HOLLAND – For Brenda VanderWege, Trader Joe’s is worth the detour. But she wouldn’t mind shopping a little closer to home.
“I’ve been going to the Kentwood site since they opened,” VanderWege told The Sentinel. “Having to drive from Holland means it ends up being a one day effort because if you’re going to make the trip you might as well do other things there. But even if it’s the only thing I do, that’s close to a four-hour delay.”
There’s also weather, construction and traffic to consider, but VanderWege continues to visit the store every four to eight weeks. And at the end of 2020, she had an idea.
“I started talking to the employees — many of them extremely helpful — and they spoke to me at length about how their store was created,” VanderWege said. “And one of the things that really helped was getting a bunch of people together and submitting whereabouts requests.”
And so she thought, why not?
“I thought I might as well start a Facebook group,” she said. “I came up with the name, of course without realizing there were several other bands with the same concept but a different city, and it grew quite quickly. I had no idea what I was expecting , but it jumped into the hundreds and then the thousands.”
Facebook fanpage: Take Trader Joe’s to Holland
The group attracted so much attention that it was covered by WZZM in January. Now the total has exceeded 4,000 likes.
“A friend of mine reached out to me and she’s helping me watch the band now, which is working really well,” VanderWege said.
VanderWege, who has celiac disease, said she shopped at Trader Joe’s so often because the store “is great for people with sensitivities and allergies.”
“They have basics, but they’re known for unique things,” she said. “They have some really cool products at really great prices. That, combined with their focus on gluten-free and other allergies and sensitivities, keeps people coming to Kentwood on a regular basis to shop.”
Each week, supporters of the band are invited to submit a locate request via the Trader Joe’s website at traderjoes.com/home/contact-us/request-a-store.
VanderWege has no idea how many requests the company has received in total, and Trader Joe’s did not respond to a request for comment from The Sentinel – however, the company issued the following statement to WZZM:
“Unfortunately, we don’t give interviews or commentary on business practices (apart from what you see on our website, Instagram, podcast, etc.). [We] can share, however, that in general we plan to continue to grow and open up in new quarters. Thank you for your understanding.”
According to VanderWege, it sometimes takes five years or more from the time customers start submitting location requests to secure a store.
“In other places it was faster,” she said. “It depends. Right now Holland is really growing and so is Trader Joe’s. We continue to watch The Shops at Westshore in Holland Township because there’s so much growth going on there and so many things. be?”
This article originally appeared on The Holland Sentinel: Bring Trader Joe’s to Holland page tops 4,000 likes