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trader joes in SWFL

so they even announced it on the local news....SWFL will be the first area of Florida to get a Trader Joes....

but the local paper called it a "foodie" destination...
so is it Foodie or Chowie?

should i even care?

should i just wait and decide for myself?

all i know about them is the few posts i have read here on CH....

but i doubt publix is quaking in their boots either...
since they just opened a "hybrid" publix store here last year..
which i have been to a few times...

so is Trader joes the Apple of grocery stores?

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  1. Why not just wait until it's open, have a wander through a couple of times and see what it's like?

    They're not out to replace Publix, and Publix knows it...

    But it's a cool concept, nice stores, and a nice source for things that just don't appear on "regular" grocery stores from time to time.

    9 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      How different is it from Whole Paycheck?

      1. re: rhnault

        It's very, very different than Whole Foods -- there isn't much of the "washed in the tears of angels" b.s. that is a transparent excuse to double the price.

        Some of it's expensive, some of it's surprisingly cheap -- but a lot of it is things that you simply can't find anywhere else.

        I don't think it would be a replacement for a regular grocery, but rather a complement.

          1. re: sunshine842

            "the "washed in the tears of angels" b.s. that is a transparent excuse to double the price"

            maybe that's why TJ's hasn't made it to South Florida yet? i hate having to go to Whole Foods for stuff i can't find at Publix, etc. i avoid it like the plague until the need arises :(

            1. re: crowmuncher

              Agree, THe lighting, staging, and overall food porn merchandising of Whole Foods does not warrant the high prices.

          2. re: rhnault

            It's basically a grocery store taking on the Pier 1 concept. I'm pretty stoked about them finally coming to Florida, especially so close to home for me.

            1. re: bagofwater

              that's actually a really good description...

          3. re: sunshine842

            i probably will wait and decide for myself anyway...
            just wanted a few more opinions...

            also where its going to be is halfway across the county...
            its not very convenient to shop at ..not when i have 3 publixes on the way home and one just down the street..plus the super walmart is 2 minutes up the road..(yes its 2 minutes i timed it)
            plus theres a place called Wynns market (that also does prepared foods) 2 blocks away from where i work..
            so unless TJ is some knock me down awesome stuff...its only going to get an occasional visit

            1. re: srsone

              Just a fair warning, Trader Joe is addictive. Once you go, you're going to return--not competitive with Publix but a special place on its own. You will really enjoy shopping there. Not sure if they will allow wine to be sold, but they have a terrific wine selection. You can skip Trader Joe for the produce part but concentrate elsewhere. Their prices are super low on items that cost a good deal more elsewhere.

          4. Trader Joe’s grocery store coming to North Naples this year
            Updated September 7, 2011

            I'm so excited! I hope I'm not working on their Grand Opening day.

            5 Replies
            1. re: FunCal

              Where is the distribution center going to be? I am in MI during the summer and love TJ, miss it so much when I come down to Sarasota for the winter. Hopefully Sarasota will be in their future.

              1. re: Mother of four

                yes i wonder about that as well...
                the last report i heard said that TJ's wasnt coming to florida anytime soon because there was no DC this far south...

                1. re: srsone

                  That is exactly what I heard. Was in TJ a few weeks ago and asked when in FL and the answer was that they were now going to Texas, so this is a big surprise....if it is in fact true.

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    TJ's website shows new stores "coming soon" in Naples, FL, Mt. Pleasant, SC, and Athens, GA. There are currently 7 stores in the state of Georgia, so I'd imagine they'll figure something out with regards to a distribution center.

              1. re: overrice

                As stated above Publix is "Probably not quaking in their boots"; but if I were Whols Foods Markets, TJ is more directly targeting the same customer, only at lower prices, a lot lower!!!

                1. re: ospreycove

                  To me, the Whole Foods customer and the TJ customer are are at two different ends of the spectrum!

