Dear Trader Joe’s,
I’m not writing to thank you for coming to Columbia — although I am overjoyed. My gratitude stems from something else your company is doing in this venture: taking an old, abandoned building and giving it a new life as a Trader Joe’s.
Like many other longtime Columbians, I remember weekly treks to Columbia Mall, Decker Boulevard and Richland Mall to do most of our local shopping. In the days before Harbison and Sandhills, many large and small retailers were wedged in the not-quite-Northeast area.
What remains in the wake of a once-thriving retail hub? Decaying structures. Vacant parking lots. Barely occupied strip malls. The weeds, broken glass and emptiness are painful wounds that stagnate and drain communities where business once boomed.
There’s a good deal to be said for businesses like yours and others including Whole Foods and Pasta Fresca who choose to retrofit and rebuild existing structures rather than demolish what little is left of our natural assets.
I hope your decision to come to Forest Acres proves to be a great move for your company. In my eyes, it’s already invaluable.
Thank you for investing in the community I love.
The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live.