Before we get a Wegmans or a Trader Joe's

in-n-out burger fries

A faraway object of Chuck's desire.

By Chuck Miller

soapbox badgeAll you have to do around here is mention the words "Wegman's" or "Trader Joe's" in the Capital District, and people go nuts. They want a Wegmans in this area so badly, you would think Wegmans offered six-packs of divine ambrosia on every aisle. And then they decry the "gentleman's agreement" that either exists or doesn't exist between Wegmans and Price Chopper -- the agreement (or non-agreement) that keeps the grocery store chain out of the Capital District. And of course, after that they want a Trader Joe's in the area.

Oh, why can't we get a Trader Joe's? Whaaa, I want a Trader Joe's! If I don't get a Trader Joe's in the Capital District, I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue!!

Okay. Everybody sit down.

Sitting down? Good.

Are you aware that the Capital District is missing a bevy of other department stores, convenience stores and supermarkets? Places that have been in existence for decades, and are part of the scenery in nearly every city in the United States - except for in our fair locale.

So before we get a Wegmans or a Trader Joe's in this area... dang it, I want the following.

WHITE CASTLE
You want to pay $3.99 for three little "sliders" at your local themed restaurant? Phooey. You don't know what a "slider" is until you buy a sack of 'em at a White Castle. Oh my Lord those little beef cookies are tasty tasty tasty.

7-ELEVEN
Yeah, we have Stewart's and the various mini-market gas stations, but have you ever experienced shopping at a 7-Eleven? Getting yourself a Big Gulp? Do you realize that every major city in America has a 7-Eleven - except Albany?

TIM HORTON'S
A Tim Horton's on the UAlbany campus doesn't count. If you haven't experienced a succulent sour cream donut from a true Tim Horton's restaurant, your life is not complete.

WAFFLE HOUSE
Yes, I want the jukebox. I want the coffee. I want the grille that hasn't been cleaned in ten years. I want a Waffle House in the Capital District!

CABELA'S
This chain of outdoor hunting and fishing stores is amazing. I visited one in Hamburg, Pa. years ago, and I still can't believe the tremendous selection of outdoor gear this place has. With all the hunting and fishing in the Adirondacks, a Cabela's on a Northway exit would be like printing money. I kid you not.

SONIC
Yes, I want those drive-in restaurants, just like the ones they have in the South. And if we can't get a Sonic, can we at least rustle up an A&W?

COSTCO
We have the BJ's Wholesale Club and the Sam's Club, are you telling me we can't at least add another discount club store to our growing region?

NORDSTROM
I've heard that the customer service department at a Nordstrom store is dedicated almost to the point of fanaticism in terms of finding what you're looking for. Come on, Nordstrom, there's plenty of space in the Latham Circle Mall, come down and move in!

STEW LEONARD'S
It's an excellent dairy store - and wait until you walk in and see the singing cows. Yes, the store has cows that sing. I kid you not.

IN-N-OUT BURGER
You have not lived until you've tried a double-double, Animal style. Or maybe a 4x4. These burger joints are popular in the Western United States; I'm sure they would be just as popular throughout the 518.

So before Wegmans or Trader Joe's come to this area... how about seeing if any of these other companies want to set up shop in our fair metropolis?

What do you think we're missing?


Chuck Miller
loves In-N-Out burgers almost as much trivia.

Comments

Yeah, and there's way too many family owned supermarkets and coops in the capital region. Trader Joe's would take care of that in a heartbeat...

"They want a Wegman's in this area so badly, you would think Wegman's offered six-packs of divine ambrosia on every aisle."

[They do. For free!]

Having lived in both Wegman's and Wegman's-free areas, there is simply no comparison: Wegman's is hands-down the best food shopping experience going in the Northeast.

Tim Horton's and In-and-Out would be nice as well.

Maybe this says something about me, my upbringing, or just my personality, but the only thing from this list that really piques my interest is cabelas.

