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How Long Will Trader Joe's Wait To Complete Their Storefront Protection Program?

The Storefront Safety Council database has detailed records of over 600 storefront crashes at grocery stores in the United States. Of those incidents, more than 20 occurred at Trader Joe's stores, many involving injuries to employees and to customers. As a result of a series of particularly serious accidents, which involved multiple injuries to employees, Trader Joe's created a storefront safety program, which they called "UNIVERSAL PARAMETERS FOR SITE SAFETY LOW SPEED BARRIERS." I was first contacted by the engineering firm retained to help define the program in 2014. 8 years ago.

The program was designed to create safer storefronts by protecting doorways and areas with windows from intruding vehicles by installing bollards along the sidewalk. This was intended to prevent vehicles from driving through parking spaces, up onto the sidewalks, and injuring pedestrians outside or crashing into the store itself, injuring employees and customers. Letters started to go out to landlords in 2015, informing them of this new program and requesting that steel bollards capable of stopping a passenger vehicle at 30MPH be installed in front of their stores. At the time, Trader Joe's had a little over 450 stores. Currently, the website lists 530 stores, doing over $16 billion in revenue last year.

Fast forward to this week, and we see that a vehicle has driven through another STILL UNPROTECTED Trader Joe's store. Reports from Castro Valley California indicate that as many as 8 persons inside the store were injured, including a 5 year-old boy and at least 1 store employee. See: Scene photos and witness reports indicate that the vehicle drove right through the nose-in ADA parking spaces, across the sidewalk, right through the glass entry doors, and ended up more than 50 feet inside of the store.

Clearly, there were no bollards in place to prevent a very FORESEEABLE crash like this one. We know that it is foreseeable because the grocery industry has experienced hundreds of them, Trader Joe's has experienced dozens of them, and Trader Joe's created a storefront safety plan in 2014 and 2015 for the clear purpose of preventing this exact sort of incident. So the question is, why has a $16 billion corporation with a great reputation for customer service and employee benefits FAILED to protect their stores from this hazardous condition after 8 years?


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