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[DFW] West Coast Transplant ISO substitute to Trader Joe's

gastronomic indulgence Aug 25, 2008 07:02 AM

Hi all,

I am desperately searching for a store like Trader Joe's. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


  1. j
    jindomommy Sep 13, 2008 08:50 PM

    I too lived on the West Coast and had a TJs downstairs from my office. I feel your pain. Everyone and anyone who would like great alternatives for everyday organic, quality staples, please go to the Trader Joe's website and petition to bring TJ's to Dallas. I have personally spoken to the head of Customer Service. They are looking to open in Texas, with the main hub being in Dallas. However, Whole Foods has kind of cornered the market here in Texas. The great thing about TJ's is that they buy everything in cash and pass the discount along to the customers. I used to buy a very gourmet smoked chicken breast for two dollars cheaper than at a place called Bristol Farms (a place in line with CM). For everyday, organic staples and also products in carrying the TJ label...TJ's cannot be beat. I believe the petition can be found at www.traderjoes.com.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jindomommy
      gastronomic indulgence Oct 7, 2008 09:55 PM

      that's a great idea - i think that anyone and everyone who's experienced and love TJ's need to go to their website and petition for a Dallas location. hopefully they'll be inundated with requests and will be forced to at least take the Dallas area seriously as a potential market. go to www.traderjoes.com

    2. cooper281c Sep 12, 2008 07:52 AM

      We went to TJ's almost every day when we lived in Burbank and in 16 months we spent more than $100 TWICE. It's actually difficult to spend that much money there.

      I agree with everyone! I have been dying for TJ's to come to Dallas since we got here from Burbank in '04! We even joke that we'd drive all the way to Southlake if one opened there.

      I so miss their WW two-point frozen eggplant parmesan, and I have contacts on the West and East Coasts who mail me the honey whole wheat pretzels and dark chocolate ... sigh ...

      The closest thing we've found really is Sprouts. The fact that Sprouts carries so many of their own name-brand items is much like TJ's, and the prices are reminiscent, if not quite as mind-blowing. Try Sprouts until TJ's decides to come here. They'd be mobbed! And it would all be worth it!

      1. lizlemon Sep 8, 2008 11:20 PM

        my thoughts exactly, maybe someone from trader joes will read this and open one here! trader joes and pinkberry and it will be perfect. i miss the garlic fries and steal cut oatmeal!!! let's see that is why folks think i am mad for driving away a half tank of gas to get food, CM for bone in ribeye, fresh cut flowers, and harry weinhard's root beer and fancy italian yogurt. WFoods for grass fed beef, and organic chicken. I would suggest WF frozen section you may find something tasty but of course not like TJ's. Then off to Asian World or H mart. Now H mart fit's one of those 'take out of towners' places, but of course will be more heavy on the asian side but great variety and prices. Going to TJ's website to vote for a dallas location now...

        4 Replies
        1. re: lizlemon
          LSUTxTiger Sep 11, 2008 11:37 PM

          I lived in the Bay Area for a while, I absolutely loved TJ's. Their graham crackers are phenomenal. Every once in a while, I have friends mail some to me when I crave smores. Lizlemon, I see you're a fan of Henry Weinhard's as well. I first tried it while in California at my local Safeway. It has since become my absolute favorite root beer. I can only imagine how much better it would be if they switched to cane sugar. My nearby Albertson's and Tom Thumb have recently become stocked with Henry's here in North Arlington. I had been previously been paying $2.50 a bottle at the Soda Gallery in the Bishop Arts. After searching for it around my area, I found the brand one day while I stopped into Albertson's. You may luck out and find it closer to you than CM.

          1. re: LSUTxTiger
            lizlemon Sep 12, 2008 03:02 PM

            thanks for the post lsutxtiger, great to see another rootbeer fanatic! I first tasted the heavenly drink while on vacation in PNW pacific NW, thomas kemper is also good, there is another one from maine that is close to HW, but HW is still the best! I was in a panic when I had to move to the area and no one carried it, then I called the distributer b/c the stuff is bottled in ft worth, most places, CM plano, tom thumb, are always out when I go, so if i see them, I stock up!

            1. re: lizlemon
              Chicago Native Sep 13, 2008 04:22 PM

              You can also find HW at Market Street! I am finishing the last of my stash of TJ's that I drove back with me from Phoenix. It's pretty sad that one of the main reasons for driving to Phoenix instead of flying is because of my TJ addiction! I emailed them about a year ago asking for them to come here.