Yes, I grew up in the mountains. Yes, my most recent "camping" experiences have been the type where the hardship is a) a separate place for bathrooms and showers, and b) it might be cold, but it's november or october... those are cold months! :)

So, yes... it would be a license to print money. Yes, I wouldn't mind one. Would I shop there often? I doubt it...

I would like a Cheeburger, Cheeburger restaurant as well as an O'Charley's. I know we'll probably never get the latter since the parent company owns the 99 Restaurant but I one can dream. Until then I'll just have to keep visiting my family in Alabama to enjoy these places.

Also, I was in a Trader Joe's in New Jersey a few weeks back and it's not all that. Same product that is available in Hannaford Nature's Place section and other organic markets just with Joe's name on it.

There is a Tim Horton's in Perth that's part of a gas station so maybe they'll be here soon but that said Amsterdam should get a Panera... but I digress.

Chains, every one. I don't know why people pine for national or multinational corporations to come into our area and siphon our money away.

in addition to the above, anthropologie would be nice.

The former L-Kens site on Central Ave would make the perfect spot for a Sonic.

I don't know if these count, but there's an A&W in Glens Falls (co-branded with KFC) and a seasonal A&W in Lake George.

I don't understand why Sonic is still in business. The "food" is atrocious. I suppose for the same reason Taco Bell exists.

Also, when I'm in a non-Stewarts area, I pine for Stewarts. Stick with local.

Trader Joe's And Why We Persist

I congratulate the communities that were recently in the news because they will be getting their first Trader Joe's grocery stores. As for our quest for a Trader Joe's for the Capital District, we persist in our campaign because Trader Joe's has products that are better in quality, more health conscious, and at lower prices than we currently have in the Capital District. Too many of our residents are spending too much on gas traveling to the nearest Trader Joe's when they ought to be able to shop at one here. Given the tremendous strides our community has made in luring important high-tech industries to our region, we have earned a standard of living that is commensurate with our status as a regional and national player. Further, we deserve a standard of living that will attract and continue to keep the best and brightest in our community. Fresh Market was a step in the right direction in putting a dent in the duo-poly that currently exists. But Trader Joe's remains this region's top prize. Once it is here, it will not only serve our grocery needs, but it will be a magnet for other high quality retailers as well. Sign our petition for a Trader Joe's at: http://www.petitiononline.com/WWTJ/petition.html

Bruce Roter, President
We Want Trader Joe's in the Capital District
www.wwtj.org

Geez- everyone acts like a kid before Christmas who wants everything they see on TV. They've got Tim Hortons in Syracuse, and believe me it still isn't any closer to Heaven. As to 7-Eleven I'd do my best to keep one of them as far as possible from here.

Chik-Fil-A!

I would love a tart frozen yogurt place like you see all over NYC and DC such as Pinkberry, Sweetgreens, Red Mango, or 16 Handles. I've heard there is one in Saratoga called Plum Dandy but I live in Albany and would like one here!

You will never see an In-N-Out here. The reason they are only in the west is because they only use fresh beef (not frozen), so stores can only exist within trucking distance of their west coast distribution hub.

Chick-Fil-A. Rosa's Tortilla Factory. Cabela's.

That's my list.

the stew leanords singing cows *are* pretty awesome.

In-N-Out Burger, yes.

Chick-Fil-A and Raising Canes would be the top two on my list. Oh, how I miss them.

I want a lot of these things, most of them having to do with burgers (in-n-out WHY have I never had one, :( so sad). I also get really irritated that we have commercials for places like Sonic, but there aren't any here. I don't particularly want to go, but why rub it in, TV?

I would do something insane if we could have an Anthropologie. I don't care if it's overpriced and mildly annoying. I want one. Put on in Saratoga, or even Hudson, if not Albany. UGH I pine for one.

Also, please bring Lord & Taylor back.