                  1. re: Mother of four

                    When I look at TJ, they seem to have a definite bias towards organically produced foods ie their excellent private label chocolate and the Niman Ranch organic meats, the bbq ribs, (frozen) are very good.. I think the target consumer for both outlets are people who know what they are looking for in quality foods organic and/or conventional. TJ is similiar to WFM in their gluten-free, vegetarian,vegan, and wines assortments, even though TJ does an extensive private label mix of quality wines. Also both stores have professed not to use hfcs, artificial flavors, trans fats, colors or preservatives, GMO, and MSG. The one area where TJ took the lead over WFM was they announced about a year ago they would not stock any food products from CHINA. A very bold and smart move. TJ sells only fair trade certified coffee where John Mackey, Chairman of WFM is opposed to fair trade buying, must be his Libertarian philosophy showing! For those marketing similiarities I think TJ is more likely to take a piece of WFM's biz than a mainstream supermarket like Publix.

                    1. re: ospreycove

                      You know a whole lot more then I do, my only comparison was price wise. WF is so pricy and TJ is the complete opposite. I defiantly would shop at TJ, not so much at WF. I do like their very inexpensive wine that is at the front of the store when you walk in, at WF, have never had a unpleasant bottle, on the other hand the Two Buck Chuck is very unreliable , one time not bad and the next time awful. Well, maybe there is hope that they will be in Sarasota in the not too distant future. After all, if we can get a Ooh La La maybe a TJ is in our future!!

                      1. re: Mother of four

                        Mom o'4....You had to mention the O L L words now I will be thinking of how I can justify a trip today to get some goodies!!!!!
                        I think you will be pleased at the assortment comparison between WF and TJ. TJ has very high quality and lower prices....My kind of place!!!

                        1. re: ospreycove

                          Mine too. Now, we have to mount a campaign to have them come to Sarasota! We also have an empty Borders store. In a good location with lots of parking too!

                          1. re: ospreycove

                            I've been thinking about the Naples location for the first TJ in Fl, and the more I think the stranger that location seems to me. First and foremost Naples has four months, at the most, when the population is at it's peak, after that the city is like a morgue. Why wouldn't they open in Tampa, Orlando,Sarasota if we're talking about the west side of the state? Those cities have a more permanent population, yes it goes down in off season but nothing like Naples. Just asking!!

                            1. re: Mother of four

                              I think after they get rolling, you will find them in the other cities that you mentioned.....At least its a start..

                              1. re: Mother of four

                                I had that thought, too, but figured the Powers That Be have their reasoning.

                                I've seen "that reasoning" be as inane as some muckety-muck has a winter place in Naples, so they're putting the first store there so he can keep an eye on it.

                                That would be counterintuitive for the way I've seen TJ's operate, but stranger things have happened.

                                1. re: Mother of four

                                  @Motheroffour, like I said in my post, I live in Naples...we have a GLUT of grocery stores...this isn't New York or San Fran! We have Publix, WF, FM, Bravo, Sweetbay, Costco, Sam's and a bunch of smaller independent health food/ethnic food stores. I think it's crazy to put TJ's here...hope I'm wrong but there's only so much $$ to go around...I can't imagine a TJ's making through our desolate summer with far less shoppers. Then, again, maybe they figure Naples is the land of millionaires, no problem. heh.

                                  1. re: Val

                                    There is a Bravo in Bradenton; WOW what a store for Latin products, only butcher dept. that carries goat, whole and in cuts. I understand the TJ in Naples is in an old Border's location.....There is a vacant Border's on S. Tamiami in Sarasota, that would be a great loc. for them (meaning me!!!).

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      TJs (Aldi) are the most secretive companies. Last year one of the owners Theo Albrecht passed away. The USA stores would not even confirm the news. Aldi now has over 1100 stores; TJs close to 400. Maybe they work together, maybe they do not. Aldi has a huge distribution center in Haines City; very convenient to the Tampa and Orlando areas. So far they have not opened another center for the Miami area (where they are opening more and more stores). TJs generally have very little warehouse space and it is still a mystery where they will store the merchandise. The Naples store (ex Borders) is much larger than the typical TJs Maybe that is one reason they have chosen the location. Most TJ shoppers still use the super markets for their regular purchases. TJs and Aldi pay much higher wages than Publix, but they expect more (and you do get far better service). You will see cashiers sweeping the floors and re-stocking. Managers too, must be top flight or they don't last more than a few days..

