January 16, 2013

Trader Joe's parking situation leads to headaches, boots

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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A sign warns Trader Joe's customers against parking in West Marine's lot along Marginal Way in Portland.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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A sign posted next to West Marine at 127 Marginal Way warns drivers not to park in the lot unless they’re visiting the boating supply store or other businesses at the address. Trader Joe’s shoppers who park there may find their car towed or booted – the “crushed” threat was just a joke.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

On a recent Saturday morning, some Trader Joe's shoppers sat in their cars for minutes, waiting for parking spaces to free up. With no parking attendant in sight, others took their chances with prohibited spots.

George Sprague of Bath said he didn't know that he risked getting booted when he parked at West Marine before dashing into Trader Joe's for a can of coffee.

"I knew I would be in and out," he said.

Diana Simonds of North Yarmouth said she decided to take no chances, even though that meant circling the lot for awhile.

The quest for precious parking spots causes some hazards, the neighboring businesses say.

"They drive through this place like a race course," Elsaesser said.

The property includes a Walgreens drugstore, Eastern Mountain Sports and MRG Rock Climbing Center, and Salon Centric.

"There's increased traffic, and this sort of frenetic energy out there -- a small space with a lot of people driving through it," said Chuck Curry, who works at the rocking climbing gym. "It's not that they're bad drivers; it's just a lot of cars looking for a parking space. It can get a little crazy."

He said the gym has many members who come to climb but take a pass if the lot is full. "I think it just keeps a lot of people away," he said.

Curry says the parking attendant hired by the management company gets a lot of abuse from people whose cars get the boot.

"People really take the stick to him," he said. "He's really nice to people, but he still gets the short end of the stick."


-- Staff Writers Leslie Bridgers and Beth Quimby contributed to this report.


Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:



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Additional Photos

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John Patriquin/Staff Photographer West Marine manager Warren Elsaesser says customer traffic has declined since Trader Joe’s opened in 2010 and its shoppers started illegally parking in his store’s lot.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer


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