I would give 400 7-elevens for 1 Stewarts. I love them so, so I am pleased as punch that things are the way they are in that regard.

agreed with Tader Joe's, Tim Horton's, and Waffle House. I'd like to add:

California Pizza Kitchen
Potbelly's

Wonders why anyone wants more mass market plastic crap cahins that will demand corporate welfare in exchange for for lousy jobs that won't get anyone off the public health plans when we have plenty already?

IN-n-Out is not much different from 5 guys...I lived in LA for 5 years, so talk a breath before you jump down my throat.

it's mostly a product of legend brought on by rarity....Five Guys is close enough to scratch the itch.

Also, A&W's exist in the area, and Sonic is in Kingston.

Whole Foods would be good. And World Market. I don't think we need more chain burger joints -- we have plenty of those. Why not check out The Country Drive-In or Jumpin' Jacks if you're looking for great, burgers and the like. Locally owned and operated and delicious!

@JCM - there's a 16 Handles in Clifton Park

Crate & Barrel
Whole Foods
Joe's Crab Shack - like Sonic, they run commercials here but aren't available...
Dave & Busters
Rainforest Cafe
Legal Seafood
Ikea

Waffle House! YESSSSSSS!

Love Waffle House....can't believe you included it here!

meh Chick-fil-a..that chicken looks nasty. and too jesus-y for me.

Tim Horton's: baked goods have to be shipped in from elswhere. Not fresh at all.

can't Juicy Burger fulfill a local-and-"real" burger craving, ala In-N-Out?

I grew up with Wegmans and when I get back to the Midwest part of NYS and make my ritual visit, I think..wow. good thing this store isn't nearby cause it's EXPENSIVE. And they don't even carry Polar brand drinks! what gives? But then I forget all that the next time I'm near one, make a ritual visit and repeat ad nauseum.

But you had me at Costco...

Whole Foods Market

The nearest one is in West Hartford, CT, two hours away.

Oh, my kingdom for a Sonic!

I have to say, Wegman's is all that! Right on Paul! :)

All a person needs to do is hang out at the Historic Resource Commission, the Planning Board or the BZA (besides the inspections/licensing/taxes) to find out why Albany isn't attractive to these business. There's no secret "no compete" agreement..

But while we're discussing what we'd like to see, how bout a Jack in the Box, a Grandy's and a Dickie's. What I wouldn't give for a 24 hour american taco for 33 cents. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, you haven't been to JIB)

DiBella's...oh wait, got em! Life has been good since the Western Ave location opened in February. I don't need a 7-11, but I sure could use a Slurpee or a something similar on a hot day.

Chik-Fil-A
Joe's Crab Shack
Tim Horton's
Trader Joe's

IKEA

and keep Stewart's, we don't need a 711.

Not sure if someone else will have answered this but:

@Dan R: I thought there was a California Pizza Kitchen in Clifton Park, where the FYE used to be? Or somewhere in Clifton Park, did it close? It was definitely there at least a year ago.

I agree that all of these places would be nice to have in the area. I do truly believe that having another grocery option in the area would still be better, even necessary. People are eating out less trying to save money. If we add more cheap fast food places to the area, that doesn't help anyone or anything. A grocery store that is willing to carry local produce and goods(unlike Fresh Market) would be ideal. A grocer like that would provide great products, more jobs, and lead to a happier healthier community.

But I do still want that Slurpee from good ole 7-11.

I miss 7-11 so much. I wish we had one around here. Costco is also awesome and they treat their employees much better than BJ's or Sam's. (Unions!)

@kater: i don't see anything on their site or through a google search about a california pizza kitchen in clifton park. maybe you're thinking of something else? can anyone confirm that? i've never seen it.

also, how can i forget IKEA

forget it. there are too many people here that don't accept change. they are happy living in this sad depressed area known as the capital district. they are content to shop only at price chopper and stewarts for the rest of their sad life.

I love this post. It's hilarious and fun. But here's the big question for the Trader Joe's folks: how can you sing the praises of local businesses, local foods, and beg for another chain to come into the area in the same breath? Complain about Price Chopper all you want, but they're locally owned and put money back into our community. The same is true of Stewart's.

