Hey Joe, you need to grab your Aloha shirts, hop a plane to Hawaii and set up shop in the islands.

We need you, Joe — Trader Joe’s, to be precise. We really do.

Look, if ever there was a state where residents need a food market whose core identity involves fighting on behalf of its customers, it is Hawaii. Middle-income residents need someone to champion access to tasty, interesting and healthy food at reasonable prices. You, Joe, could provide a balm for our bruised pocketbooks.

Trader Joe's

A Trader Joe’s in Sacramento, California.

Slobo Mitic/Getty Images

We expect a few of your spunky, compact food markets might just bring down Hawaii’s cost of living, even a little. And we’d get some vibrant and much-needed market competition along with creativity in our diets.

Just so you know, Joe, I’m not the only one asking.

There is a Facebook page, “Hawaii Needs Trader Joe’s NOW!” that has more than 3,000 likes. It wasn’t built by some mainland Trader Mole, who works for the company. The site was created by a local dance performer and teacher named Willow Chang Alleon, who figures that people wouldn’t need to fly back from the mainland loaded up like mules with Trader Joe’s products if your company opened a few stores here.

Look, Joe, there will be challenges. Your penchant for cutting out the middleman isn’t always so easy in Hawaii; middlemen sometimes seem to run this place.

“The people of Hawaii deserve and need the choice, quality, selection, prices and ALOHA that Trader Joe’s is known for,” the page’s manifesto-like statement says. It goes on to call for a campaign to “educate” people about why Hawaii needs T.J.’s.

Education might be necessary because many people in Hawaii don’t know that your stores generally only sell a few thousand often-changing products, rather than the tens of thousands found at traditional markets. They don’t know that you keep your rent down by choosing smaller sites with lower ceilings than massive supermarkets.

But let me try to lay out the pitch for why Hawaii and Trader Joe’s are made for each other.

Your company is literally branded to Hawaii. Your staff dresses in Aloha; I’m talking about the “cool Hawaiian shirts” you brag about. Some of your customers carry reusable Aloha-themed shopping bags with hibiscus flowers on them. Your old newsletters sometimes looked like they were sent from Hawaii.

Your cheeky commitment to diversity — so important to us in the islands — would likely go over well here. You know, the faux-worldly in-house brand names like Trader Jose (Mexican food), Trader Mings (Chinese), Trader Giotto (Italian). We’d just suggest you continue the food diversification for Filipinos, Native Hawaiians and others. Heck, maybe you already have — how would we know, way out here in Hawaii?

In the old days, I wouldn’t have written to you. For a quarter-century, you were hunkered down in California.

But then you breeched the state’s borders in the early 1990s, crossing into neighboring Arizona. In the ensuing years, you’ve grown to 400 stores, scattered around the country, including far-off places like Boston and Maine, which are hundreds of miles farther from your California core than Hawaii.

You’ve since taken your Aloha shirt uniforms to places like Nebraska, Idaho and Kentucky. I’ve never seen your staff dressed in shirts from Kentucky.

Getting You Here

Look, Joe, there will be challenges. Your penchant for cutting out the middleman isn’t always so easy in Hawaii; middlemen sometimes seem to run this place.

Many people in Hawaii will have to shake some habits for you. I know your policy is to not offer discounts. We’re all about fidelity card discounts at chains (that create a two-tiered price system that, among other things, gouges short-term visitors to the islands ). Some customers here practically live in the sales aisle; just visit one of our Longs Drugs.

There is another issue. Some companies don’t come to Hawaii because, they can’t imagine charging enough money for things to pencil out on rents and other core costs. The smart companies look deeper and realize that they can engage in what they might think of as gouging elsewhere — and we’ll still think they’re relatively affordable.

Your iconic “Two-Buck Chuck” wine, which I’ve seen people buy for $2.99 or $3.99, would be a bargain here at $5 or $6.

So, sure, it might be hard for you to find the array of local food producers to keep up with your 80 percent store brand ratio for quirky T.J.-branded products like your coconut pancake mix (with the charming coconut trees on the box).

There’s something I don’t want to downplay. Keeping costs down is hard here. Have you heard of the Jones Act? It could affect your purchase of “distressed products” from overseas, like that East European vodka that you got cases of in the 1990s because someone decided to unload it at a loss. In my memory, it was cheap and tasty. Due to legislation passed nearly a century ago and the economics of shipping, you would need to ship many foreign products to the mainland and then transfer the goods to U.S.-built vessels with American crews before you could transport that stuff on to Hawaii.

On a practical note, you would have to change the names of some of your products. Your iconic “Two-Buck Chuck” wine, which I’ve seen people buy for $2.99 or $3.99, would be a bargain here at $5 or $6. (Note to your marketing department: “Five-Buck Chuck” sounds kind of lame.)

You should know some other things. Costco is already here — but they’re doing weird things to us. To save money, we buy food in bulk — and then engage in a race against time to eat the un-canned goods before they spoil. (Tip: there is virtually no way for a family of four to eat through those giant bags of avocados before they rot.)

Our Future Together

This letter is a long shot. I know that because I already wrote to Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for your company this week. She said you have no intention of opening any locations in Hawaii in the current two-year plan.

The company doesn’t discuss business practices or disclose what goes into the decision-making process involved in selecting a location. That’s why I’m going over her head here.

Maybe there is a problem of vision on your side, so I will offer one of my own. Let me portray for you what the first Trader Joe’s in Hawaii might look like.

The year is 2016 and Trader Joe’s has surprised everyone and opened a first store in the McCully Shopping Center. Some intrepid tourists venture over the Ala Wai Canal bridge to the market with the red writing on the façade. Strangely, rather than shop, the mainland tourists are snapping pictures of locals greedily overpacking their baskets with your corn salsa, bags of nuts, hummus and other dips, and whatever else they can.

The outsiders might well laugh at the prospect of seeing locals willing to pay Hawaii-fied high prices at Trader Joe’s, that feisty “affordable” little market.

Actually, they probably wouldn’t just laugh. The tourists would likely snap pictures on their phones and post them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to blow people’s minds back home. And then the Internet would be awash in listicle-friendly photos showing unimaginably high prices at a Trader Joe’s.

On second thought, Joe, please disregard this note.

Do you have a story about the human impact of the cost of living in the islands, whether about you or someone you know? If so, click on the red button with the pencil and share it through Connections, or drop me a note at epape@civilbeat.com.

You can also continue the broader conversation and discuss practical and political solutions by joining Civil Beat’s Facebook group on the cost of living in Hawaii

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