                                      1. re: ospreycove

                                        Ah, the Bravo here in MI is a chain restaurant,so I got excited when I saw Bravo Bradenton...guess not huh!!! It is a chain, but have never had a bad meal there. I agree about the Borders in Sarasota, in fact I think that I recommended it in one of my earlier posts...would work for me too!

                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                          Three years have passed since ospreycove wished for a TJs on S Tamiami in Sarasota. I'm glad to report that wishes do come true.

                                          4101 S. Tamiami Trail (somewhat south of Bee Ridge)

                                        2. re: Val

                                          It's truly amazing that all those stores make it there. I didn't realize that you have both a Sams and a Costco. We have had a Sams in Sarasota for quite a while, and hopefully Costco will be opening here. If and when it does it will be very close to my home..yea! They also will be having a gas station..more yeas! That is if it ever gets off the ground. I would be twice as excited if the TJ's came.
                                          Love to shop at Jamie's for clothes when I am in Naples!!! Much better shopping then Sarasota.

                                2. re: Mother of four

                                  I disagree. Here in Western MA they are right next door to each other , practically, and most people go from one to the other on shopping day.

                            2. Trader Joe's is a trend setter. They took advantage of the glut of wine and marketing Charles Shaw wine at a rock bottom price creating the wine phenom: Two Buck Chuck.

                              Prices are very fair and they mainly private label their merchandise. I've gotten great cheese in other stores and would be happy to drive there any time. I'll be in line the first day. Immokalee Rd isn't that far. LMF

                              1. I'm thrilled. Usually I drive back and forth to New York about every other month and there are always bags from Trader Joes in the back of my suburban. As I look around my kitchen, there is a bag of their Lemon Heart Cookies, a box of their dried green beans , a bag of their butter almond thins and a box of their dark chocolate and pistacio nut covered English toffee (um, yum). The brown rice medley is good and I am crazy for their harvest grain blend. They have a great selection of grains, rices, flours and so forth, at much better prices than Whole Foods or Adas.
                                As you can tell by my rambling, yes, I will be there on opening day.

                                1. The ownership of Trader Joe's and Aldi's has a very interesting past. The Albrecht brothers, Karl and Theo, took over their Mother's business in 1946, after serving in the German Army during WWII. Both Billionaires, they have topped the list of Germany's wealthiest for many years. Quiet unassuming and very philanthropic. One brother was kidnapped for ransom, Theo died in 2010 Karl is now retired. Their empire stretches around most of the globe.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ospreycove

                                    LOVE Trader Joe's! My in-laws in Deltona always ask the guys at TJ's when they're gonna put one in Florida when she visits my local TJ's (in Tyngsboro, MA). I'm actually eating their wasabi mayo now (used as a dipping sauce for the Costco cilantro lime shrimp - YUM!). The only "problem" I have with TJ's is they have a bad "habit" of discontinuing products once you fall in love with them, but that's usually on the products that don't sell well.

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      And the adage is - "where Aldi's go, Trader Joe's follows". Didn't think it was going to happen here after they had done their market research and poo-poohed Florida worthy of having their stores here BUT they must have reconsidered (no-brainer considering all the transplants, visitors and snowbirds from up North), They opened in IL after I moved down here and last visited back home, so have only had baskets, bags and cartons of TJ goodies mailed or hand-carried here. I am SO hooked on many of their products and am counting the days when I need to drive 2½ hours to Naples. Over the years, I have whined to TJ's, followed the boards, read and contributed to blogs, and done tons of research for news, so when it was announced last week, thought my eyes were deceiving me! And for anyone still in disbelief, just go to their own web site and check out New Store Openings, SE, and it says Naples FL - Coming Soon! Yayyyy!

                                    2. How many more grocery stores can Naples support...I mean, really, folks...I visited Trader Joe's when my son lived in San Francisco...it is a *niche* grocery store--they had a few nice things for me personally but they are not as good as Fresh Market, in my opinion. So I will be curious to see what happens here...I am ALL for the *JOBS* it will create...but not sure how long they will last...and I will say this on their side: They will occupy the recently-vacated Borders building...at least they are not clearing otherwise green space for their enterprise, so that is very GOOD!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Val

                                        now if they had taken the unfinished building on 951 and davis....(which is much closer)

                                        i might go there more..

