Trader Joes and our Conversion

So, yeah, yeah, I changed my mind.

When the Trader Joe’s opened on 14th Street a few years back, I couldn’t understand why everybody was making so much fuss over what I though to be a Long Island-based supermarket opening in the city. Ting and I even went in once and were not unduly impressed, which made the adulation for the place on the part of some customers all the more unfathomable.

Flash forward a few years. Now Michael is here. Now things have changed.

Today we woke up early, thanks to a full-on sonic assault from Michael that began at 6 AM and went on until 7:45, when we surrendered and crawled out of bed. We had to get breakfast and so we decided to combine that with a trip to the new Trader Joe’s market on Woodhaven Boulevard and Metropolitan Avenue, which is only technically a Forest Hills location. We got a Q23 in time, made it to McDonald’s, and afterwards walked the three blocks to the TJ’s, which shares the space with an (as yet still unopened) Michael’s crafts store and a Staples and is one parking lot away from Sports Authority and Home Depot.

We were floored. It was as if scales had fallen from our eyes. The place was moderately crowded but was filling up quickly at 10:30 on a Sunday morning. We began to inspect for food and prices.

The key word was “organic.” Trader Joe’s has a LOT of organic foods, a lot of vegan and vegetarian-friendly products, and all of the items we looked at today were for sale at unit prices that trounced those for comparable fare at C-Town, Key Food, Trade Fair, the Natural, Amish Market, and Organic Forever.

In short, we had a lot of fun, loaded up with 2 insulated bags and 2 paper shopping bags, and left. And yes, we now know that TJ’s is based out of Monrovia, CA.

In sum: we will be back, although the lack of a car will make it tricky. It is that compelling. Now it may just be the “new store” factor, although I earnestly hope not. The other stores I mentioned above, in particular the Natural, need a quick boot in the pants to wake them up to this new competition. I can definitely see people who live on the Forest Hills Gardens switching, to say nothing of the folks who are coming in from Middle Village, Maspeth, and Glendale.

So yeah, we changed our minds. I, for one, welcome our new supermarket overlords. All hail Trader Joe’s!

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~ by Rob Parrilla on November 11, 2007.

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