Trader Joe's
Trader Joe's Rocks -Love their chalk board art.

I’ve been an off- and on-customer of Trader Joe’s for years. The main reason I don’t frequent that grocery store as often as I like is the insane parking lot that every store in my area seems to have. The stores’ lots are just not large enough for it’s popularity making it an obstacle course to park. However, I think I’ve found a hidden gem as  new stores are popping up in many neighborhoods near my home, and one of them has a larger parking lot!

Trader Joe’s has been around since  1967 starting out in Pasadena, California. When I was a kid in the early ’80’s, there was one in my neighborhood that my parents would frequent for inexpensive wines and spirits. They slowly grew during the 1980’s and ’90’s, but their popularity really hit it’s peak this millennium with the opening of stores across the nation (including Arizona and the mid-west.) I became a regular shopper in the late ’90’s as there was one within walking distance from my apartment and I didn’t have to fight the parking  lot traffic to shop there.

However, once I moved out of that apartment, it just was too much of a hassle finding parking. But…I think I’ve found one I can actually shop and park at!

What’s so great about Trader Joe’s that makes me want to shop there more frequently?

  1. Their prices. Two large bags of groceries at TJ’s (affectionately known in these parts) can be under $50. At my local grocery store the same items would be closer to $80.
  2. The quality of their food. Much of their food is organic and isn’t over priced for the quality.
  3. Great frozen food choices. I’m not much of a cook, so when I’m hungry and Mr. LH isn’t (which is quite often) I can quickly heat up a TJ’s frozen meal that’s healthy and delicious.
  4. Prepackaged salads. I like salads but if I buy the ingredients and make them myself, the extra stuff often goes bad before I can eat it all. Purchasing smaller, pre-made salads makes more sense. TJ’s has a great variety to choose from.
  5. Two buck chuck! I’m not much of a wine drinker, but we keep a decent stock of the stuff in our pantry for company. I love TJ’s wine selection and you can’t beat the prices.

It also helps that Trader Joe’s is known for treating their employee’s quite well and more like a family. I’ve never seen a grumpy checker at TJ’s and I can’t say the same at my local chain grocery store (those people really don’t like their jobs based on their facial expressions!)

Are you familiar with Trader Joe’s? Shopped there recently?

19 Comments

  1. I have not been to Trader Joe’s yet, but I everyone that goes raves about it. The closest one is about 10 miles away, and is an area that I just never frequent. Maybe I will get out there soon though!!

  2. Love Trader Joe’s! Great international selection at unbelievable prices! Not to mention their customer service is top notch!

    • @Money Cone – I love their selection as well, especially considering the sizes of their stores. They do a great job presenting it.

      @Hunter – Store layout is really great, I agree. The stores also have a very welcoming feel to them.

      @Krantcents – It’s funny you mention the grocery strike. We almost had one recently and I was thinking that was just fine since I could shop at Trader Joe’s instead (and it’s better for me in the long run anyway.) 🙂

  3. Hunter - Financially Consumed Reply

    I have to agree, it is an awesome place to shop. Love the store layout and presentation…and the $2 wine (2-bick-chuck).

  4. We don’t have Trader Joes here in Canada but I have heard good things. I will definitely have to check it out next time I am in the US. Do you know if they have any stores in Minneapolis or Fargo. Those cities are the closest for me.

    • @Miss T – They have stores in MN – Minnetonka, Maple Grove, and St. Paul. They have a few others as well. None in North Dakota, though. If you do have a chance to check them out, definitely do!

  5. My wife is a regular along with the vegetable grocer and the supermarket. The supermarket strike a number of years ago forced us to find alternatives and we stayed with them.

  6. Well Heeled Blog Reply

    I love Trader Joe’s premade desserts. Their opera cake ($8) is amazing. Their tiramisu and cheesecakes are pretty darn good, and always popular at housewarming parties. Plus the cashiers are really nice.

    • @Kay Lynn – I haven’t shopped at Fresh n’ Easy in a while, but you’re right. There are enough alternatives to forgo the big grocery stores. It’s great to have so many options!

  7. I never heard about Trader’s Joe before, but it seems every body is happy about TJ, I’m pretty sure that they already been there at TJ. I must visit TJ someday.

  8. I live walking distance to Trader Joes. I’m talking easy walking distance — like, “Carrying a gallon of milk in each hand” type of walking distance. I LOVE it.

    • @Paula – I used to live that close to a TJ’s. It was great! When I plan my next move, I’ll have to take that into consideration and try and live within walking distance again. 😉

  9. They have some great vegetarian and vegan foods that aren’t easy to find.Love your post!

  10. I LOVE trader Joes! It is the only supermarket I will voluntarily go to…everyone is so nice and I like the fact that they don’t have a lot of choices. I know that sounds weird but I get overwhelmed when I see 92 different peanut butters at a normal grocery store

  11. Bret @ Hope to Prosper Reply

    I love Trader Joe’s. But the parking is a disaster, especially if I drive my my F150. What I do now is to park next door in the Stater Brother’s lot. Then, I walk over to TJs and get my milk, bread, fish, cheese and 2-Buck Chuck. I put all of that in my truck and then I stop by Stater Brothers to pick up the rest. It takes a little longer, but it costs a lot less and I get higher quality food.

  12. olivia34newton Reply

    Heard a lot of good things about this trader joes, well they must be very nice. I will give this a try very soon.

    • @Olivia -Trader Joes is great. It has some great prices and quality foods. Their stores are also aesthetically pleasing making it enjoyable to shop at. 😉

  13. i have never been to Traders Joes, and reading your review makes me wanna go there! 🙂

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