Trader Joe's Opening Soon: Ten Items to Be Excited About
A neighbor new to Miami from California recently stopped me and excitedly asked, "Do you know Trader Joe's is opening just a few miles away?" Giddy with the thought of once again roaming the bamboo aisles and purchasing inexpensive wine, he confessed he'd written several letters to the Monrovia, California-based company, asking it to open in Miami.
Photos by Laine Doss Trader Joe's is opening soon!
This fandom is not a one-off story. The company that started as a small convenience-store chain in 1958 has gained a loyal, if not obsessive, following -- with good reason.
Each Trader Joe's is filled with private-label merchandise at prices sometimes significantly lower than those at competing boutique market chains, such as the Fresh Market and Whole Foods. And although the company doesn't claim to be as "upscale" as the others, it does pride itself on offering antibiotic-free meat, not allowing GMOs in private-label products, and carrying sustainable seafood. In 2012, the company signed an agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which sees that Florida farm workers get a fair wage and work environment.
The first Miami-Dade location will open October 18 in Pinecrest. The shelves are up and waiting to be stocked with merchandise.
If you haven't been to a Trader Joe's, there are a few things you should know. First, it's cute. Overly cute. Sort of like shopping for produce at Disney World. There are cartoon animals on signs. The Hawaiian-shirt-clad employees are friendly and helpful. They're also empowered to open anything you want to try, so if you're on the fence about those seaweed snacks, just ask.
Then there are bells. And cheering! That's the staff communicating with one another. One bell means it's time to open another register, two bells means someone has a question that needs to be answered at the checkout, and three bells is a request for a manager.
We visited the Naples store over the weekend to investigate just why this store warms the heartstrings of so many shoppers. We walked in a skeptic and walked out a believer. Maybe they put something in the free samples. Or maybe it's the fact that we loaded up the car with five shopping bags and a case of wine for less than $150. Here are the top ten items you'll want to try when Trader Joe's comes to town: