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Aug 26, 2013 11:11 AM

How far would you drive to Trader Joe's?

I used to live within a mile of a TJ's and would go at least twice a week. Now I live about 10 miles away and rarely shop there.

On the other hand, Canadian (B.C.) shoppers make regular tips to Bellingham, WA (about 20 miles) and beyond to Seattle.

I guess I'm not a die-hard as I thought I was. :-)

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  1. except for nuts, i have basically given up on trader joe's, so i no longer go out of my way since a bag of almonds lasts me months. if there? i will still buy mustard, frozen artichoke hearts (when they have them), a particular salsa and their european-style yogurt, but these are not die-hard staples for me.

    their cheeses always disappoint, and i do not buy any of their processed or pre-made boxed/frozen stuff. i do not like that all the produce is packed in shrink-wrapped styro containers, so never buy it. i get better prices for avocados at costco.

    i loved it at first, especially when i still ate crackers and bread, but now that i am gluten-free? meh.

    oh, and btw, am in the boston area.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      I find their cheeses fantastic, and at great prices. What do you find disappointing about them?

    2. I like it, but I'm not a die hard. It's about 5 minutes from me in the same shopping center with my usual Safeway. I probably hit it once a week for a few items, but if it wasn't there, I probably wouldn't go at all.
      I see why people love it, but I'm lucky to have a nearby local specialty foods store that I like a lot better.

      1. The closest TJs to me is a two + hour drive. We try to go there once every few months since it's close to our closest Costco. We stock up on frozen veggies and some other stuff. Nothing major but things we really like and can't get anywhere else (hellllooooo Chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels!).

        We used to live 10 minutes away from one and made about the same number of trips; once every couple months. Now we live in the middle of nowhere. Trade offs.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Dee S

          Curious how you get frozen foods home in 2+ hours? Do you bring dry ice in a chest?

          1. re: josephnl

            Not Dee but when I go to places like Costco that are a decent drive away, I bring a cooler with ice packs. We have a few different ones of varying sizes. I also usually have a soft sided one in the car at all times.

            1. re: josephnl

              We make a day out of it and hit several stores so we have coolers and plan our trip so we hit the store with the most frozen/refrigerated items last. TJs sells frozen bottles of water for 19 cents so we use those in place of ice. Tightly packed, the coolers work great, even on hot TN days.

              No dry ice is needed. The freezer is well organized and prepared for the new stock in advance so it's a quick unload.

              We have driven 5 hours (made a weekend out of it) to hit a TJs in the past. In that case, we did dry goods shopping earlier and saved the frozen stuff for last. It's all about how well you can pack your coolers.

          2. When the ones near me get built, it'll be about 45-60 minutes for either location. I'll probably go every couple months to stock up on a few things from there that I like and have missed having, but I don't plan on making it a weekly trip or anything like that.

            To be fair, I live in the middle of nowhere and pretty much any specialty store is at least a half hour away, so an hour isn't that crazy. Only store near me is the regular grocery store.

            2 Replies
            1. re: juliejulez

              I'm in the same boat; middle of nowhere. Local stores are Kroger and Walmart with no specialty stores at all. Dislike both but deal with it for weekly shopping. Both of those are about a 15 minute drive (doing 60 MPH or so) so there are no special trips.

              The closest store we have now is a Dollar General and the "staples" are way overinflated. We're getting a Food Giant later this year but that's not much to be thankful for.

              1. re: Dee S

                Yup, same here. There's a King Soopers (which is Kroger) about 10 min away. Up in the nearest town about 15-20 minutes away there's a Wal-Mart, which I avoid at all costs, Target, which I find to not be much cheaper than the regular store closer to the house, and a Safeway, but it's very old and small. I do work in a more populous area, but there still isn't much to pick from. I did recently learn that there's some ethnic markets near my office, but without some decent planning and coming up with a list, that's not very convenient anyway.

            2. When they eventually open the Trader Joe's in Boca Raton, I'll make DH take me up there to check it out... it's about an hour's drive. But I wouldn't know if I'd go there regularly until I've seen it...