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Author Topic: Is It Steampunk : Trader Joes and other Boutique Type Foodmarkets ?  (Read 948 times)
Hurricane Annie
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« on: August 31, 2015, 11:20:41 am »



 Or just kitsch   ??


The US  grocery retail chain, Trader  Joe's , who has heard of them or been in one? They are  touted as  being eclectic  and  niche.  They use nostalgic  decor and advertising  of a Victorian  or  "Monty Python " type format and imagery. They sell exclusive products at discount prices. 

 I have started reading a book about Trader Joe's ;  the history and  business strategies. I had never heard of it before  It just had me thinking of the potential of small niche supermarkets in modern  environments. Like a return to good old fashioned shopping.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trader_Joe's

http://www.buzzfeed.com/samstryker/trader-joes-is-the-bomb-dot-com#.opAJoOrOd

http://savvysavingbytes.com/2012/04/lessons-from-a-master-marketer-trader-joes/

http://stuffunemployedpeoplelike.com/2009/07/23/129-trader-joes/


 That Atomic feel.






 with a whiff  of diesel fumes






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Drew P
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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2015, 12:57:58 pm »

Go there all the time. It's just a grocery store with some unique signage.
Why does everything need to be considered 'steampunk'(just saying). Niche, yes.

Small store, some interesting items and nicely done signage. Not too unlike Whole Foods, but smaller.
I don't feel that it gives off a Steampunk, Atomic, retro feel really.  There's just not enough to evoke any of that.

but if ya stick a gear here and there.....
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2015, 07:02:30 pm »

So most of the chain's claims are hype? 

Yes maybe they should glue some cogs on Wink it might be more authentic .

The new local super market in my area is small and a tad "rustic " or " back to basics". After reading the book I had wondered if they were trying a new trend or just being  cheapskate.

There is still room for genuine niche stores then -
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2015, 08:00:54 pm »

So most of the chain's claims are hype? 

Yes maybe they should glue some cogs on Wink it might be more authentic .

The new local super market in my area is small and a tad "rustic " or " back to basics". After reading the book I had wondered if they were trying a new trend or just being  cheapskate.

There is still room for genuine niche stores then -

I don't think it's "hype" because they're not pretending to be Steampunk.  Having been founded well into the half of the 20th C. they just represent -in my mind- the start of the hippie and natural foods movements.  I've seen their products sold in other stores, including HEB, Vons and others ( "regular" supermarket chains).  They got their aesthetics from the vacation culture of the Americans after WWII

Meant for the hippie crowd, TJ's are the precursor of the organic food movement and fancier stores like Whole Foods meant for the hipster crowd (founded in Austin)
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2015, 08:43:47 pm »

So most of the chain's claims are hype? 

Yes maybe they should glue some cogs on Wink it might be more authentic .

The new local super market in my area is small and a tad "rustic " or " back to basics". After reading the book I had wondered if they were trying a new trend or just being  cheapskate.

There is still room for genuine niche stores then -

I don't think it's "hype" because they're not pretending to be Steampunk.  Having been founded well into the half of the 20th C. they just represent -in my mind- the start of the hippie and natural foods movements.  I've seen their products sold in other stores, including HEB, Vons and others ( "regular" supermarket chains).  They got their aesthetics from the vacation culture of the Americans after WWII

Meant for the hippie crowd, TJ's are the precursor of the organic food movement and fancier stores like Whole Foods meant for the hipster crowd (founded in Austin)

 Trader Joe's  must be on a   PR and rebranding  kick. [ despite their insistence they maintain  the same branding ]   They are attempting to distance themselves from the hippie and natural foods movement and  capture the hipster crowd.  [ over educated and underpaid, wanting something exclusive  etc  ] .  Their demographic description  does describe the more  eccentric  pop culture followers.

They insist their store brands are exclusive. ... They claim to  have a Victorian theme with a comedic touch.  By implication this could be loosely referencing steam or dieselpunk.   This image   seems to be a running theme through all their recent media hype , including the  recently published book. The tiki style signage   as influenced by the "Jamaican  Holiday"  is a nod to  the atomic aesthetic.

 Co incidently  the Aldi company  are attempting  to  take on the international  supermarket market.   They  own several chains of food/ grocery retailers.  Their name is splattered all through recent books  on supermarkets [ I will read just about anything] .  They are definitely on a major PR campaign to get their name out their and create a presence  on a global scale.