              When I moved here from Phoenix I went through withdrawals from TJ's and told my husband that we had to move back because nothing compares to TJ's in terms of quality & price.

          2. re: lizlemon
            jodycakes Oct 12, 2008 08:59 AM

            lizlemon - I agree with you!!! Just moving back to Texas from Los Angeles - sorely missing Pinkberry's and TJ's...
            And love love love the flowers from CM!!

          3. b
            Ben N Sep 7, 2008 07:01 AM

            There is no place like Trader Joes here. When I lived in Utah (that will likely never have a Trader Joes because of its liquor laws), I found a store called "Pirate O's" selling specialty foods that was opened by a guy who was upset that that there was no Trader Joe's in Utah, so he took a shot of opening is own version of the store.

            Here in Dallas, I would try...

            Sprouts Market -- Offers consistently good value on produce, meat, bulk dry goods, as wells as some specialty frozen items. They seem to have the same price/value philosophy of a TJ's, but have more fresh food. Their bakery department is somewhat reminiscent of a TJ's.

            World Market -- They have a very large and eclectic selection of lower price wines that may be at the same price point or slightly higher than TJ's. TJ's, however, always had at least one member of the staff who knew the wines very well and who could make good recommendations. World Market does not have this. They do have some specialty foods, though.

            1. twinwillow Sep 6, 2008 12:43 PM

              With regards to WF vs CM pricing, I find WF to be much less expensive for the same items. And, WF is cheaper than Kroger many times as well.

              1 Reply
              1. re: twinwillow
                Chile Pepper Sep 7, 2008 08:54 AM

                Your shopping list must be very different than mine. The produce prices at WF's are unbelievable to me. The quality is also much lower - at least at the location near me on Coit/Beltline. I guess they don't have enough turnover to keep their overpriced veggies fresh. I'm sure the bigger WF's "superstores" have better stuff.

                For the OP, now that I have a Sprout's near me, that is where I am doing a lot of my shopping. I've been very impressed with the quality and prices of the meat and produce and they have some really good bulk items (try the salt and pepper flavor kettle peanuts - YUM!) Most other things in the store are more expensive than they would be elsewhere. I don't know about the large vitamin/supplement section because I don't buy a lot of that stuff.

                I am still going to the regular grocery or Target for paper products, cleaning supplies, and other "dry goods."

              2. twinwillow Sep 6, 2008 12:39 PM

                I am very familiar with Trader Joe's having lived in California. Trust me. There is absolutely nothing in Dallas that even comes close to Trader Joe's!
                I once asked them why they didn't open a store in Dallas. They replied, "too much competition". With who, I wondered?

                1. c
                  Christnp Aug 27, 2008 02:53 PM

                  I don't understand why we don't have TJ's here. If you go to their website there's a way to make a request for a new location. Maybe if enough people do it they'll listen. I think Dallas would be a great market.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Christnp
                    mlschot Sep 5, 2008 04:35 PM

                    i've been requesting (as well as others) for a locaiton here for years...don't worry, it is coming, albeit slowly...aldi's is coming first...not the same as TJ's but related company, so it is coming. someday. hopefully soon.

                    1. re: Christnp
                      mdelno Sep 6, 2008 12:42 PM

                      I don't understand it either. They have expanded to the midwest and northeast, but have skipped over Texas. Could it be because of WF and CM competition? I know Dallas has a lot of ethnic groups, Calif. transplants, and upscale communities. I keep hoping they will enter the Texas market.

                      1. re: Christnp
                        mdelno Sep 6, 2008 12:58 PM

                        I just placed my request on their web site. I HOPE OTHERS WILL DO SO, LIKEWISE! You can find the request form on the CONTACT US site page.

                        1. re: mdelno
                          aurala83 Sep 10, 2008 08:00 AM

                          My understanding that the lack of TJ's basically in the middle of the country, including Texas has more to do with the middle of the country lacking a distribution facility, they have to keep their fabulous frozen foods frozen after all.
                          They need the proper infrastructure before they can add stores. And of course with so many transplants to Texas, given our current economy, they will have lots of takers!
                          Still, here's hopin!

