The rumors are true — Trader Joe’s is coming to the East Side.
After years of speculation about the grocery store opening a Providence location, the chain confirmed that a new storefront will open at 425 South Main St. in Fox Point.
The location, just over a block from Wickenden Street, is part of a development led by the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, a group created to build on land previously occupied by Interstate 195. Cara Cromwell, a spokesperson for the commission, told The Herald Saturday morning that the store will be housed in the Parcel 6 development.
Nakia Rohde, a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s, declined to share a timeline or opening date for the location with The Herald, but Ward 1 Councilman John Goncalves ’13 MA’15 recently hinted at when the store may open.
“Excited about the new Ward 1 grocery store additions of (Trader Joe’s) expected in Fox Point this October and (Rory’s Market) expected in downtown in September,” Goncalves tweeted. “Both will offer the city healthy, organic options and be an important mainstay for the vibrancy of the community.”
Rory’s Market is another new grocery store which will open in downtown Providence this fall.
For Cecile Schreidah ’24, the new Trader Joe’s will make grocery shopping a breeze.
“I’m so excited about it opening,” Schreidah wrote in a message to The Herald. “Since I’m living on south campus, it’ll be super close to me and an absolute lifesaver for when I want to get groceries without going out of my way.”
Schreidah said she “definitely” plans on shopping at the new Trader Joe’s. The grocery chain is a favorite among young people for its eclectic snacks and meals, relatively inexpensive items and organic options.
The store will be “a new, affordable option for groceries and meals,” Schreidah added. “It’s close to campus, convenient and reliable.”
Christopher Vanderpool ’24 agreed that the shop will be important to making fresh food more accessible to students and residents alike.
“It's really accessible by the walking bridge from downtown Providence,” he said. “I think it's going to be well received.”
Jesse Hogan ’24 said the chain’s affordable prices and location will make it particularly convenient for students who do not have cars.
“The location of this new store — being so close to campus, the pedestrian bridge and Wickenden Street — in combination with prices really sells it for me,” Hogan wrote in a message to The Herald.
Hogan added that he had concerns about the store’s association with higher rents. He noted that although specific retailers or shops do not necessarily cause gentrification, he sees Trader Joe’s as a symbol of neighborhood turnover.
“College Hill already has a long history of gentrification, and the store’s reputation definitely falls in line with that same narrative,” he wrote.
Hogan wrote that he was concerned about pedestrian safety in the area given traffic from the nearby entrance ramp to the highway, particularly with the new bike lane on South Water Street, which turned the street into a one-way road.
Despite Hogan’s concerns, he expressed enthusiasm for the new shop.
“For me it wasn’t even necessarily about the name brand,” he wrote. “I think a lot of that excitement just stemmed from the fact that there are not many grocery stores in close walking distance from campus.”
Katy Pickens is the managing editor of newsroom and vice president of The Brown Daily Herald's 133rd Editorial Board. She previously served as a Metro section editor covering College Hill, Fox Point and the Jewelry District, housing & campus footprint and activism, all while maintaining a passion for knitting tiny hats.