're missing: Trader Joe's.

It's not for a lack of interest; several Facebook fan pages urge Trader Joe's to open a store in this state. And just this morning, I found yet another e-mail lament from a new resident of this state who loves everything about Colorado -- except the lack of a Trader Joe's.

Over the years, we've made many attempts to get a definitive answer as to why Colorado does not have a single outpost of this specialty grocery store, with its legendary Two Buck (now Three Buck) Chuck wine and Mandarin Orange Chicken. The company has not gotten back to us with an explanation for the snub but we've heard that: Colorado is too far removed from its distribution warehouses for stocking (but New Mexico has Trader Joe's) and/or this state's liquor laws, which do not allows sales of full-strength beer and wine in grocery stores, are too Draconian. Then again, other states with stricter liquor laws have Trader Joe's, including Maryland, where that new resident had stopped off at a Trader Joe's to pick up some things she couldn't buy in her new home.

Why no Colorado Joe's? Have a theory? Post it below.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Illegal immigration debate at the Capitol could be a real education for John Hickenlooper."

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun