Say it ain’t so, Trader Joe’s! Ending deliveries

A new Trader Joe’s opened in Hudson Square, at Spring St. east of Sixth Ave., last May. File photo

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | Trader Joe’s will stop delivering to homes in Manhattan by March 1, the California-based supermarket chain announced earlier this week.

The company has been delivering to Manhattan residents for the last 10 years. Some older and mobility-impaired customers will be particularly impacted by the company’s decision.

“It’s difficult for me to even carry up four flights a half-gallon of milk,” Joan Reese, a senior who depends on deliveries from the E. 14th St. Trader Joe’s, said in an e-mail.

But, according to the national chain, the cost of offering delivery service threatened the future quality of store products, which was something the company was unwilling to compromise on.

Bobby Kendall, Trader Joe’s regional vice president, laid out the store’s thinking in an e-mail to a concerned local customer, who forwarded it to this newspaper.

“Unfortunately, we’ve arrived at a moment when we’re faced with the choice between offering the [delivery] service for an unreasonable price, raising the prices on our products or no longer offering the service,” he said.

So the company decided to sacrifice the convenience of some for the sake of the many.

The company’s eight Manhattan locations have been the only ones in New York City to offer delivery.

Renee Liebowitz, the captain of the new Trader Joe’s on Grand St. on the Lower East Side, cut the ribbon to open the store this past October. File photo

When Trader Joe’s first got a toehold in New York City, it only had one location in the city — on E. 14th St. between Third and Fourth Aves. — and options for transporting food were nothing like what they are today, the company said in a statement.

The store’s dropping delivery service comes at a time when online grocery sales are skyrocketing.

According to reporting by Business Insider, online grocery sales in the United States last year reached $24 billion and are expected to reach $60 billion in 2023.

Companies like Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Aldi and Whole Foods Market are spending billions on the online grocery market. Online grocery sales are expected to make up 20 percent of total grocery retail by 2025, according to a recent study by The Food Market Institute.

But despite the ongoing surge in online grocery shopping, 87 percent of people still prefer to do their shopping in stores.

Kenya Friend-Daniel, a Trader Joe’s spokesperson, said, “We recognize this decision may represent a challenge to customers who have been using the [delivery] service. We assure them we are always evaluating how we do things, with our customers being top of mind, and we will continue to consider options that support their shopping and also allow us to maintain our commitment of value.”

4 Responses to Say it ain’t so, Trader Joe’s! Ending deliveries

  1. Trader Joe's has a reputation and a niche in the retail food store industry. Delivery of the items–yes perishables are, well, perishable–but other items aren't. They do not offer parking lots for us to drive up to their stores, and home delivery is part-and-parcel of operations here in N.Y.C. As your story indicates, 87 percent still prefer shopping in stores. A large percentage of their customers may who require home delivery, and not exclusively the disabled. So much for the obvious boiler-plate. T.J.s is a large specialty store; id est, carrying almost exclusively their own brand products, and they have excellent hiring standards. The shop clerks are always helpful and courteous. And now, corporate insensitivity to the N.Y.C. and especially the Manhattan market. Their statement “We recognize this decision may represent a challenge to customers who have been using the [delivery] service. We assure them we are always evaluating how we do things, with our customers being top of mind, and we will continue to consider options that support their shopping and also allow us to maintain our commitment of value.” is just a corporate hack speaking. That's Trader Joe's?

  2. Former TJ shopper

    How do delivery costs impact Trader Joes ability to keeps prices down (?) since delivery is provided by independent contractors and NOT TJ! Perhaps someone should tell corporate this.

  3. Trader Joe’s shopping experience means waiting on a very long line (yes, it goes fast, I know) and this is a trade-off too. For the older crowd and handicapped, this is an issue too. Now without delivery a large portion of potential shoppers will be completely turned off.

  4. Saying hello from Astor Wines & Spirits in NoHo! Delivery in NYC is complicated and we know no one wants to carry home heavy stuff—so if you’re one of the many people looking for an alternative to getting wine shipped affordably, check out our website and to get free delivery on orders over $99 anywhere in the city. You can also use the promo code GIVEME5 to grab an extra $5 off.

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