This  rebranding campaign  and media  releases appears to  be falling down  on a dissonance to what they  are   portraying themselves as  - and what they are providing .  But hey  don't all supermarkets -

 - put a hibiscus on it and call it Tiki

 
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2015, 09:31:47 pm »

The tiki style signage   as influenced by the "Jamaican  Holiday"  is a nod to  the atomic aesthetic.
[...]
 - put a hibiscus on it and call it Tiki
I associate the whole "Tiki culture" thing more with Hawai'i/Polynesia than with Jamaica. (When did Hawai'i join the Union? Wasn't it about the same time Trader Vic & the other guy set up shop?)
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2015, 10:16:33 pm »

The tiki style signage   as influenced by the "Jamaican  Holiday"  is a nod to  the atomic aesthetic.
[...]
 - put a hibiscus on it and call it Tiki
I associate the whole "Tiki culture" thing more with Hawai'i/Polynesia than with Jamaica. (When did Hawai'i join the Union? Wasn't it about the same time Trader Vic & the other guy set up shop?)

 The Jamaica / Tiki thing is  Trader Joe's story

 probably only as real as teir other "legends"

 Tiki style was big in that era  50s - 60s
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Drew P
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2015, 12:03:48 am »

They do fill a niche and a lot of items seem to be of their own for I have only found 1 or 2 or none somewhere else.
And I agree that they are more hipster than steamster.

And I go there alot!
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 04:47:20 am »

Perhaps jumping on the current band wagon is their thing, whatever that band wagon may be.  Although I'm intrigued by their latest Neo-Victoriam aesthetics.  Did someone tell them to go in that direction?

As popular a fad Neo Victorianism was a few years ago, outside of the high couture industry, I haven't seen any similar marketing trends in other major industries.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2015, 05:01:18 am »

Perhaps jumping on the current band wagon is their thing, whatever that band wagon may be.  Although I'm intrigued by their latest Neo-Victoriam aesthetics.  Did someone tell them to go in that direction?

As popular a fad Neo Victorianism was a few years ago, outside of the high couture industry, I haven't seen any similar marketing trends in other major industries.,

According to their recently released book and latest media release , TRader  Joe's has always used the Victorian clip art

Though they also claim in the book and promo releases they avoid publicity and refuse media promotion  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 05:51:52 am »

They do fill a niche and a lot of items seem to be of their own for I have only found 1 or 2 or none somewhere else.
And I agree that they are more hipster than steamster.

And I go there alot!

Just looking at the location in my town, I'd say yes it's definitely in "Hipster CEntral (an older one dating to circa 2000, but still hipster).  Next to Starbuck's and opposite of the GAP (no intro necessary), PF Chang's Chinese Bistro (very hipster modern Chinese food- and yes it is very good), Macaroni Grill (Hipster Italian restaurant), Cheesecake factory (another hipster joint, famous for giant size pasta plates and cheesecakes as well as having a location with a gaudy décor reminiscent of the "space cruiser/hotel" in the movie "The Fifth Element").  No hippies there.  All Mercedes Benz/Porsche (SUV's naturally as the hipsters have children)/BMWs/A Maserati or two/ and when I had money, my grandfather's black convertible 2002 Thunderbird.  I know the area well.
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GCCC
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2015, 06:12:33 am »

Scene:  In the smoke-filled hippie commune Trader Joe's boardroom:

"Dude. So. Like, what are we gonna do for our next promotional campaign?"

"Whaaat?"

"He means...like...I dunno...a word...reparations?"

"Reversals?"

"Oh! Wait! Like, rebranding?"
 
"Yeah! Only...not."

"I think he was talking about revisiting our style of advertising to something more hip and relevant than our current retro-Tiki style."

"Whoa, man, harsh! That was, like, a lot of words. Did you get passed or something, bro?"

"Wait...No. I think that's what I meant. Don't, like...Y'know, bogart that from him until the meeting's over, 'kay?"

"Harsh."

"That's a nice thought, but if you want to keep me straight you'd better open a window."

"So, anyway...Why do we need to brand our cattle?"

(Groans.) "No. I...Oh, never mind. We need to expand our presence in the marketplace beyond aging Baby Boomers yearning for post-war nostalgia and the current crop of unwashed unemployables to attract a more upscale clientele. Like, for example, people with actual paychecks."

