TRADER JOE’S: THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Obviously, the news that Trader Joe’s is exploring a Loudoun County location got a big reaction this week. Many people were excited while others pointed out that rumors like this have circulated for years with no results. The Burn wanted to share a little more information to help put the story into perspective.

  • At this point, it’s not really rumor that Trader Joe’s is looking at Loudoun. Unless two different reliable people connected to commercial real estate and shopping centers in Loudoun are both making this up out of whole cloth, TJ’s is definitely exploring the area.
  • The Burn first got a hint that something was afoot with Trader Joe’s more than month ago. We kept asking around and about two weeks ago, one source casually mentioned the company was indeed looking here. Nevertheless, The Burn held off reporting anything, wanting some corroboration.
  • On Tuesday, we spoke with a second very reliable source who confirmed that Trader Joe’s is absolutely in discussions with area shopping centers.
  • Now, just because TJ’s is looking in the area doesn’t definitively mean they will open here anytime soon. As many Ashburn residents know, it was just a year ago that Publix Supermarkets was closing in on a deal in Loudoun County when the company changed direction and decided to focus expansion on southern Virginia. (Sob!)
  • In commercial real estate, no deal is official until leases are signed and any number of factors could halt the process, but the sources we spoke with seemed to feel that TJ’s was going to happen.

Separately, it was three weeks ago that The Burn broke the news that an Aldi grocery store would be opening in Ashburn. We thought you all might be interested in the unusual relationship between Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Here’s what we’ve gathered from some online research.

  • Apparently, the Aldi supermarket chain was started by the Albrecht brothers in Germany back in 1946.
  • Aldi reportedly stands for the first letters of ALbrecht DIscount.
  • In the 1960s, the two brothers had a disagreement over selling cigarettes in the stores and they split the company in two, each taking separate, distinct territories.
  • One brother renamed his company Aldi Nord (Aldi North) and the other renamed his company Aldi Süd (Aldi South). But both companies continued to operate under the regular Aldi name.
  • Over the years, each company expanded around Germany and into countries across Europe and elsewhere.
  • Aldi Süd brought the Aldi concept to the United States in the mid-1970s and has expanded to more than 30 states. Since Aldi Süd already controlled the brand name Aldi in the United States, Aldi Nord came into the U.S. by buying the regional Trader Joe’s chain. It has operated TJ’s since 1979.

And that’s how things remain today. From what we’ve read, the Albrecht family is reportedly one of the richest families in Germany and their trials and tribulations are hotly watched by the entire country. Think of it like the Walton family (Walmart) but with the interest level of the Kardashians.

Images: Flickr