Trader Joe’s coming to Winston-Salem

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- After years of speculation, it's now official. The Piedmont is getting a Trader Joe's.

The California-based grocery store chain announced Friday it has signed a lease to open a store in Thruway Center on South Stratford Road in Winston-Salem.

The 13,000 square-foot store will take up part of the former Borders bookstore, which closed last July. Trader Joe's officials said they plan to open the store sometime this year.

The store is known for its panel-selected variety of domestic and foreign foods and drinks, as well as the more than 1,000 items it carries under its private label. The store introduces a dozen new items every single week.

Company officials explained what the store will look like in a statement:

The store will feature a festive décor that mixes traditional Trader Joe’s elements such as cedar covered walls and Hawaiian motifs, combined with a local flair that includes art celebrating the neighborhood.

Trader Joe's has more than 360 stores in 32 states. It will be the store's seventh location in North Carolina. Three are located in the Research Triangle area, while three others are located in Charlotte.

Company officials emphasized in the news release that many residents can look for a copy of the store's so-called "Fearless Flyer" after the store opens.

What Friday's announcement means for a Trader Joe's in Greensboro isn't clear.

Since December, developer Regency Centers has been tackling the idea of building a new shopping center near Friendly Center. Regency officials haven't said which stores it planned to recruit, but Councilman Zack Matheny said in February that the shopping center, if built, would have a Trader Joe's in it.

Matheny said Regency at first wanted to build a Trader Joe's in the former Sears store at Friendly Center. However, Whole Foods got the spot through negotiations, and Matheny said that led to the proposal to build a whole new shopping center.

The land at Friendly Avenue and Hobbs Road would have to be rezoned for commercial space, as six homes currently sit on the land. Attempts to reach Regency or its representatives for comment weren't returned Friday night.