BRICK — Wild speculation and wishing thinking has spurred a first real step toward Trader Joe's opening its 14th store in New Jersey and its first in Ocean County.

A zoning permit issued Tuesday by the township for 56 Chambers Bridge Road allows interior work to be done at the former Ethan Allen furniture store in Brick Plaza to prepare for a Trader Joe's transformation.

Just two weeks earlier, Mayor John Ducey said that Trader Joe’s is the most requested store from residents, and that he was "working very hard" to make a location reality.

The grocery chain with a devoted customer base already has 13 stores in New Jersey ( in Clifton, Edgewater, Florham Park, Hoboken, Marlton, Millburn, North Brunswick, Paramus, Princeton, Shrewsbury, Wayne, Westfield and Westwood.)

The North Brunswick store opened in October 2017 as the first of the chain in Middlesex County.