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Are Whole Foods, Wegman's or Trader Joe's Coming to Toms River?

Companies confirm no plans to come to township

The opening of a new ShopRite in the Dover Mall's renovation has raised many questions on Patch and in the community about hopes for new chains to open stores in the area.

But don't hold your breath. Wishes for Whole Foods, Wegman's and Trader Joe's will not be granted, officials from the respective companies said.

Whole Foods nearest location is 36 miles away on highway 35 in Middletown Township, but the company doesn't plan on coming closer to Toms River any time soon.

"We don’t have any firm plans to open a store near the Jersey Shore at this time but we are always seeking new locations," company spokeswoman, Ivy Goldberg, wrote in an email.

 Trader Joe's just opened a new location 30 miles away in Shrewsbury, but don't expect them to come to Toms River in the near future. In an email, their customer relations department wrote, "We do certainly have plans to expand in the future, however it just tends to take us a bit longer than some other larger chain stores.  We do not currently have plans for a new store in the Toms River area within our current two year plan."

The nearest Wegmans is a 35-minute ride to Monmouth County's, Ocean Township.

The company says that they've had requests for a store in the area before. "We do hear occasionally from folks who live there and would like us to build a store in Tom’s River.  At the moment, we have no plans to do so, but we know that it is a lovely place," the company's director of media relations, Jo Natale, wrote in an email.

It's not surprising that these chains do not have plans to open stores in Toms River, according to Matt Casey of Matthew P. Casey & Associates, who studies the local market, offering advice to retailers in the pharmacy and supermarket industries.

He wonders if the senior citizen population plays a role in the companies' decisions. "These chains operate big stores. For example, a new Wegman's is almost double the size of a ShopRite at 123,000 square feet. They just don't want to walk around a store that size, and the prices of these chains — like Trader Joe's — doesn't work well with their fixed incomes," he said.

Another reason that the chains aren't open in Toms River could be lack of open space, he said. "There are only a few strong retail corridors in town. You have Route 37, Fischer Blvd., Hooper Avenue, and Route 9. Good luck finding a 10-acre space that one of these stores would require in those areas," Casey said.

Martin April 03, 2011 at 12:50 PM
Let's see how quick additional buildings go up on the old mall site, and how fast decent businesses lease space. I'll bet the only neighbor for ShopRite and the liquor store for a while will be just another pizzeria -- or maybe some stores will move from older malls, leaving vacant storefronts behind. On the Township website, the mayor touts TR as "an attractive place to visit" (oh, really?) and Rt. 37 as "our main commercial corridor." Yeah, for gas stations on the way to Seaside! Rt. 37 is starting to remind me of locking car doors as I drive through slums around the Camden aquarium or the AC casinos. Fischer Blvd. and Rts. 166 & 9 are a little frayed and shabby in places. With the township's colossal lack of property-maintenance enforcement, are these areas NEXT to become so "attractive" in the mayor's eyes? No wonder nothing has been done for years. No vision!
Denise April 03, 2011 at 08:36 PM
So exactly what stores are slated to be in the new Dover Mall? This whole area needs updating. Who said older people won't walk around a Wegmans because it's to big? That was a dumb answer.They do just fine walking around Costco and BJ's and manage to walk around a big Atlantic City casino just fine. They think there is no money here and maybe they think that because all the towns look so run down. Also how about some clean up for all the filth and litter on all the roads. Have you driven through Lakewood? The litter is a horrid and it is never cleaned up. These towns should be ashamed of themselves. I pay very high taxes I would like to live in a clean updated neighborhood with the ablility to shop in modern stores.
Lorraine May 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM
I do MOST of our grocery shopping in Whole Foods and Trader Joe's so this is not good news! I used to shop at both stores in Edgewater NJ, but we moved to Toms River 4 months ago and now we have to travel and hour each way to Princeton so that I have a WF and TJ close by each other, as we had in Edgewater. The Shrewsbury and Middle Town stores are not good for us because there is a longer distance between the two. Besides, Princeton is a much nicer drive from Toms River. It's annoying because I have to bring coolers and then buy bags of ice after I shop for the long trip home. I buy grass fed meats and grass fed dairy as well as natural cold cuts , cheeses and eggs, so it's not wise to drive home an hour in the warmer weather without having those foods on ice. Those stores are just what this area needs!
Frank Vitolo May 16, 2011 at 11:50 AM
Perfect space would be the old Foodtown on Fischer Blvd. Also, what about North Dover and some areas of East Dover. Im pretty sure that demographic would shop at these higher-end stores, but even besided that, I know many other people who travel 30-40 miles to go to one of these places. However, we should support local stores and local farmer markets. You can get some GREAT food from these places. June 8 starts the farmer's market in downtown Toms River. I get great food for great prices at the market.
Joanne May 16, 2011 at 12:42 PM
Lorraine I totally agree with you I also shopped for many years at Whole Foods and Trader Joes in Princeton and when I go back to visit my daughter in that area I do the same thing with the cooler. I had wrote previously about this. Yes it nice to support local farmers but Whole Foods has homemade pastas, sauces, etc. from local businesses in New Jersey. Excellent! We need that in Toms River.

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