Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | February 12, 2011

For the Love of Trader Joe’s

I suppose that on some level, it’s a good thing that you can’t find a Trader Joe’s in every city, because if you did, most other small grocers would be out of  business in no time.

However, if that should ever happen, I wouldn’t mind one bit ~ and believe me, neither would you!

Does anyone remember a small chain of convenience stores in the late 50’s called Pronto Markets? Well, if you do, you are already familiar with the predecessors to Trader Joe’s.

In 1967, the original Trader Joe made the stores his namesake, re-decorated, updated his product mix and business model. OK, so he changed just about everything, but we are so glad that he did.

From that time on, Trader Joe’s became THE PLACE to buy quality foods at what seem to be ridiculously fair prices.

How do they do it, you ask?

Well, I would explain it by saying that they are simply a straightforward, honest business. They don’t have “sales”, they don’t make you carry a card that you have to swipe to get a lower price, they buy in volume, directly from suppliers, and bring in many products under their Trader Joe’s brand.

This simple statement, quoted directly from the Trader Joe’s website, says it all: “It’s not complicated. We just focus on what matters — great food + great prices = Value.”

What kind of value, you ask?

OK. Here is a specific example…While I was in Williamsburg recently, to help with my newborn grandson, Bennett, I purchased several standard size cans of coffee beans (13 oz.) – Trader Joe’s brand of Dark Roast, for $3.99 each. Eat your heart out Starbuck’s! Believe me, the savings were definitely worth the effort of hauling them onto the plane.

Now that is just one example, and the only exact price I can recall at the moment, but I can honestly say that I also saved at least half price on olive oil, dark chocolate, raw almonds, and several gourmet snacks I brought back to the campground.

But Trader Joe’s is not just about coffee, almonds and chocolate…they have just about everything else you would expect to find at a grocery store, although the selection may not be as broad as your average grocery chain.

Of course, there are some things that are better values than others, as documented in this online news article: 6 Things to Buy at Trader Joe’s

And, as always, there is the other side of the proverbial coin that must be addressed, so I give equal billing to the sister article of the one above: 4 Things Not to Buy at Trader Joe’s

Now, I can accept the writer’s downgrading of the sushi, produce and pre-made sandwiches because I have not had much experience with any of those products, but I will have to draw the line on the inclusion of “2 Buck Chuck” on the list, unless you are a true wine connoisseur whose taste buds might be offended by a less-than-vintage product.

But, for the average guys and gals in the world ~ and there are many ~ it is a joy to have the opportunity to experiment with wines without breaking the bank. Anyone else out there ever buy a bottle of wine with a fancy name and high price, only to find out that it did not meet your expectations?

Ah, but I digress, so I will step off of the soapbox…the main pint of this blog is to suggest that you check out the Trader Joe’s website and search for the store closest to you, and go there.

If you travel like we do, stop at a Trader Joe’s along your way, in addition to other local attractions.

I promise you will have a good time, rain or shine!



  1. I feel the same way! There are Trader Joe’s in Atlanta… and I’m thinking that it’d be worth the drive. 🙂

  2. […] You can learn how I feel about Trader Joe’s at this previous post. […]

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