Instead of complaining about them, why not complain to them? Stop petitioning for another Big Box Chain and start working with your home grown businesses to make positive change in our food culture. In doing so, foodies, employees, farms and our community will all have the opportunity to benefit.

Folks, you moved to Albany. You knew what you were getting into. If you want Trader Joe's, please move back downstate and spare us your driving.

Now, where's that IKEA everyone was talking about?

+1 to the Stew's, that place is fun. It's the IKEA of food.

Firehouse Subs....

ikea please. Also if a local could start carrying chicken mango sausage I could stop asking for a TJ's.

IKEA and others are easily do-able so I won't mention those.

My wishlist of businesses that will never come here:
* Pan's (Spain) and Vinzenzmurr (Germany), great fast food places. You haven't had good fast food until you've had European fast food (and no, not the Champs √Člys√©es McDonalds).
* Les Halles. They have a few locations (NYC, Tokyo, etc) but I'd like to go more often.

A third vote for Stew's. We lived

I agree, while there are some things you can only get at TJ's, that's just an excuse for a road trip with a couple of coolers. Otherwise, I stick with Price Chopper, the co-op, and the farmer's markets, with supplemental visits to the ethnic markets and Fresh Market.

An IKEA here would go over well. I'm sure there's a good reason they aren't here yet, but with all of the colleges and rotating class of young professionals here, it would be lucrative There's nothing else here that compares for attractive cheap furniture.

There's also a Tim Horton's at Albany College of Pharmacy, an interesting addition because there are a lot of Canadian students there. I like them, but there's a Dunkin' Donuts I can walk to from my house.

@kater and Dan R: Wrong state. The former FYE in Clifton Park is home to an Arizona Pizza Company franchise, not California Pizza Kitchen.

I definitely want Tim Horton's, Joe's Crab Shack, Jamba Juice, IKEA, and Sonic in the area. I wouldn't mind seeing Krispy Kreme return if they could do it properly and have more than one location. And is it too much to ask to have Fuddrucker's reopen?

And a Pizza Fusion. OMG pizza, all natural.

http://www.pizzafusion.com/

I second Chick-fil-a -- that would be teh awesome.

I am stoked we have a Five Guys (it makes me a touch less homesick for DC).

@Ellssas I am with you on Les Halles. When the one in DC lost its lease and closed, I cried.

But Just Say No To 7-Eleven...it would, let's face it, probably drive a lot of Stewart's locations out of business. And 7-Eleven doesn't sell Stewart's ice cream. Nor does it have a milk club. So...that would be TRAGIC. (I love Stewart's so much, it's almost unhealthy.)

It's funny that since there aren't so many chains here, people seem to want them. Whereas in larger or more sprawl-driven cities that don't have mom-n-pops or local chains, folks so often want to minimize the national chains and promote smaller businesses. (And of course there's the flip-side of the coin, small towns which prevent anything not immediately local from moving in; my home town in Dutchess Co is a good example.)

When I moved back here this year, I gave up TJ's, IKEA, and Chick-fil-A -- but got back Stewart's, Holy Cow, and actually-fresh roadside produce. I like Albany's mix of national and local! Balance is the key.

I want a (Regional Chain with some national penetration) here! Their (specialty) is so much better than the ones you can get at (Local Business). If you haven't had (specialty from RC), you do not know what you are missing.

Definitely need Stew Leonard's - It is an experience going to Stew's... A trip to Stew's was my favorite part of visiting my in-laws when they lived in CT.

Chik-A-Fil

Here's what I miss, having just moved to the area:

Trader Joe's and/or Whole Foods - actually, just about any decent grocery store. I haven't been impressed with Price Chopper, although that may be because I have been going to the one I recently learned is known as Ghetto Chopper. And it pains me to shop for food at Wal-mart.

REI - yes, I know Albany has EMS. REI stores are generally bigger with a much better selection and their 'co-op' model is great since you get 10% back at the end of the year.