(Silence.)

"Whoa."

"Harsh."

"Wait. No. Let him...like...y'know, finish or something."

"Harsh."

"Ahem. So...We don't have to completely eliminate our retro-kitsch style, which may alienate our established consumer base, but we need to add elements to our marketing to attract a more desirable demographic."

"What did he just call us?"

"Please, let me finish. We need to introduce advertising that will appeal to a younger, more eclectic, more educated and sophisticated crowd."

"Dude...should I be angry?"

"Shh!"

"Harsh."

"Now, our dealer, ahem, our supplier told me about something that is currently big in popular culture. It's so big, it's got its own show on the Game Show Network. It's called Steampunk."

(Silence.)

"Steam- whuh?"

"Steampunk."

(Uncontrollable giggling for the next twenty minutes.)

"You guys done now?"

"Wait! What is this 'Steamcrunk' stuff anyway?"

"It's Steam...oh, never mind. You know all that Victorian clipart we've been using?"

"What?"

"Urgh. The pretty little line drawings of old people from a long time ago?"

"Whoa! I like those, man!"

"Yes. Well. We add little things like balloons, World War II bomber helmets, goggles, gears, umbrellas, ray guns, the submersible...umm...the big black, scary boat from that movie Twenty-thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and stuff like that. Then it's 'Steampunk'."

"War is bad."

"Ray guns. Cool."

"I like balloons."

"Top Gear?"

"Hey! I saw that movie! (singing) Hiiiiighway to the DANGERZONE!"

"Gentlemen, PLEASE!"

"Bro, he is seriously harshing my mellow."

"Peace, dude. He's just...y'know, trying to do business stuff, and stuff."

"Yes. 'Business stuff.' Indeed. So, who's all in favor of introducing Steam...umm...this new style of marketing to our stores?"

"Does that mean the meeting's over and I can order a pizza?"

"Dude, we're the Board! We can do that anyway."

"We can?"

"Sooo...All in favor of the new marketing strategy, please raise your hands."

(Counts hands.)

"Umm...Are you going to vote against or are you abstaining?"

"Am I whuut?"

(Whispering, loudly.) "Dude! Raise your hand or we're never getting out of here!"

"Oh! Okay." (Raises hand.)

"Good. It's unanimous, then. We're Steampunking our advertisement."

"Great. Wait. Didn't we, like, y'know, recently say something about avoiding publicity and media promotion?"

(Silence; then, uncontrollable laughter for a full forty minutes.)

"Dude! You are so funny! Let's get that pizza now."
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2015, 09:09:09 am »




ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha  ha h haha ha 

 Cheesy Grin Kiss Grin Cheesy Wink
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 03:15:56 am »

They do fill a niche and a lot of items seem to be of their own for I have only found 1 or 2 or none somewhere else.
And I agree that they are more hipster than steamster.

And I go there alot!

Just looking at the location in my town, I'd say yes it's definitely in "Hipster CEntral (an older one dating to circa 2000, but still hipster).  Next to Starbuck's and opposite of the GAP (no intro necessary), PF Chang's Chinese Bistro (very hipster modern Chinese food- and yes it is very good), Macaroni Grill (Hipster Italian restaurant), Cheesecake factory (another hipster joint, famous for giant size pasta plates and cheesecakes as well as having a location with a gaudy décor reminiscent of the "space cruiser/hotel" in the movie "The Fifth Element").  No hippies there.  All Mercedes Benz/Porsche (SUV's naturally as the hipsters have children)/BMWs/A Maserati or two/ and when I had money, my grandfather's black convertible 2002 Thunderbird.  I know the area well.


They also insist  in their non publicity seeking media   releases that they seek out isolated  real estate for their stores   , well away from other mainstream retailers  and   venues ... They look for run down areas in old disused  strip malls...

 Who are these people !!!

 But seriously....

 there must be a market  for  these  niche food stores



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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 04:53:21 am »

They also insist  in their non publicity seeking media   releases that they seek out isolated  real estate for their stores   , well away from other mainstream retailers and   venues ... They look for run down areas in old disused  strip malls...

 Who are these people !!!

 But seriously....

 there must be a market  for  these  niche food stores


They got some giant brass ones to make such the claim that they are in remote abandoned locations.