                                        but we will just wait and see...
                                        i still have to drive across the county to get to the hybrid publix...
                                        which will be kinda the same time to drive..

                                        1. re: srsone

                                          srsone..have you been to one of their stores? If so, what did you like?

                                          1. re: Val

                                            have i been to a trader joes before?? no
                                            wasnt any in CT before i moved to florida..

                                            so this will be the first one

                                      2. Florida is such a strange market. It almost seems to be set up by 'County'. You can travel to Ft. Lauderdale (Broward) and have totally different chain stores and restaurants than you find in Palm Beach or Miami-Dade county. And the West Coast of FL is totally different.

                                        I've never been to a Trader Joe's but always hoped we'd get one.

                                        We are seeing an increase in Fresh Market stores pop up. Ft. Lauderdale is getting a brand new one built and the one in Boca Raton just opened a few months ago. I love this store. It's a smaller version of Whole Foods with all kinds of different items. Their pre-prepared food selection is HUGE. The decor is almost like being in a Market Theme store in a theme park. It's comfy and I always spend way too much there.

                                        2 Replies
                                          1. re: FTLToday

                                            Where is the Trader Joes in Boca and Ft. lauderdale?

                                          2. The German owners don't talk much about it, but they do own both Aldi and TJs., Yes Trader's will open shortly in the Naples area. Have not announced official opening date.
                                            We have an ongoing struggle in our family. We are in Central Florida and my daughter in California. Always the same questions. "When is TJ's going to open in Florida"? and "When is Aldi opening in California" Aldi is opening stores left and right in Florida and now has about 50. Publix might not be quaking in their boots, but stiff competition is competition. Aldi now has over 1100 stores in the USA. TJ finally made it to New York. Opened 8 stores and have caused traffic jams in all their neighborhoods. They now have stores all over Georgia and you can be sure they will do the same thing in Florida. Some of the Publix biggies quite concerned with the present situation. They spent hundreds of millions buying out most of the
                                            Albertson's and some are now just marginal. Aldi takes no prisoners. A few weeks ago, they
                                            opened in a strip mall in Sanford, where Walmart has been for years.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: reinaldok

                                              I have been in Aldi's a few times, and I find most of the stock is private label goods some imported from Eastern Europe, S.A. and other unfamiliar source areas. In general the Aldi's selections seem to be basic, standard quality to in some cases lower quality, they operate on a cash onl basis, have self-policing shopping carts, (you deposit coins in a lock and get them back when you return the cart to the cart area), and merchandising is on wooden pallets. All of these measures are intended to keep their prices very low as well. I just am not sure of the quality, i.e. how can you sell "fresh" eggs at $0.59 a dozen? To view a sample flyer click link below.


                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                One of the national trade magazines recently mentioned in an article that there are really only three stores where shoppers look for private label brands. Trader Joes, Aldi and Costco. 80% of Aldi is private label. Aldi has something unknown in the industry. Double guarantee. That is if you are not satisfied with a product , bring it back and they will give you another one free PLUS your money back. Since they opened in our neighborhood, I have taken back one over ripe avocado. They do not take credit cards or personal checks but they do take debit cards. Many feel that the smart buyers shop at Aldi and save probably close to half of their food bills. We still buy certain things that they do not carry at Publix or Winn Dixie. Interesting Aldi always has some non-food merchandise at really low prices. You never know what they will have. Might be garden tools or pillows or generators. Once you start at Aldi you never change back.

                                            2. Since I'm in the Cape, this may as well be in Tampa as often as I drive down to Naples, especially when season hits

                                              1. So very excited to hear that TJ's will be opening in SWF... It will be a great and welcome addition to the "grocery world" in Naples. I have found WF to be massively disappointing, especially with their fresh produce, and often Publix is a better choice. TJ's has amazing frozen and prepared foods, and some of the best frozen ethnic food choices. Does anyone have a sense of the opening date as yet?

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: truro

                                                  havent heard anything about a date...

