Q: Who is organizing all of this?
A: This campaign is the collective, collaborative effort of a large group of Rainier Beach residents, some of whom are new to the neighborhood while others have been here for generations. The campaign leads are Dane & Alanna. Dane has a background in media and is a professional producer, performer, activist, and educator with extensive experience in marketing and promotion. Alanna has a background in psychology and development, with a focus on community relations and urban growth. Both residents of Rainier Beach, they are driven and passionate about improving the neighborhood for everyone.
Q. Don’t we have bigger problems in the neighborhood than needing a Trader Joe’s?
A: Of course we do. We don’t think anyone in our neighborhood is unaware of the many challenges we face. While none of these issues have simple solutions, there is something to be said for a group of people who share enthusiasm and a common goal, acting in deliberate and positive ways. We hope this campaign, which is something a huge number of us are passionate about, can be a catalyst for further community building opportunities to take on those other challenges.
Q. What about small businesses? Aren't small, locally-owned businesses better? Why not focus on those?
A: We LOVE small businesses. Many of us are already small business owners in Rainier Beach. Some of our most active participants in this campaign are already working with local organizations to encourage small businesses, even giving grants to help locally-owned businesses get started. We believe any strong economy needs locally-owned business to thrive. In fact, as local businesses thrive, it naturally attracts chain stores to the thriving economy, and that is where our campaign becomes especially important. We don't want just ANY chain stores to move in. You can't stop progress, but we hope to shape it by specifically inviting the kinds of businesses we want here in Rainier Beach.
Q: Why did you make a Video?
A: We wanted to "personally" invite Trader Joes to the neighborhood and that means telling them a little baout ourselves and showing them who we are. We wanted to show them that our diverse community was willing to come together to invite them here. Besides, store make comercials to invite us to thier stores, we thought a commercial to invite them to us would be appropriate.
Q: You have a Safeway and some small ethnic groceries, why can't you just shop there?
A: Most of us do shop at those places already, the problem is we don't find all the things we want there. We are fortunate to have some really amazing ethnic groceries in Rainier Beach and an amazing urban farming program. Even our largest chain store, a Safeway, has worked hard to offer some heathier options and things like more organic foods. But these stores alone do not carry all the items people here want to feed thier families. Given our population, we should have more grocers than we do, and residential construction here is exploding. A mid-sized grocer like Trader Joes, with it's healthy / sustainable food slant helps to fill a gap in healthy food accessability in Rainier Beach.
Q: Why don't people just drive to the Trader Joe's in West Seattle or Capitol Hill.
A: The nearest Trader Joes stores are 30 miuntes round trip by car from Rainier Beach. That may not seem like much to people who drive but many people in our neighbourhood have mobility issues, or rely on public transportation. It's simply not pratical to carry home weeks worth of groceries on a bus. Driving has other costs in fuel and pollution that should also be considered.
Q: You talk a lot about "Healthy Food". Doesn't Trader Joes carry junk food too?
A: Yes. In addition to fresh fruits and veggies and other "Health" food TJ's carries snack foods like candy, chips & cookies. But not all "Junk Food" is created equally. Some people care whether their favorite snacks are full of added sodium, sugar or fats, others worry about certain types of preservatives. Many want foods manufactured in sustatinable ways. There is a lot more to healthy eating than just avoiding sweets and Trader Joe's offers many healthier options even when it comes to our guilty pleasures like snack foods.