I guess that explains why the TJ's in the area is just across the street from the Renaissance Arboretum luxury suites hotel.  You know, glamping, right? Just like going to Nairobi.

It's for those safari-hunting the zebra and faux fur-clad 20-something socialites who are shopping at Talbot's and drive $80000 white German convertible cars and eat quinoa salad "brunch" at 10AM on a Tuesday, at Z Tejas upscale Southwest restaurant while waiting to hear from their boyfriends/husbands for dinner at 5 PM in some other location.
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« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2015, 05:58:43 am »

Alright, alright, I have to give them some credit... They may have "recycled" a "dilapidated" location... I was looking at the location using Google Maps and in fact some changes have occurred..

Cheesecake Factory... check
Barnes and Noble... check
Z Tejas... check
Eddie V's Prime seafood... check
Macaroni Grill... check
Gap... check
Renaissance Suites... check
PF Chang's China Bistro... check
Talbot's...check

Ah! I forgot about these ones,

Express... check
La Madelaine french cafeteria... check
Starbuck's... check
Saks Fifth Avenue department store... FAIL!!! It's been closed!!! It moved to a much larger upscale shopping centre further north-west, with even more expensive and more hipster shops and hotels called "The Domain," patterned after European style commercial areas (apartment living combined with shops)... except that these shops and boutiques are ridiculously expensive... because that appeals to the hipster crowd.

That's it! I knew it! The neighbourhood must be going to the dogs! The hipsters are leaving!



Right next to the "abandoned" Saks Fifth Avenue you will find Trader Joe's.  I guess they really go set shop at undesirable locations.  Grin


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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2015, 11:36:05 am »

Alright, alright, I have to give them some credit... They may have "recycled" a "dilapidated" location... I was looking at the location using Google Maps and in fact some changes have occurred..

Cheesecake Factory... check
Barnes and Noble... check
Z Tejas... check
Eddie V's Prime seafood... check
Macaroni Grill... check
Gap... check
Renaissance Suites... check
PF Chang's China Bistro... check
Talbot's...check

Ah! I forgot about these ones,

Express... check
La Madelaine french cafeteria... check
Starbuck's... check
Saks Fifth Avenue department store... FAIL!!! It's been closed!!! It moved to a much larger upscale shopping centre further north-west, with even more expensive and more hipster shops and hotels called "The Domain," patterned after European style commercial areas (apartment living combined with shops)... except that these shops and boutiques are ridiculously expensive... because that appeals to the hipster crowd.

That's it! I knew it! The neighbourhood must be going to the dogs! The hipsters are leaving!



Right next to the "abandoned" Saks Fifth Avenue you will find Trader Joe's.  I guess they really go set shop at undesirable locations.  Grin





No Gnu nearby?? Not even a zebra crossing ?
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2015, 12:09:02 pm »

 They are attempting to  revamp   or [tart up]  near where I reside  before the red light district  completely swallows it . They have a plan to build  high rise apartments in  the midst of the [ethnic ] shops  and  replace the dilapidated out moded supermarket.

 Old Papatoetoe [ as averse to the newer shopping centre  from the  40s - 80s 'round the corner] .  Let us just say   - it has a lovey quaint town hall from the dieselpunk era.....

 [ my dad used to take us to pigeon and poultry shows in the hall there before it became too far off the beaten track]

https://www.google.com/maps/search/old+papatoetoe/@-36.9788476,174.851737,18z/data=!3m1!4b1


  Aldi is  trying to  trying to test the waters in N.Z.  ; something akin to  their Trader chain could  work in  such areas. -  

And Heck - we still have the tiki style going on  from the post war era. There is a strong Polynesian influence going on. Someone better get in quick before   we  are  invaded by the Germans -






« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 12:13:35 pm by Hurricane Annie » Logged
J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2015, 07:34:44 pm »

They are attempting to  revamp   or [tart up]  near where I reside  before the red light district  completely swallows it . They have a plan to build  high rise apartments in  the midst of the [ethnic ] shops  and  replace the dilapidated out moded supermarket.

 Old Papatoetoe [ as averse to the newer shopping centre  from the  40s - 80s 'round the corner] .  Let us just say   - it has a lovey quaint town hall from the dieselpunk era.....

