Interesting in 2008: Bruce Roter

bruce_roter.jpgOne of the best things about working on AOA this past year is that we've had the chance to meet a lot of interesting people. We'll be highlighting a handful of them between now and the start of 2009.

People in the Capital Region are passionate about their supermarkets. And maybe none more so than Bruce Roter.

Roter, a composer and professor at St. Rose, is the founder of We Want Trader Joe's in the Capital District, a sort of local fan club of the funky alternative supermarket chain. The group has organized events to sample TJ's products, field trips to one of the store's location in Central Massachusetts and publicity for their campaign.

But there seems to be more to this effort, too. Here's a clip from an interview with Roter over at CelinaBean this past year:

CB: I don't know if you are aware of this, but you sound so polished and political when you talk about this stuff. When I listen to you, until you bring up the Trader Joe's again, I think I'm doing an interview with somebody running for city council or something.

BR: It is interesting that you say that. I think there is a political dimension to this as well. This is a quality of life issue for this community. In many ways I do see Trader Joe's, not only as a grocery store, but as a symbol for the growth and improvement and diversity of this community. And there is no reason why anyone in this community shouldn't enjoy the things a store like Trader Joe's has to offer and shouldn't enjoy the price savings. I assure you this is not a yuppie cause that I am involved in. Their prices are far and away better than I've seen elsewhere. Everyone in this community should be able to benefit from that.

We ran into Bruce this past summer and got to talking about Trader Joe's and other stores the Capital Region doesn't currently have. The conversation eventually turned to Chipotle and we both agreed it'd be great to get one.

Then he said: "Maybe you should start a We Want Chipotle group..."

Items about Trader Joe's on AOA.

photo: CelinaBean


I could easily say that both establishments are absolutely essential for life (particularly Joe's). But instead, I'll say this: Even Grand Rapids, Michigan is getting a Chipotle.

Albany entrepreneurs, are you REALLY going to let yourselves be outdone by Grand Rapids?

Dear AOA,

Thanks for the recognition! It has been quite a year, as I've gone from being a fairly well respected professor and composer to being known around town as "that Trader Joe's guy!" The end of the year does offer a chance to reflect, and among the things I am grateful for are the thousands of good wishes I have received from all corners of the Capital Region (and beyond!) for heading this campaign. Indeed, while I started this effort simply because of my desire for the great products at reasonable prices that Trader Joe's offers, a large part of what motivates me now is my interest in serving those who have already shown me such gratitude.

I would be remiss if I didn't remind all that this is very much a grassroots effort. Without the support and participation of all those involved who have actively lobbied Trader Joe's and our local officials, created our website, designed our bumper stickers, lawn signs, and exclusive line of fashionable Trader Joe's apparel, and cooperatively wrote our Trader Joe's holiday greeting (which is now on YouTube), there would be no campaign. So, to all members of WWTJ.ORG you have my thanks!

And to AOA, again thanks for your interest (once we get a Trader Joe's, we can talk about a Chipotle support group)! "Interesting in 2008" isn't Bruce Roter. What's interesting is a campaign that has sparked the desires and imaginations of so many here in the Capital District who share the common belief that we can and ought to be more than we are right now.

Bruce Roter, President
We Want Trader Joe's in the Capital District

I am proud to be a member of Bruce's WWTJ group. He has been incredible with his ideas and willingness to work to get the word out of the need for a Trader Joe's in the Capital District. Our dog, Bocker, is a member too...because Trader Joe's also has some of his favorite things. It is a unique store. Think I'd go for a Costco group next or a Stew Leonard's!

"All Over Albany" a fantastic idea!

Thank you for placing Bruce Roter first. His great passion for bringing a Trader Joe's to our area takes second place to his great character as a human being. It's a pleasure to work on the "T.J" campaign with him.

I would like to publically thank Bruce for his hard work and dedication in raising awareness and interest in bringing Trader Joe’s to the area. Bruce is spot on that this is a quality of life issue. The Capital District is woefully underserved in the area of quality groceries at reasonable prices. Trader Joe’s may not be all things to all people, but they do provide innovative products at very competitive prices. Trader Joe’s entry into the Capital District market will be a win for them as well as a win for the residents. Here’s hoping that 2009 is the year that Trader Joe’s announces their move into the area.

i love trader joes, thank you bruce for working to bring one to albany.

however, chipotle? really? bombers burritos are a good $3 or $4 cheaper, much tastier, and locally based.

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The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

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