Inside Trader Joe’s

By Ann Shayne
June 30, 2018

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35 Comments
  • When we moved from Los Angeles to Austin we had no TJ’s. Then one came to San Antonio so we bought a cooler and made the drive. Now there are three (3!) in Austin and we are happy. Yes! I’m glad you now have your very own TJ’s. Thing to try: tiny ice cream cones.

  • My “local” TJ is forty minutes away, and every so often we have (make up) reasons to head that way. A cooler helps, but we have realized it’s best to just eat the box of mochi on the ride home.

  • Wild Oats! When I was in college, Wild Oats was the only grocery store within walking distance of campus. It was also very close to the engineering building so my husband (then boyfriend) would walk through some secret tunnels and hallways and emerge from the engineering building right behind the Wild Oats and buy snacks for when they were working on problem sets. Or playing darts.

  • Discovered TJs on a trip to LA in 2003. Road trip with my then 75 yr old mom, 2 teenage sons,2 toddlers and me (newly divorced). I fell in love with their yogurt selection!! It took quite a while for Minneapolis to get one but now we have several and one is opening in July right by my workplace!!! Thanks for this binge. I’m so on it!!

  • You had me at mandarin orange chicken, an extreme favorite of our boys. Although they’re all grown-up now, we still eat it. I love TJ so much, that we’re contemplating moving across town to be closer………and BTW, closer to our very first grandchild. LOL

  • We were among the last places anywhere to get a Trader Joe’s (the CEO supposedly hates New Orleans and all its occupants) but we recently got one in the burbs. The shaved Brussels sprouts are worth driving from the city to the burbs because I love sautéed shaved sprouts (Budget Bytes has the best recipe ever for them) and life is way to short to shave them yourself. I have to go to the store sans family so I do not end up with a million dollars worth of groceries in addition to the aforementioned sprouts!

  • I couldn’t have written this any better myself. Unfortunately I have to drive 8 or so mikes to the burbs for ours and yes, Richmond still doesn’t have an IKEA.

  • A TJ’s is supposedly coming to Memphis, but not here yet. I can hardly wait! No more Kroger’s! We do have an IKEA, so come on down anytime.

  • I miss Service Merchandise! (And, yay, TJs is opening IN MY TOWN in the fall).

  • My daughter, who moved to the bigger city can only pity the ones she left behind, no Trader Joe’s here. No IKEA either.

  • Up until two years ago Trader Joe’s was a special trip to Richmond, Virginia, 80 miles from my house. Now we have one in Charlottesville, Virginia, only 30 minutes away. While I don’t go to C’ville often it is great to be able to stop in at Trader Joe’s. Love them!

  • I am sad. I live in Halifax, NS and the nearest Trader Joe’s is 8 hours away in Portland Maine. However, Ikea came back after leaving for @30 years. I may have to plan a road trip.

  • Trader Joe’s. Sigh. The closest one to Green Bay is in Milwaukee, almost 2 hours away. I don’t think we’ll ever get one. So we make do with care packages when our Lexington, KY daughter comes for a visit. No IKEA either, that’s in Milwaukee too. Hmm, I sense plans for a weekend away on the horizon…

  • Love you. Ann. I feel the same. See you there.

  • I agree about their flyer – it’s a masterpiece. Things I never in a million years would have thought of buying become must-haves. I used to work 3 miles from TJs, but now it’s an hour away from me so I only shop there on my bi-monthly trips to the Big Feed Store, and then only if I have any energy left after My Favorite Thrift Shop, can-you-believe-this Aldi, and the hey-they’ve-got-the-cats’-favorite Pet Food Store. But when I do make it through those magical doors into the flower-filled foyer of TJs, I know I’ll be leaving with some very healthy food and about eighty dollars worth of cool snacks.

  • Since moving south to Kentucky a few years ago I coordinate trips to my office in Chicago and visits to Nashville around Trader Joes. Running low on dog food? Green beans? The best all-around snacks including the Chocolate Cats cookies my grown kid still asks for? Time to travel!

  • TJs – YEAH!!! But, I don’t get the IKEA thing at all. Been there ……….did buy a cheapo bookshelf, but now that I don’t have one real close by, I don’t miss it.

    Happy knitting and happy SHOPPING.

    • For some of us Scandinavian immigrants IKEA has foods, snacks, candy and household items we miss from “the old country”!