                          1. re: aurala83
                            Chandavkl Oct 12, 2008 08:30 AM

                            In addition, Trader Joe's is looking for a certain demographic. There are wide areas of Los Angeles that do not have a Trader Joe's because it's not the yuppified neighborhood profile they're looking for. On the other hand in some parts of town there are two stores a mile apart. Look how gingerly they've moved into New York City, with fewer than a handful of stores, despite the roaring success of the existing stores where people have waited 15 to 30 minutes to check out.

                          2. re: mdelno
                            gastronomic indulgence Sep 11, 2008 03:03 PM

                            cool - i just did too! maybe if enough requests go thru...... maybe.... one can only hope!

                        2. kuidaore Aug 26, 2008 08:35 AM

                          I recently replaced TJ's soy protein and wheatgrass with Natural Grocers' bulk counterparts. TJ has the BEST price on soy protein, but NG's is very close. (Until now, I had an associate ship them from SoCal whenever she was there! She never lived in CA, but is hooked on TJ.) http://www.naturalgrocers.com/

                          I substitute TJ's packaged and frozen foods with stuff from here and there.

                          Someday TJ might get here...

                          1. c
                            Chile Pepper Aug 25, 2008 08:28 PM

                            There is nothing like TJ's. They offer value and interesting domestic and ethnic foods like no place else. I fill in the gap as best I can with the occasional trip to the sublime (and super expensive) Central Market combined with more frequent trips to the wonderful ethnic markets (Chinese, Mexican, and Middle Eastern) that are more prevalent in my Richardson neighborhood than they were in any place I've lived in Southern California.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: s546fd
                              Chile Pepper Aug 27, 2008 01:20 PM

                              They don't call it Whole Paycheck for nothing! I very rarely shop there, I like CM much better. I tend to spend a lot there because they have such a great selection of fancy foods that I am much more apt to buy them. I could really do some damage there if money was no object.
                              Their meat is very expensive.. check out their lamb rib chops. (also possibly the tastiest meat I've ever cooked, ah well.)

                              If you shop CM right, it's not bad at all though, I do agree. My usual shopping cart will be full of beautiful produce, and spices and dried fruit from the bulk section. The spices and dried fruit are MUCH cheaper than Kroger etc. You can fill a jar of basil up twice for 25 cents.

                              I really miss the gorgonzola I used to buy at TJ's all the time. You could get a decent sized piece for $2-3, costs me $7-8 at WF/CM or anywhere else.

                              1. re: Chile Pepper
                                gastronomic indulgence Aug 30, 2008 04:26 PM

                                i couldn't get enough of the "just chicken" and "just salmon" in the refrigerated case. super fresh, super convenient and tasted awsome..... still haven't found a comparable product for the price.

                                not to mention their soy and organics for the price TJs was known for.....

                            2. l
                              luniz Aug 25, 2008 09:15 AM

                              what is it about Trader Joe's you're looking for? I've never been to one, but my understanding is that it's a lot of frozen food and prepackaged produce? You should be able to get that at any area grocery store.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: luniz
                                healthyscratch Aug 25, 2008 10:47 AM

                                Well, Trader Joe's is a step or two above the frozen food and prepackaged stuff you'd find at a regular grocery store.

                                Their famous flyer
                                explains their product a little better, it was something we always looked forward to receiving when I lived in SoCal.

                                The bad news is that I haven't found anything like TJ's out here in almost 4 years, the good news is that Trader Joe's might be the only thing I really miss.

                                1. re: healthyscratch
                                  gastronomic indulgence Aug 25, 2008 11:25 AM

                                  well healthyscratch - i couldn't have said it better myself. thanks for posting the link to the flyer - i haven't looked at one in a while.

                                  love the flyer, love their products and especially love their prices.

                                  1. re: gastronomic indulgence
                                    Scagnetti Aug 26, 2008 08:10 AM

                                    <<love the flyer, love their products and especially love their prices.>>
                                    Couldn't agree more and their stores are understated and lack the full frontal marketing assault of CM and WF.

                              2. irodguy Aug 25, 2008 09:11 AM

                                There really isn't anything that really compares. Central Market would carry the same types of specialty foods, but not at a trader joes price.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: irodguy
                                  gastronomic indulgence Aug 25, 2008 09:35 AM

                                  that's what i figured.... thanks! i really trully wish they would just go ahead and open one here......

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