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Merchants give Trader Joe's thumbs-down for avoiding downtown L.A.

Bars and Clubs

Trader Joe’s may be the favorite store of many Southern Californians, but it has earned the ire of some prominent downtown Los Angeles boosters who are royally miffed at the popular grocery chain.

Summoning all the indignation one can gather while feasting on scrambled eggs and Danish pastry, members of the Downtown Breakfast Club on Thursday heaped scorn on Trader Joe’s for its inexplicable absence from the neighborhood.

“It’s rather baffling,” the club for real estate professionals said in a statement at its annual Roses and Lemon Awards program. “Ralph’s is here, Smart & Final is here, Wal-Mart is here, the Grand Central Market is here -- but not TJ’s.”

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Promoters of downtown such as the Central City Assn. have been pleading with Trader Joe’s for years to no avail and the spurned supplicants’ patience finally ran out, at least for one day. Trader Joe’s got the club’s 2014 lemon -- which would be a raspberry if it made a sound.

The Monrovia chain known for its low-cost gourmet items does not publicly discuss its expansion plans, but the long wait for a downtown L.A. branch may be nearing an end.

Real estate brokers who asked not to be identified to avoid irking Trader Joe’s said the grocery chain has dropped its long-standing resistance to downtown L.A. and is in discussions to find a suitable site there.

The Breakfast Club’s felicitous roses were awarded to numerous worthies. Among them were the Urban Radish, a gourmet grocery store in the Arts District.

“Besides its inviting ambience and wonderful grocery options, we like that they have included an on-site electric car-charging station,” the club said.

Terroni restaurant on Spring Street and wine bar the Must on Winston Street also received roses from the club.

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roger.vincent@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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