Fort Smith pushes for Trader Joe's grocery store to come to town. Will it?

Alex Gladden
Fort Smith Times Record
City officials and Fort Smith residents are fighting to bring Trader Joe's to the city. This Trader Joe's is on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, California.

City officials and Fort Smith residents are fighting to bring Trader Joe's to the city. 

Trader Joe's is a national grocery store chain that offers vegan and vegetarian options. The store was first established in 1967.

"At Trader Joe's, you won’t find a lot of branded items. Instead, you’ll discover a store full of unique and interesting products, along with everyday basics, in the Trader Joe's label," according to the website. 

The only Trader Joe's in Arkansas is in Little Rock. Little Rock and Tulsa are the closest Trader Joe's to Fort Smith. 

At a meeting April 23, Fort Smith City Administrator Carl Geffken announced he had been approached by several people who want to bring a Trader Joe's to Fort Smith, said Shari Cooper, the communications manager for the city.

Fort Smith Mayor George McGill had also been approached by a person asking about Trader Joe's. 

City officials began posting about the push to bring Trader Joe's to Fort Smith and got what Cooper called an "overwhelming" response. The officials were asking Fort Smith residents to fill out an online Trader Joe's form, requesting the store come to their city.

“Something starts as a conversation, and it turns into a city movement," Cooper said. 

McGill has since written a letter to the leadership at Trader Joe's requesting that the store moves to Fort Smith.

“We’ve got everything they need," McGill said about Trader Joe's. 

The mayor said the city has excellent locations for the chain to choose to put in a store. 

“I think the people in the River Valley are poised and ready to make them successful if they come," McGill said.

Having a Trader Joe's would increase the city's amenities and help draw in more people to the area. 

“So we know that if we're going to attract people we need to have amenities that people like," McGill said. 

Cooper said the people of Fort Smith want food options.

“So people are hungry in this town," Cooper said.