MUSKEGON, MICH. - The Grand Rapids area already has a Trader Joe's, and there's an on-going effort to get a store in Muskegon too.
"Bring Trader Joe's to Muskegon" petitions are showing up around the city. Some are at city hall, others at locally owned businesses in Muskegon.
"I have pages and pages," said Connie Nesbary. She's talking about pages of signatures from Muskegon area residents who want the grocery retailer based in California to know they want a store in their community.
Nesbary and Lisa Jirikovic started collecting signatures this spring. They believe they have more than 2,000. Both women drive to the Trader Joe's in Kentwood once a month.
"The staff in Grand Rapids said get the votes, get the petition signed, so I said 'I am on it,'" Nesbary told us.
Both women say Muskegon has so much going for it and it's time for Trader Joe's to find a location on the lakeshore.
Trader Joe's stores are known for hard to find and unique grocery items.
"I do not have to read labels," said Jirikovic. "I do not have to worry about artificial flavors, artificial coloring, artificial anything,"
Muskegon city leaders applaud the effort to attract a major retailer to town.
"I think it would be huge for downtown," said Mike Franzak, Muskegon Planning Manager. "It would be the anchor type of store that we are looking for."
The city does not expect Trader Joe's will be calling, but if they do, the city will be ready.
"We would put together a package for them that shows available properties," said Franzak. "And also a development package which would include different incentives we could get to attract them here."
First Nesbary and Jirikovic need a few thousand more signatures to get Trader Joe's attention.
"I'm tired of driving to Grand Rapids," said Jirikovic. "It is an hour away."
More information is available on the Muskegon Trader Joe's Facebook page.
Area residents who would like a Trader Joe's in the Muskegon area can also contact the company directly online. Newbary and Jirikovic ask anyone who goes to the Trader Joe's website to enter "Muskegon" as the location being requested.
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