Chik-fil-A.

Those are the only 3 that come to mind at the moment. I have to say I hadn't really noticed there weren't Costcos or 7-11s here until I read this post!

Bruce Rotter: "Too many of our residents are spending too much on gas traveling to the nearest Trader Joe's when they ought to be able to shop at one here."

If you have enough time and disposable income to drive 2 hours to your preferred grocery store, the cost of gas shouldn't be a concern.

Sorry but the Wa-Wa's in Jersey beat any 7-Eleven, hands down. Better coffee than 7 or Stewarts. Besides Fastrac is just like a 7.

Wish we had a Sonic! Been to Tim Horton's in Perth and the coffee is nothing special. My kids like the donuts but don't think they are any better than any other place.

I've heard good things about Chick-Fil-A...honestly, I never stopped because the name irks me and it doesn't sound appetizing.

Trader Joe's is the obvious one.

IKEA
self serve froyo in albany (saratoga & clifton park do not count in my book)
and a vegetarian restaurant that serves 100% vegetarian cusine

Anyone pining for a 7-11 Slurpee or Big Gulp can just head on over to Cumberland Farms. I love their fountain drinks in the summer!

There's a small chain in the Boston area (and maybe beyond that, I don't know) called Anna's that has really great, fresh burritos. So much better than Chipotle or Moe's. But short of that I'd settle for a Qdoba.

First-World Problems.

I got so spoiled in college because of wegmans. We were just down the road from the largest Wegmans in Rochester and it was also where they tested their new ideas. I would drive an hour just to do my grocery shopping at a Wegmans. I would love a Dibella's subs and a Mighty Taco as well.

@new2albany; the Ghetto Chopper is convenient (I go there a lot, but my previous local grocery store was nicknamed the Poverty Giant, so...) because it's walkable, but a five-minute drive/15-minute bike ride will take you out to much larger stores all over the place. I'm happy with the Hannaford in Delmar -- mostly because I like the ladies behind the deli counter. YMMV, but it's worth some exploring.

I've been hollering about White Castle for years, so I can get behind that. Also, a Sonic would be great, but at least we have one in Kingston now (baby steps).

Waffle House, as much as I love them, would be strange above the Mason Dixon line. There's something special about hitting up a Waffle House on my trips south that would be lost if they moved north. But Chick-Fil-A...THAT'S something I could get excited about. Also, Jack in the Box. JOE'S CRAB SHACK! I hate that we have to see those commercials. *drooool.*

Wegmans, Trader Joes, 7-11, In-and-Out, Costco, etc, etc everything else mentioned in the post - they all have equivalents which we do have in the Capital Region.

IKEA is the only one that really has no equivalent, which is why it's the most important one to bring to Albany :D (Don't dare try to tell me Huck Finns is an equivalent. That place is the worst. Worst. Wooooorrrrssssst).

I find it interesting how nobody here has mentioned Sheetz.
7 Eleven is nothing compared to Sheetz.

Why don't you all move away from Albany to better places with your favorite restaurants and stores?

I kinda love that there are regionalized chains. I should have to go to California for an In and Out. Its all part of the experience. In college I frequented Wawa, and loved their after-midnight "specials" to get rid of everything in the fryer area. But would I trade my own local-chain of Stewarts? Never!

Ikea fans: did you know Ikea is union-busting at its US factory in Virginia? It outsources work to the U.S. to pay lower wages, but its Swedish workers are unionized. (That's right---we are the Third World to Sweden.) I don't even see the big appeal of Ikea. The Ikea look is just as conformist in its way as buying into any other brand. And the quality is middling at best. Go to some good estate sales and buy some real furniture.

Sonic is in Binghamton -- why can't they move a couple of hours up 88?

