With the news that Trader Joe’s has decided to bring its peculiar brand of grocery stores to Texas, I expect that the company will be hearing from Half Price Books about a possible spot to set up a first shop in these parts.
A few weeks back, I had occasion to be chatting with Sharon Anderson Wright, the CEO of the Dallas-based bookseller. We got to talking about all the land around its Northwest Highway corporate headquarters (and flagship store) that her company has come to control. They’ve owned the bookstore building, and a few adjacent acres, since moving there in 1999. When construction began on the massive Park Lane development several years ago, Wright decided that Half Price needed to buy more of the adjacent property if it wanted to have a say in how the neighborhood would develop around it.
They immediately moved to purchase their former store location, right across Shady Brook Lane, which has sat vacant since they left it more than a decade ago. Then last year they bought the spot that’s currently home to a Starbucks. All told, they’ve assembled 12 acres, about six on either side of Shady Brook at Northwest Highway.
And when I asked her what she plans to do with all that property?
“I’d love someone like Trader Joe’s, REI, some retailer that I think would be good for us. We have people calling us for businesses all the time that we don’t want in there. We just got one for a gas station/convenience store. I want to put something over there that’ll bring quality to the neighborhood,” she said. “Do you know anybody at Trader Joe’s?Â I need to call someone over there.”
She’d like to put them in the former Half Price building, which had been built as an import store, called Captain’s Cargo, that occupied it until the late 1980s. And that’s where the prospective location might hit a snag. That building has a large boat and a moat built into the middle of it. Wright’s husband, who manages the company’s buildings, thinks the entire place will have to be gutted, and the ship removed, before a new tenant moves in.
But Wright is rather attached to the “incredibly well-constructed galleon.” She doesn’t want to see it destroyed. Â So – those of you how know the Trader Joe’s chain better than I – can they work around a massive boat? Would it fit their carefully-cultivated vibe?