Home Bright Gems Unique Grocery Store: Trader Joe’s, Part 1

Unique Grocery Store: Trader Joe’s, Part 1

By Ruth Storkel

Trader Joe’s has 560 stores (across 42 states nationwide), and our little city of Burien is very fortunate to have one! (I have friends in places like Texas and eastern Washington who bemoan the fact that there is no Trader Joe’s in driving distance near them.)

There was a time when I knew nothing about Trader Joe’s. I thought it was a store for people with peculiar eating habits, eccentric tastes in food, or for people who were over-zealous about buying organic food products. Boy, was I wrong!

Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me, and one day I just “wandered in” to get a quick look at what type of products this smaller grocery store offered. (After all, up to that time, I thought only the “big-name” grocery stores were the ones that could be trusted or had any “good deals.”)

After my leisure stroll thru Trader Joe’s on that fateful day, I have to say, “I’m hooked!”—–at least 20+ years hooked!

I never cease to be amazed by the new, innovative, creative ideas they offer us! There are always new items and treats to discover. At the “sample station” last week, we were given “hot cocoa cream cheese” on TJ’s graham crackers. That was a definite winner…I could easily get addicted to that!

Occasionally I receive their “Fearless Flyer” advertisement in my mailbox. It is written with such creativity and humor; it brings some light-heartedness into one’s day. (And it’s always fun to hear about new and unusual creations they have invented.)

There are many things I love about Trader Joe’s!

The employees are always friendly and go the extra mile to help me in any way. They show an attitude of personally caring; one year, I mentioned to a clerk that it was my birthday, and he marched right over to the floral department, brought back a bouquet, and said, “Happy Birthday!” (I’ve never had that happen in any store that I recall.)

The prices at Trader Joe’s are amazing! Very reasonable. Cereals, dried fruit, bananas (still only 19 cents each), fresh produce, nuts, spices, peanut butter, usually beating the “big store” prices, and excellent quality. The cost of their beautiful floral bouquets is fantastic!

There are a number of imported foods of excellent quality. These include cheeses from various places, pasta from Italy, and olive oil from Spain. In the frozen food department, you can choose East Indian and Asian foods that please the palate.

My shopping list usually includes a can of spicy Chai tea latte mix, Tuscan Pane, Greek salad, dried prunes, a bag of Jazz apples, catsup (for the catsup addict at my house), cranberry juice, a colorful greeting card or two (only 99 cents each) —- and much more!

This week I couldn’t resist buying the Chocolate Valentine’s cake!

I have come to regard some of the employees at Trader Joe’s as my friends. And as for those strange, eccentric people who shop there, I have bumped into some of my friends and neighbors smiling at me across the produce aisle! Good people shop at Trader Joe’s!

I recently asked one of the workers how he likes working there.”I love it!’ he enthusiastically replied. “Love it, love it, love it!”

It appears Trader Joe’s has done well on all sides: Happy employees and happy customers!

Next time: Part 2
Trader Joe—-was he real? Fact or fiction?
Is it a good company to work for?

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