I don't generally patronize fast food restaurants. I would LOVE to see a Trader Joe's and Wegman's in our region. The quality and reasonable prices they aren't yet available locally.

chrisck - I don't like Ikea because it's nonconformist or conformist or whatever, I also don't care about their policies. I like it because they provide mid-century modern style furniture at prices that are actually affordable. Also, their furniture is actually pretty damn durable if you are buying the 'good' stuff. (Yes, even Ikea has economy lines and 'premium' lines of furniture.) Pretty much everything in my place is Ikea and everything is holding up great. If Ikea was closer, I would totally buy all my kitchen cabinets there. The quality on those is really, really nice for the price.

There isn't one store in the capital region that sells furniture (even expensive furniture) with a modern style that isn't atrocious. Or, if there is, I don't know of it. And I looked around quite a bit. Furniture stores up here assume that everyone is a suburban mom who wants their furniture to have cutouts of hearts and spindle legs.

I'm amazed the Trader Joe's campaign persists, didn't the company in so many words already say they weren't interested? In a sense I'm pleased they won't, because a) there's a little bit of schadenfreude in me that chuckles thinking of yuppies not getting what they want when so many working people have to do without things they need, and b) the thought of all of those Clifton Park and Delmar SUV's happily driving past ten supermarkets, coops, and farmers markets in the community to get to one Trader Joe's in Latham or Saratoga. I think Leah said it all, complain TO Price Chopper, not about them. There's a million things they need to fix or improve, but when it comes down to it they're an important asset to the community, their employees are your customers.

Seems most of the commenters in this AOA thread are clamoring for All Over Anytown.

@Paul -- I concede the Capital District is a vast wasteland when it comes to furniture stores. Colonial Revival maple, which I can't stand; Mission/Stickley reproductions (not so bad, but kind of dark and heavy), and all manner of pretentious French and Italianate styles. I've seen some nice stuff (but not modernist) at Kincaid's in Latham, but it's expensive. It's why I go to estate sales for affordable vintage furniture. Even if you have to pay to have a piece refinished or reupholstered, you can get better quality and design and not have your home look like it comes straight from a catalog.

@Tim - spot on!

The only benefit I can see of having a TJ's here would be the pure convenience of one stop shopping for good food staples + good beer staples, especially their own brand. Otherwise, meh. (and yes, I hit up TJ's in Long Island 4X a year).

Anthropologie! Caribou Coffee!

Part of living in a place is enjoying its regionally-based chains, local stores and variety. Waffle House is a southern chain, Wawa is a PA/NJ chain. Stewarts = Capital Region & Adirondacks. Regional and local stores give back to their communities. I grew up with Wegmans, but it is just a grocery store. Thank goodness for our regional variety - local supermarkets, regional chains, food coops, and farmer's markets. All of these posters longing for these stores, to me just symbolizes what makes them special in their individual locations. That longing would soon be lost if they no longer had their regional connection.

Yuck.
I'm with Beaver: All Over Anytown, for sure.

This thread was important to let me know that there was a Sonic in Binghamton, but I'd also like an IKEA, Wegmans and an Ulta would be good. Heck, even Elmira has an Ulta.

I don't see the point of Whole Foods when we have the Honest Weight coop here and I am not sure how LOCAL the food is in Whole Foods - they ARE a national chain!

I do shop at Trader Joes when I happen to travel out of town - and i think some of that is the novelty of being out of town - and if they did open here I'd probably not shop at it (no novelty) and wouldnt shop out of town (cause I can get the stuff here) so TJ's would lose!

as far as more chain fast foot places - do we really need them?

as far as locally grown items - I do the coop route, Krug's farm on Everett road, pick local strawberries & blueberries (freeze them for year round use) and put in "salad plants" in containers on the back porch.

@Elisass when I was in Germany in the late 90s the Imbisses (fast food stands) served some awesome and cheap falafel. What I wouldn't give for a falafel stand on every corner! I'd never eat at home again! I would also like a mobile taco truck while we're at it, like the Border Grill does in SoCal. There's a business idea...mobile Mexican food....

I would like a Trader Joe's, but there's one a brewery in Willamantic, CT that my husband is nuts about, which is only a short jaunt to the Hartford TJs. We only get dry goods there, nothing that needs refrigeration. I like that they have fair trade coffee at a reasonable price and will usually get a couple tins while there, but I'm honestly just as happy to purchase local coffee which is almost always better.

Here's what is on our shopping list for TJs:
- cereal - My husband is fussy, and we haven't found a local store that sells something he likes that is a. not loaded with HFCS and other random chemicals; and b. isn't - raw flatbread - We've looked locally. It's impossible to find.
- quinoa bread - Again, we've looked locally. The Co-op has spelt bread, which is fine in a pinch, but I prefer the quinoa bread. I looked at PC and Hannaford, found nothing. It's possible Fresh Market has both the flatbread and the quinoa bread, which would be nice as those we have to freeze.

We often will get chips, bagged popcorn, other assorted snack foods there, because they are high quality and affordably priced. It would be nice to have one locally, but then again, because we have one accessible to us, it's not something I'm terribly worried about. But, yes, the grocery options kinda suck here. The Co-op definitely serves a purpose, but I do have some major problems with them. Price Chopper and Hannaford are about even in their mediocrity - depending on which store/town one is better than the other (and, in my experience, overall PC is better, but YMMV), but it still carries too much garbage with lists of ingredients I can't pronounce and not enough stuff with simple ingredients. It's gotten better, because people have spoken up, however I don't see it getting a lot better anytime soon mostly because that garbage is what most people want.

So, would I prefer a local option to TJs? Of course. But currently, we don't have something that meets that need. I was hopeful with Fresh Market, and it is a step in the right direction, but then again it is also not a local company. Maybe Golub would be well-served to open up a smaller franchise (they even have a name they could call it - CENTRAL MARKET!) that is modeled after TJs, with only a few locations around the capital region as a test market. I would be happier with that than a national chain. I don't think it is going to happen, though.

Oooh Oooh, I thought of another point.

Just because Golub is local/regional and Wegmans and TJs are more "national", doesn't make Golub a better company. Overall, the former two have better corporate models and treat their employees far better. (Though, Golub HAS gotten better over the years, though I do know they used to be known for cutting back hours just enough so more people were ineligible for health insurance ... not sure if they still do that.)

Yes, Golub gives back to the community, but they really don't treat their employees very well, and in my book that's the most important first step to being a company I can get behind.

This is why everyone else hates America. But I like IKEA too. :-)

Here along the Route 1 corridor in central NJ, I can get to a Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Wegmans, Sonic, Chick-Fil-A, or White Castle in about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

Do I feel like my life is enriched in any meaningful way by having these chains within easy reach? No, far from it. This area is almost completely devoid of any identity at this point apart from being that place with all the chains. No amount of generic organic foodstuffs can compensate for that.

You really have no idea how good Albany has it.

How about we just appreciate what we have?

People in the Middle East are fighing for freedom and dying and here in the Capital District we are whining about where we can spend our fat lazy American dollars.

Not that we are much different than the lazy Americans elsewhere in the country who love their strip malls and highways.

After living in Arizona for 10 years then moving back to Upstate NY I really miss some of the places we had in AZ.

1. Jamba Juice - Anytime I fly anywhere I check to see if there is a Jamba Juice at any of the airports I am flying to, or anywhere near my destination. I constantly check the Jamba website hoping to see they added a location in Albany.

2. In-N-Out - They built the one in AZ after I left so I cant say 1st hand how good they are. But from what I hear you have to have them.

3. Jack in the box - I miss going at 3AM and getting an Ultimate Cheeseburger. Or getting any of the breakfast sandwiches anytime of the day.

4. Sonic - Whats up with all the Sonic commercials yet none here in the area. Really good Burgers.

5. Frys electronics - They have some really good sales. They wouldnt go bankrupt and leave Best Buy as the only electronics store like so many others have. We also need a computer store. Havent had one since Compusa went out.

