It’s safe to say that Las Vegas is a foodie-friendly city with its hundreds of high-end restaurants, buffets, and food trucks.
Despite Vegas’ diverse food scene, access to healthy food may be difficult though, depending on what part of town you’re in.
A particular lack of healthy grocery stores in Sunrise Manor—a historic unincorporated town on the eastern edge of Las Vegas— prompted one local to petition organic food giant Trader Joe’s to add a location to the underserved area.
Real-Estate agent and Sunrise Manor resident Jenn Hurtado started a petition to bring Trader Joe’s to East Las Vegas so residents have closer access to organic food.
While there are major supermarkets in the area including Walmart and Smiths, Hurtado believes the Eastside needs better access and variety to healthy foods.
“[Other supermarkets] have a very small variety of organic stuff…but there’s no unique healthy food in general,” Hurtado explained. “Trader Joe’s offers a lot of alternatives.”
Much of Sunrise Manor and East Las Vegas are considered food deserts, areas where at least 500 people or more live in an urban area more than 1 mile from the nearest supermarket or large grocery store.
As of 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service recorded close to 4000 people in East Las Vegas that live in so-called food deserts.
While there are five Trader Joe’s in Las Vegas, the vast majority are about 20 miles away from Sunrise Manor—the closest being about 13 miles away off Washington Ave. and Buffalo Dr.
The petition has exceeded its original goal of 1,000 signatures and is now trying to reach 1,500 signatures.
“A lot of people are willing to drive the 30-45 minutes to get to a Trader Joe’s, so that’s why they’re signing it because they’d love to have that’s just 5-10 minutes from them.”
Comments on the petition suggest an interest in a closer Trader Joe’s, as well as a general desire for more big-name businesses to branch out to the Eastside.
Hurtado noted that Trader Joe’s and other businesses should take notice of Sunrise Manor as the area has become increasingly popular, especially for first-time homebuyers.
“I think a lot of people choose to live in Sunrise Manor and the Eastside in general because of the affordability,” Hurtado explained. “It’s very popular amongst first-time homebuyers.”
Hurtado has been busy laying the groundwork for potentially bringing a Trader Joe’s to the Eastside, including scouting a potential 17,000 sq. ft. retail space off Charleston Blvd. and Sloan Ave. that used to be Fresh & Easy supermarket.
She’s also been corresponding with county officials, including William McCurdy II, a member of the Clark County Commission of District D which includes Sunrise Manor.
Hurtado plans to submit her petition on June 30 to Trader Joe’s website which allows its customers to suggest new store locations.
If she can help bring a Trader Joe’s to her neighborhood, she believes it will instill a domino effect that will encourage other similar businesses to invest in East Las Vegas.
“They can be the first business doing something like this and then everyone would follow,” Hurtado said.
You can sign the petition here.
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