PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Popular grocery chain Trader Joe’s has started the process to bring a long-awaited store to Providence, a company spokesperson confirmed Friday.

“We are in still in the very early stages, but we are working to bring a Trader Joe’s store to Providence,” spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said. She said “additional steps” still need to be taken in the real estate process, and declined to say what location is being considered.

There’s no timeline yet for when the store would open, but it would likely not be this year, Friend-Daniel said.

The California-based grocery chain has a cult following because of its quirky store-brand products, and is less expensive than competitors like Whole Foods. The store is also popular for its wine selection in states that permit alcohol sales at grocery stores (Rhode Island does not).

Providence residents have been clamoring for a Trader Joe’s in the capital city for years, and it’s previously been floated as a possible replacement for former Benny’s stores.

One widely discussed potential location could be the so-far-unnamed grocery store slated for a mixed-use development on a parcel of the former I-195 land in Fox Point. Friend-Daniel would not say whether or not the spot is the one being considered by Trader Joe’s.

The development on the parcel bordering South Water and Wickenden Streets has been approved by the I-195 Redevelopment Commission. The plan includes a 13,000-square-foot grocery store, 62 residential units and additional retail space.

“We can’t disclose who the grocery store is,” said Jordan Durham, a developer with D+P Real Estate, which is collaborating with Truth Box Inc. on the project.

Durham told WPRI 12 the announcement would likely come from the grocery tenant, not the developers. He did say construction on the building is expected to break ground in late spring of this year.

Durham said the plan is to build a two-level parking structure with the lower level for apartment tenants, and the upper level with its own entrance for grocery store customers.

Trader Joe’s currently has one location in Rhode Island — on Bald Hill Road in Warwick — and more than a dozen in Massachusetts.

Steph Machado ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.