                                                  but i would guess its going to take at least a few months to convert a book store into a grocery store...

                                                  1. re: srsone

                                                    TJs are usually smaller than most supermarkets. It would appear that they since they do not as yet have a dist center in Florida, I would suppose that they will use half the property for that purpose. In Altamonte Springs (Orlando area) ALDI took over an old Winn Dixie and use half. The other half is now an Office Depot.

                                                    1. re: reinaldok

                                                      but what they are taking over is already small...and afaik they are only using the area of the building that used to be a borders book store...the rest of the building has tenants already

                                                      1. re: srsone

                                                        There's a distribution center in Atlanta that I'm sure they'll use initially. It'd make sense for them to have a more central center for FL though and for that Orlando would probably make the most sense.
                                                        TJ's opening within driving distance of Miami is some of the best news I've had since moving here.

                                                2. have been to TJ's in DC and it seemed like a food coop on steroids. it was not far from a WF--both have different and overlapping clientele. when i think TJ i think of hippies who have made it and when i think of WF i think of yuppies who have made it.

                                                  1. I am excited to hear that TJs will soon come to Florida. I moved here from Los Angeles, and one of the things I miss the most are things I could buy at Trader Joes. A lot of great products for great prices. Hope they come to Tallahassee next. . . .

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: SouthernFoodie08

                                                      We would really like them in Sarasota next....you can be third!!! LOL!

                                                    2. The TJ story is truly amazing. San Clemente, California - There are two TJs - One in same center as movie house. Other in strip mall, between TWO supermarkets. Parking in both TJs close to non existent. Seems both TJs always packed. Ralph's (Kroger) has opened brand new market with enough parking for an NFL stadium. Been open over one year, literally close to empty. Cashiers milling around passing the time of day. Interesting TJs tells you (same as ALDI) that they do not carry all your grocery needs and that you will have to complete your shopping somewhere else.. I understand New York - same situation. - Just what is the reason.
                                                      I think part is that TJs hires first rate grocery people and pays them well. and your typical super - well better left untold. You can rest assured Naples will be exactly the same. TJs always crowded. Customers lauding TJs and telling horror stories about the supermarkets.

                                                      1. just want to reply to the spate of comments about Naples being 4 mos city and not able to sustain another niche store:
                                                        since i work in Naples i get a feel of the change from May thru Oct and it gets busier every yr. yes its busier in season but that only means it takes 10 more minutes to get someplace. if you think i may be wrong just travel on Pine Ridge to and from work (8am and 4pm). although Wild Oats was never busy, when WF bought them and moved to a better location its been going like gangbusters (even with Publix placing their own "gourmet" store across the street). another sign of the times is that the Darden Group which owns Capital Grill has just opened (soft opening) Seasons 52 right next to CG so here is another successful business that thinks NAples is ready for expansion.
                                                        basically Mercato has been a game changer and North Naples is the new downtown Naples and it appears restaurants and businesses and people are coming back.

                                                        Darden Restaurants
                                                        5900 Lake Ellenor Dr, Orlando, FL 32809

                                                        1. Wow, I didn't even realize there is an entire discussion thread here on CH about Trader Joe's coming to SWFL : )

                                                          But- I nearly jumped out of the passenger seat of my friend's vehicle the other day when I saw a "Coming Soon: Trader Joe's" sign on the front of what used to be Borders on US41 in North Naples. Woohoo! A TJ's! That was actually the first I'd heard of it. Kindof neat to now see this thread on CH :)

                                                          1. new update in the local paper....

                                                            no date yet but now they are saying it will open sometime early next year now

                                                            1. new update...
                                                              posted in the local paper...Opening February 10,2012


                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: srsone

                                                                Thanks for the update. We're in Venice and don't get the news on that.

                                                                1. re: OH2FL

                                                                  Yea! That's my birthday! WHAT a present!!Yippee!!

                                                              2. The wait is over..................

                                                                Trader Joes is now open!!

