We Biters hesitate to flex our muscle in shaping the city's destiny. But when we see a chance, we take it—just like Steve Winwood, baby. So here goes. By now, it's common knowledge that the Wild Oats store in Green Hills, one of the chain's biggest performers before its merger with Whole Foods, will clear out in late October to make way for Whole Foods' grand opening down the street Nov. 1.
Reps for both Whole Foods and Wild Oats said that plans for the old Hillsboro Road space are up in the air when Wild Oats' lease runs out at the end of the year, although extensions are possible. A Wild Oats spokesperson said one likely scenario would involve subleasing the property to another tenant. Another tenant, eh? Empty grocery-store facility...prime retail location in one of the city's wealthiest sections...hmmm. Sounds like a golden opportunity for Trader Joe's.
Huh? Trader Joe's, based in Monrovia, Calif., was picked last year by Consumer Reports as the nation's second-best supermarket chain. It's a determinedly quirky outfit—a neighborhood grocery with a cargo-cultish vibe that specializes in offbeat imported and local foods, from gluten-free pancakes and cookies of many lands to fully cooked BBQ pork roast and cheddar cheese curds. The closest store is in Atlanta (figures), so a Green Hills location wouldn't be cannibalizing its other markets.
The chief drawbacks we foresee: worsening the already nightmarish Green Hills traffic, and the near-impossibility of a Nashville outpost carrying the store's famous "Two Buck Chuck" Charles Shaw wines, which retail at TJ's California locations for $1.99 a bottle. But if grocery chains are already circling the property—as the City Paper reported this morning—why not get a good one? Besides, if they can't swing it in Green Hills, there's always Brentwood.