|Actual un-retouched photo of the |
Pinecrest Police Department in action
last Friday at Trader Joe's.
For those of you not familiar with that neck of the woods, the new store sits at the intersection of busy South Dixie Highway and Dadeland Boulevard, directly across from Shorty's Barbecue and the Dadeland South Metrorail station - an intersection that is one of South Florida's busiest and most congested.
But the opening - which has been the subject of scores of stories in the South Florida media for months - quickly turned into a public relations nightmare for Trader Joe's, the Pinecrest Police Department and at least one Pinecrest elected official. This, after tow trucks started showing up and towing the cars (see entries here @ 9:25, 10:19 & 10:48 am) of Trader Joe's customers within minutes of the store's opening.
It appears that inept Pinecrest cops and and their clueless mayor were blissfully ignorant of the store's cult following and hadn't prepared for hundreds of Trader Joe's fans showing up, eager to be among the first to stock up on Two-Buck Chuck and pumpkin butter.
From today's Miami Herald:
Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner is exhibit "A" of why people despise politicians. Stupid politicians, anyway.
Pinecrest police said 55 cars were towed around Trader Joe’s over the weekend at the request of property owners. The California-based chain opened its first South Florida outlet at 9205 S. Dixie Hwy. in Pinecrest on Friday.
Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner
and Trader Joe's managers celebrate
the store's opening last Friday.
(Click to enlarge.)
The chain has a national cult following, and the local store was mobbed all weekend, much to the distress of neighboring businesses.
“We were aware it was opening, but it was almost like a cult following,” said [Pinecrest] Detective Alexandra Martinez. “There’s no way we could have anticipated this. It’s the first time we’ve seen this amount of attention for this kind of store.”
“You don’t require extra parking based on popularity, that’s not in the zoning code,” said Mayor Cindy Lerner, who expects the rush to die down by the end of the week. “We have to treat everybody on an objective criteria, and that criteria is based on square footage.”
Had Lerner put down her copy of Pinecrest's zoning code and picked up a copy of the Herald once in a while, she might have learned that Trader Joe's wasn't just another grocery store.
From the Miami Herald, Jan. 5, 2013:
Fans usually flood in on opening day. The Naples Daily News reported that hours before the store’s opening last February, hundreds waited in a line that snaked around the entire back of the shopping center. Some people traveled from other cities and stood in line as early as 5:30 a.m.Last night, after reading the Herald story, one Kendall resident told me:
Pinecrest officials believe parking won’t be an issue. The city requires the store to provide at least 56 parking spaces – and the store is planning to have 89, [Pinecrest Planning Director Stephen] Olmsted said. [Emphasis mine.]
What a BS response from the mayor and the detective. Two clearly short-sighted people. I predicted this fiasco two years ago.
As it is now, I'm not going to ANY of these places for fear of having my car mistakenly towed. Was already a hassle. This Trader Joe's is going to kill the neighboring businesses.