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: OH2FL

                                                                      Did anyone go? I was out of town, but two of my neighbors told me it was PACKED. One of my neighbors texted me on opening day that it was the biggest traffic jam he'd seen in Naples (he was just driving by), and 4 police officers were directing traffic. My next door neighbor actually went to TJ's the next day, and also she said it was crowded, there were 3 police directing traffic, they had to park and walk a bit because parking was so packed, and there were wall-to-wall people inside. She said they had sold out of several items, ran out of shopping carts, etc. Wow! I'm looking forward to going once the craziness dies down :)

                                                                      1. re: BeachyChic

                                                                        It is really not that wonderful. I like Trader Joe's but this is hype mainly.

                                                                        1. re: BeachyChic

                                                                          Went on opening day in late afternoon. We were in a terrific traffic jam in S Fort Myers(fatality type) which made the 25 min. cashier line more tolerable to hub. I knew what I wanted from reading product list online. Hub got in line and I braved the crowd to find items missed on first and second pass- thru, dropping stuff into his cart! Lots of items were out by then. They really need police inside to direct traffic! I have always wanted T. J's to come because I often see their products rated highly in Consumer Reports. Prices were great!

                                                                          1. re: dgeiser

                                                                            It was PACKED and still is...I fear they will need ANOTHER traffic light there, so close to the traffic light just north of that store...ugh! I did go on Friday night but only got the items I already knew I liked (their hummus and their lightly smoked sardines)...but noticed their 1/2 gallon of milk was $1.99! That's even less $$ than Walmart charges. But I could not even reach it because of all the people so I'll go again when the hype settles down...I live right nearby and I could walk, so I think I WILL walk instead of battle the parking situation. I was on my way home from work Friday night so figured I'd try it that first night.

                                                                    2. I love Trader Joes! I always go when I am in CA, and always hoped we would get them here in FL. They pick just a few of the best organic products, and sell them cheap! Their wine selection and prices are amazing, in CA you could get a $5 bottle of delicious wine! Can't beat that! They had really great food at cheap prices, nothing at all like Whole Foods. Good cheese selection too!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: chantillylace

                                                                        I was there opening day-total insanity with parking and jam packed inside and in parking lot.

                                                                        Went back yesterday and still jam packed! That will lessen in side the store in time, but outside there will always be insufficient parking space. Encore Bank and other got screwed on this deal!

                                                                        The 2 buck chuck wine is ok for $2.99, spend a little more and get a lot more wine quality for your $$.
                                                                        Produce is underwhelming.
                                                                        Tops are lower priced wines, inexpensive tasty cheeses, varied organic items, great frozen specialty TJ's items, and some wasabi seaweed for $.99 that I love. Just for starters.
                                                                        It won't hurt whole foods or Publix-it's in its own niche.
                                                                        Worth a visit...in a couple weeks to let the buzz settle down.

                                                                        1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

                                                                          Was there yesterday. I really disagree with you about the parking. I think there is adequate parking. We didn't have any trouble finding a space. For the mad rush that has been going on I don'tt imagine there could ever be enough parking, but as things settle down to normal traffic, it will be just fine. Certainly no more or less space then the other TJ's that I shop at.
                                                                          It's quite a nice store, and looking forward to it opening in Sarasota.

                                                                            1. re: triff

                                                                              Talk about no parking. That will be ridiculous.

                                                                              1. re: triff

                                                                                Saw it in the paper first thing this morning. I was told when I was in the TJ's in Naples that they would be opening here this summer, but no idea where. I was quite surprised at the Room To Go store as it was the last in my thoughts, but am thrilled with the location. About 15 min from my house and on the right side of the street too!!
                                                                                I'm sure the parking will be fine after they settle in and the stampede is over with. As I said before, I have never been to one store that has had miles of parking, but never had a problem finding a space. They might have parking in the back too...don't know, have never been there,they know what they are doing, have done it 300 and some times.

                                                                        2. ok..we finally got a chance to go check it out....

                                                                          first..this store is TINY...3.5 aisles maybe 4 if you count the wall as an aisle....

                                                                          large wine section...(this is normal for most stores i have been in here in florida) and i dont drink so i could care less about 3 dollar wine...

                                                                          and the smallest little checkout stands ...that face the wall and have you exit at the wall...

