Get Your Social On

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Trader Joe's finally makes it to the Sunshine State

“It’s absolutely true!,” said Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s grocery chain. The rumors are no longer hearsay about the trendy grocery store coming to Florida. North Naples will be the future home to Florida's first Trader Joe's which will be located in Granada Shoppes south of Immokalee Road. A lease to a 14,000-square-foot retail outlet was recently signed and the store will open later this year.

“There are a lot of foodies in the area,” Mochizuki said. “We consider ourselves a neighborhood grocery store and it seems like a wonderful neighborhood for us to be part of.”

Monrovia, California based Trader Joe’s headquarters carries the most basic of food goods to the most exotic like a roasted seaweed snacks, truffle mousse pate made out of chicken and a frozen, ready-to-eat mandarin orange chicken dinners. About 80% of the store’s groceries are sold under the Trader Joe’s name. Anything under its own label doesn’t have artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.

The grocery chain is widely known for its bargain $2 Charles Shaw wine, which the Naples store will carry and store employees will be sporting Hawaiian-themed shirts, as “traders on the culinary seas.” Trader Joe’s has 360 locations in 30 states with another one opening Friday in Chicago. Mochizuki said she had no comment when asked if there would be other locations in Florida. “We don’t have anything else to announce right now,” she said.

“We cut out the middleman whenever possible and we buy direct,” Mochizuki said. “In order to keep our costs down, we don’t do branded television advertising. We don’t do the weekly newspaper advertising. So we do limited advertising.” Instead of mainstream advertising grocer sends out its “Fearless Flyer” that highlights a selection of interesting products to residents near its stores and has been described as a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine.

Fortune magazine published a story more than a year ago stating that Trader Joe’s was unlikely to expand to Florida because the state is so far from its distribution centers. Industry insiders said it would be difficult for the company to efficiently get products to the state.

Estero, Florida resident, Karen Polacek said news of Trader Joe’s coming to Southwest Florida made her day on Wednesday. “We shop at the Trader Joe’s in Minneapolis and also are fans of their counterpart Aldi’s - still hoping they will bring one of those to the area,” she said in an email.

“They are usually small stores with great products. They package for both families, but also in a small quantity for one or two,” she said.
Trader Joe’s Company started in 1958 as a southern California chain of convenience stores known as Pronto Markets. In 1967, Pronto Markets became Trader Joe’s, which at first operated as small wine and cheese shops.

Over the last 40 years, Trader Joe’s has evolved and grown as a national grocer. It offers more than 2,000 unique grocery items under its label. The company does not sell its products online.
An opening date has not yet been set for the store in North Naples but is expected to open before the new year.

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