Trader Joe’s talks with Little Rock date back to at least 2017

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Rumors continue to swirl about California-based grocer Trader Joe’s opening up a location in Little Rock.

Trader Joe’s confirmed on Tuesday that the company has been scouting locations in the Little Rock area, but no opening is official or certain.

Julie Dolven is an eye doctor in west Little Rock, and for the last couple of years, her vision has been set on getting the store to her neck of the woods.

“Huge fan,” Dolven says.

She tells us she has spent the last two years logging onto Trader Joe’s website and requesting a store to open up in the Little Rock area. She also is not opposed to traveling to visit her favorite store.

“So, I literally, maybe one or two times a year, will get a bunch of coolers, and I will drive to Tulsa,” says Dolven. 

Talks of Trader Joe’s in Little Rock date back to at least 2017, when then-mayor Mark Stodola confirmed a meeting with a local realtor to discuss the chain coming to town. In 2017 Stodola told us:

“We’ve had that meeting, and I’ve got the contacts, and will be reaching out to [Trader Joe’s].”

Back in 2017, we obtained an e-mail from Stodola’s inbox that was sent by a local realtor, planning a future discussion with Stodola about Trader Joe’s.

Stodola compared the process to recruiting Bass Pro Shops to Little Rock. He told us he “hustled” Bass Pro for four years before it opened up a location in Little Rock.

It’s clear that an appetite for the store exists, and no fans wait for good news.

“You know, I don’t want to get my hopes up and then not have Trader Joe’s here,” Dolven says.

We reached out to current Little Rock mayor, Frank Scott Jr.’s spokesperson, seeking comment about Trader Joe’s, but did not receive a response by press time on Wednesday.

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