                                                                          so i am trying a few of the things...

                                                                          but i didnt find anything i couldnt get anywhere else...between Publix,Winn Dixie,Sweetbay..and a local place called Wynn's....(i dont shop at whole paycheck so they dont count)...i wouldnt go out of my way for

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: srsone

                                                                            Tiny? Well yes compared to Publix, but it's not a Publix and never tried to be. The checkout stands always seem to face a wall, but that is a strange thing to hit on, actually until you mentioned it I never thought twice about it. The checkout it fabulous...you just push your cart up and the wonderful checkout people unload it. It is not a store for everyone, and obviously not you, but that's fine with the rest of us TJ's fans, just more for us!

                                                                            1. re: srsone

                                                                              Agree, doesn't seem like a store up you alley. Tell me if you could find these items I bought at Publix (which I despise) Winn Dixie (which I've written off) or Sweetbay:

                                                                              - Roasted salted seaweed
                                                                              - Korean-style kalbi shortribs
                                                                              - Black bean taquitos
                                                                              - Cilantro lime dressing
                                                                              - Meyer lemons and blood oranges
                                                                              - Haas avocados for <$1 each
                                                                              - Mango mochi
                                                                              - Smoked salt with grinder
                                                                              - Frozen polenta w/ tomatoes and spinach
                                                                              - Naan (regular and garlic)

                                                                              As for the setup (checkout, etc), it's no different than other Trade Joe's stores around the country. Not sure what you like, but if you post I can let you know some stuff you may want to try!

                                                                              1. re: lax2mia

                                                                                >- Smoked salt with grinder<

                                                                                Not to mention the inexpensive price for the salt/grinder... AND the salt is wonderful.

                                                                                1. re: lax2mia

                                                                                  only time i eat seaweed is when i have sushi.....so that would be a no..
                                                                                  i have had korean bbq...but usually at a restaurant
                                                                                  dont eat black beans
                                                                                  cilantro tastes like soap...
                                                                                  lemons i only buy if needed..blood oranges never had one
                                                                                  dont like avocado...
                                                                                  never had mochi..but mango doesnt agree with me
                                                                                  salt i usually use kosher
                                                                                  since im the only one in my family that even knows what polenta is...i get very rarely
                                                                                  i have had naan...but not regular enough to warrant a trip to buy it...

                                                                                  and ive never been in a Trader Joe until this one so i have no idea what a "normal" one is like

                                                                                  i like may things...but with a 4 yo to feed...she doesnt care so much about what it is or where it comes from yet...

                                                                                  1. re: srsone

                                                                                    Trader Joe's also doesn't pretend to be everyone's ideal place to shop.

                                                                                    If it doesn't work for you, well -- it doesn't work for you.

                                                                                  2. re: lax2mia

                                                                                    lax2mia, you forgot to list the frozen beef tamales!!! haha...they are pretty neat, shredded beef, not ground beef...REAL ingredients...$2.29 for 2 frozen tamales. We liked them! I would say that this TJ is similar to the only other one I've been to in San Francisco. Yes, TJ's is not for everyone, and that's okay.

                                                                                    1. re: Val

                                                                                      i guess i'm not trader joe snob material.......

                                                                                      and thats ok by me

                                                                                      i guess for store snobbery ill stick with Wynn's ---at least they carry Nueske's bacon....(which is smoked in the tears of angels)

                                                                                      1. re: srsone

                                                                                        LOL, no snobbery intended...and if you recall, I wasn't so crazy about ANOTHER food store opening here but what the heck, they're utilizing the vacant Borders space...I like a few of their items and it has brought badly needed jobs, so I stop in there maybe once a week, I live right across the street. But I know many people leave without buying anything and are shaking their heads "What's the big deal?"

                                                                                        1. re: Val

                                                                                          i dont know either...its just wierd when you see people posting about it and saying "oh god i crawled across the state for 4 hours just to shop here!!!...nomnomnomnomnom!!!"

                                                                                          and i go there and its Meh...

                                                                                          tho the roasted garlic hummus i had is pretty good with pretzel chips...

                                                                                2. Trader Joe's opening date in Tampa is March 21, 2014.