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Feb 13, 2014 05:07 PM

Do TJ's differ drastically in different regions?

After living in LA for 15 yrs (23 yrs in CA) we moved our family to Colorado. The store frequented the most in CA was Trader Joes and of course when we moved here TJ's didn't exist. I never thought I'd be so homesick for a store!

But tomorrow, a new TJ's is opening!! Hurray! I feel like an old friend is coming over.

So here I am so excited and making my list (praying it won't be a mad house tomorrow) and dawned on me that they may not carry some of my trusted items. I remember going to the TJ's in Scarsdale, NY right near my moms and I recall being disappointed. Do the regions vary greatly? has anyone experienced this??

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  1. Well, there are some product categories that are sourced regionally, including dairy, fresh bakery (especially bread), produce, and some fresh prepared foods (like salads). So milk, for instance, comes from different dairies, depending on where you are, and "artisan" bread will vary as it comes from different bakeries. For other items, I think it can vary somewhat, depending on availability, and also probably what sells locally.

    1. From reading comments on here, it appears the the quality of produce varies a great deal from region to region, and if also appears that the wine selection varies as well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: carolinadawg

        well, bc of a colorado law each chain can only have one wine shop that is separate from the store. So my local whole foods is the only one in the entire state that has a wine shop adjacent to it. I think it's silly law but my husband thinks it's to protect the small craft breweries. I still think it's somewhat silly. why not expand it to counties? so that said, the only wine shop that TJ's will have in the entire state, yes the entire state is in Denver. I'm only about 30 min away and go often but clearly won't be weekly. heck, with the wine. I'm more excited for my everyday groceries or many of them to be back in rotation.

        yes, and i did expect bread and dairy to be local or from closer sources.

        1. re: trolley

          That's too bad. TJ's is the best place ever to get wine. It's probably the top reason I shop there.

          1. re: carolinadawg

            i know :( me too or it was for me too. well, I actually go to Denver for Asian groceries so a stop at the wine shop is definitely in the future!

          2. re: trolley

            Same lame laws in nyc, one trader joes wine shop for the whole of manhattan...aka lines out the door and around the block the day before big snow storms! :)

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Not just NYC. It's one TJ's wine shop for the entire state of NY. We don't have wine in our Albany TJ's.

              1. re: AmyH

                At least you have beer! Having recently moved west of Boston where the beer and wine licenses are tied together.

                1. re: Berheenia

                  True! Here it seems that wine and liquor are tied together. At least they can be sold in the same (non-grocery) stores, but beer is sold in separate stores.

            2. re: trolley

              that is a silly law, but one I'm used to elsewhere.

              the dry and frozen goods seem to be consistent.

              1. re: trolley

                FYI- that Colorado law was in place WAY before there were craft breweries

            3. Yes, they differ.

              I used to be a Trader Joe's pack mules for my folks, carrying pounds of granola and jellies every year from California to Ohio. Then a TJ's opened near them and I thought "Huzzah"

              And yes - but no.

              They carried many identical items - basically all the shelf stable stuff. But the breads, dairy products, meats, etc - different. I called the headquarters and was told that they had regional buyers and that yes, some things would be different.

              Add in the state by state liquor laws and you will get a bit of a wiggle.

              But it's still an awfully nice chain : )

              1. I found that trader joes in CA had most of the same products as the one in nyc- may be different suppliers for fresh produce and dairy etc but still had same assortment of greek yogurts, dips, hummus, frozen foods, etc.... But the CA produce was 100xs better than nyc's ever is!
                Good luck!

                5 Replies
                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  I went! It was crazy but all the same things are there. Lines took forever but people were generally happy. I never got too much produce at TJ's so it wasn't too much of a concern. i went back the next morning and it was still crowded but the lines were much better. I'm so happy to have TJ's back in the rotation.

                  1. re: trolley

                    How exciting for you! I just end up multitasking in line on my iphone.... And since in nyc's store the line goes by the refridgerated section i just shop in line too! Haha...

                    1. re: Ttrockwood

                      thanks Ttrockwood. glad you understand my excitement! i moved here and i panicked bc they didn't have a TJ's.

                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      When i'm on the west coast i never buy the apples!!! I hit the berries first.....:)

                  2. I found that the TJ's in CA had the same products as the ones in Chicago. I didn't buy produce at either one because in CA I had roadside stands and Chicago the fruit markets. I'm now in Colorado and am excited to check out the stores here to see if they have my old favorites (haven't been near a TJ's in 2 years). I will probably try the location with the wine to see if they have my favorite Pinot that I used to get at TJ's in Chicago. None of the new locations are close to me at all so I'll have to make a special trip.