  • My first TJ was in the Bay Area and none of it had their label. But they have great recipes. https://www.traderjoes.com/recipes

  • Buy dry ice at large grocery or fishing supply store for the 8 hour trip, but that doesn’t you can’t eat the ice cream on the way home!

  • Southern Californian here, so I’m spoiled— we have an embarrassment of riches of Trader Joe’s. When we had kiddo #4 (last one) and moved to an older and bigger house, one of the bummer things about the move was that we were now 4 miles from a TJs instead of less than a mile. TJs, In&Out Burger, and See’s Candy seem to be the big draws to our friends from out of town. Oh. And Disneyland. There’s that. 🙂

    • I moved to SoCal 15 years ago and instantly became a TJ’s regular. My friends in NE Ohio were mystified until one opened in Cleveland.
      My newest favorite: the handful of manzanillo olive packets! No more fishing around in that teeny-necked jar for salty green olive goodness! Yummy, portable, and just decadent enough to feel special!

    • my academic advisor in graduate school (UPenn) always had a box of See’s lollipops in her office. You’d go in there in a bad mood, beaten down by the MSW program. and she would be happy to listen, and hand you a pop (caramel, please) and I always left in a better mood than when I went in there.

  • LOL, I grew up with one of the original Trader Joe’s about a mile from my house in SoCal. Always loved them.

  • A perfect afternoon indoors ( 94 degrees in Rochester NY) listening to the Trader Joe podcasts and knitting a swatch of Coopworth yarn from the Solitude Swatchalong of sheep breeds. With the leftovers I plan to try Sequence knitting basic forms. Thanks you both.

  • Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was exposed to Trader Joe’s long ago. Really missed it when I moved to the Midwest, gradually they moved in.
    My first trip to Ikea was in a suburb of Copenhagen in 1980…I was in love immediately. My aunt and uncle took me there for dinner!
    Had to wait many years until they added USA stores! Finally, along the SF Bay!
    Moved to the Midwest: store building in Schaumburg, IL just as we were moving to Wisconsin in 1998! A few months ago the first IKEA opened within 25 miles! Waiting for the initial excitement to pass before stopping there!

  • Lived in the midwest all my life, always had O&H kringle, the best Danish pastry found out after moving to Oregon that TJs has the very same kringle. Now when we are there over an hour away I have to stop. My favorite is Almond hopefully some day that I will be lucky and they will have it.

  • Memphis has an IKEA though. I mean, Memphis might not be as cool a Tennessee city as Nashville, but the food is awesome, the music is good there too and you can buy furniture in boxes. It’s worth the drive.

  • we also were without a TJ in St. Petersburg, FL for a long time, but thankfully one opened up less than 2 miles from my house a few years ago. I shop there almost exclusively now. I love it, and I’ve been meaning to listen to the podcast for a while….I’ll have to do it soon!

    I’m still waiting for a whole foods. It will probably never happen.

  • Oh, TJ’s! When they first started in SoCal, they were like TJMaxx, except overstocks of food. Never knew what you’d find, but always great cheese and nuts and snacks, as they gradually morphed into today’s model – still so cool. We missed it so much when we moved to NC I’d always bring stuff back.

    One never to be forgotten trip was when an entire wheel of Brie (10” dia.) from TJ’s ripened in the overhead bin of the plane; by the end of the flight folks were starting to look around and sniff. When we realized it was ours, we hustled it off the plane ASAP, giggling madly.

    Still don’t have an IKEA in under 3-4 hours, though. One was supposed to come in a mile away (!!), but they cancelled it last month §;-((

  • Trader Joe’s is s happy store. Go to Whole Foods and you leave there feeling grumpy

  • When I moved to the DC area from LA 20+ years ago, TJs was nowhere to be found, and I had to rely on trips to visit family to stock up on my beloved orange almond granola (which sadly was discontinued a while back). On the day a work colleague who knew of my love for TJs came into my office to announce they were coming to the Virginia suburbs there was much celebrating!

  • Living in Toronto, our closest TJ is in Buffalo, so not exactly convenient, but we all have our favourite treats to remember from previous visits to “the States”.

  • They have a few things I like, but wrapped-up produce makes me mad, and their sauces and frozen meals tend to be super high in sodium (I’m not even on a low-sodium diet or anything).

  • We have an Ikea here in Memphis now and a Trader Joe’s is supposed to be opening soon in Germantown. I’m anxious to check it out as I hear about TJ all the time but have never been to one.