1)In-And-Out
2)Jack in the Box
3)Chick-Fil-A
4)Sonic
5)A&W

1)Trader Joe's
2)Fry's
3)Whole Foods
4)Wegman's
5)Costco

There is a SONIC in KINGSTON (for those who didn't read the other comments before posting)

Crate & Barrel
West Elm
Anthropologie
**Totally agree with Nordstroms

Bonefish Grill
Cal. Pizza Kitchen

Fry's Electronics, seconded. That place has crazy deals on computer gear, and Best Buy is the only place in town to buy an emergency part if necessary - their selection is inferior. Do they even sell motherboards?

Yes, I am aware that most readers may or may not know what a "motherboard" is. That's why Best Buy doesn't sell them.

We got our Trader Joes last year, after the FTC arrangement with Whole Foods opened up a Wild Oats to be sold to TJ's. The town flipped it's s%^t over it, in a good way. So did many of us, ex-citizens of the Capital District, living in Portland, ME. It was new, shiny and exciting--until it opened. Then we realized, unlike the statement from someone above, you CAN'T do all of your shopping there. I can't get a 5# bag of sugar or cut to order meat or deli item or even that much produce. The one brand of cat food is their own and the cats walk away from it. It's a niche chain and it's not as healthy as you would think. Not all their items are organic, or even all natural, contrary to what I read about them before they came in. The cheese is shrink wrapped and tastes fermented. You learn NOT to get attached to items because they probably only have it for that time and you won't see them again. It's good for a few items here and there, I bought frozen Kobe burgers the last time I was in and their version of Pirates Booty. Sadly, though, I find less and less that appeals. If anything good came out of WF and TJ's moving into Portland it's that it woke up Hannaford and made them raise their standards--perhaps if it ever does move into the Albany area, it will do the same to Price Chopper.

I grew up in the Albany area but where I have lived most of my life many of the things that all of you are mentioning are now where I live. Trust me, they are not as great as you think they are. I hardly ever go to them.

Before you all get your knickers in a bunch over Wegman's, you should really try shopping there. We have Wegman's here in Elmira, and while I'll agree they offer plenty of exclusive items, they are NOT a store you can afford to shop in on a weekly basis. Unless, of course, you can afford to spend 1.5x the norm for every day items. For instance, they offer "to go" items in their, so called, cafe that you choose off of a hot bar @ 7.99 A POUND! Yes you saw that right, it's by the pound and trust me that's not alot. By the time you put a couple of chicken wings (3) and maybe a side of rice, there you have it! ONE POUND, or more! Ridiculous!! A single slice of pizza will cost you almost $3 and it's not a super slice, it's a traditional slice from an 8 slice large pie. And a cup of coffee? Well for a medium coffee, that will cost you $3 as well! IMHO, Wegman's has gotten way too big for their britches. This is NOT NYC! Nor is it a well to do metropolis! We are a small, financially repressed town that can barely afford to shop in the numerous Tops, Sav-a-lot and Aldi stores we are overrun with. No, Wegman's is not worth your drool. Now Meijers is a different story! I shopped loyally at Meijers when I lived in Michigan and let me tell you, you have not LIVED till you've shopped there!! They offer everything you can find at Wegmans ...PLUS! They are truly a one stop shopping store, and were before Walmart got the idea. Not only do they offer the exclusive and hard to find or gourmet items, they are reasonably priced! The one thing I've discovered since moving to NY is that NY has this image they are trying to portray, but it's NOT one that the people living here can afford! I can't wait to leave NY and move back west where I can get the conveniences I want without having to pay 3x the price!

7-11
Dave & Busters
Ulta
Rainforest Cafe
Bahama Breeze
Waffle House
California Pizza Kitchen
A&W
Bonefish Grill
Buffalo Wild Wings
Longhorn Steakhouse
Stircrazy
Panda Express

I would love to see these places in Albany. My family and I travel here alot for shopping & dining.

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