 [ my dad used to take us to pigeon and poultry shows in the hall there before it became too far off the beaten track]

https://www.google.com/maps/search/old+papatoetoe/@-36.9788476,174.851737,18z/data=!3m1!4b1


  Aldi is  trying to  trying to test the waters in N.Z.  ; something akin to  their Trader chain could  work in  such areas. -  

And Heck - we still have the tiki style going on  from the post war era. There is a strong Polynesian influence going on. Someone better get in quick before   we  are  invaded by the Germans -










In America we call that process "gentrification." We have a serious problem of gentrification in Austin.  In spite of the economic downturn post-2008, the city has grown continuously and real estate has sky rocketed.  With so many IT industry millionaires and wealthy hipsters, the trend is to buy property in ghetto and dilapidated areas South and East  from downtown, and replace them with high rise condominiums or luxury homes, not to mention hipster artsy shops. While crime has gone down,  the result is the forcible eviction of ethnic minorities from smaller businesses and homes, to be replaced by white hipsters. After more than a few illegal evictions, the lawyers have stepped in, and the issue is argued about in court rooms and city hall...  There is no sign that gentrification will slow down.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2015, 12:09:58 am »

I associate the whole "Tiki culture" thing more with Hawai'i/Polynesia than with Jamaica. (When did Hawai'i join the Union? Wasn't it about the same time Trader Vic & the other guy set up shop?)

Tiki, to me, is not incompatible with steampunk. Look for the film "Mr. Robinson Crusoe" on Youtube and you will see how it can fit together.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2015, 03:11:29 am »

I associate the whole "Tiki culture" thing more with Hawai'i/Polynesia than with Jamaica. (When did Hawai'i join the Union? Wasn't it about the same time Trader Vic & the other guy set up shop?)

Tiki, to me, is not incompatible with steampunk. Look for the film "Mr. Robinson Crusoe" on Youtube and you will see how it can fit together.

 Tiki style  developed on from the Occidental  style from the Victorian / Edwardian era.  It  has a natural flow  into the steampunk genre.
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Hurricane Annie
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« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2015, 03:25:04 am »

They are attempting to  revamp   or [tart up]  near where I reside  before the red light district  completely swallows it . They have a plan to build  high rise apartments in  the midst of the [ethnic ] shops  and  replace the dilapidated out moded supermarket.

 Old Papatoetoe [ as averse to the newer shopping centre  from the  40s - 80s 'round the corner] .  Let us just say   - it has a lovey quaint town hall from the dieselpunk era.....

 [ my dad used to take us to pigeon and poultry shows in the hall there before it became too far off the beaten track]

https://www.google.com/maps/search/old+papatoetoe/@-36.9788476,174.851737,18z/data=!3m1!4b1


  Aldi is  trying to  trying to test the waters in N.Z.  ; something akin to  their Trader chain could  work in  such areas. -  

And Heck - we still have the tiki style going on  from the post war era. There is a strong Polynesian influence going on. Someone better get in quick before   we  are  invaded by the Germans -










In America we call that process "gentrification." We have a serious problem of gentrification in Austin.  In spite of the economic downturn post-2008, the city has grown continuously and real estate has sky rocketed.  With so many IT industry millionaires and wealthy hipsters, the trend is to buy property in ghetto and dilapidated areas South and East  from downtown, and replace them with high rise condominiums or luxury homes, not to mention hipster artsy shops. While crime has gone down,  the result is the forcible eviction of ethnic minorities from smaller businesses and homes, to be replaced by white hipsters. After more than a few illegal evictions, the lawyers have stepped in, and the issue is argued about in court rooms and city hall...  There is no sign that gentrification will slow down.


In New Zealand  we have the same regentrification band wagon - only with out the wealthy citizens. Property is being land banked by investors,  speculators  and developers, many from off shore.  It is driving the property values up. People are being tipped out of their homes  by means of enforced sales through land rates  and mortgage  defaulting.  The government is selling of state owned  housing  and other crown property.

 It is the usual ethnic minorities being disaffected  and dispossessed. New  Zealand is a sprawling country  with  low density populations.  Our largest city   has a population similar in size to Austin.

  We are becoming more and more dependent on tourism  and foreign investment.   Hence my interest being piqued somewhat by the Trader Joe  or niche  retail ethos.

« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 03:28:19 am by Hurricane Annie » Logged
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