When the ceremonial Lei is cut at 8 a.m. Friday, Trader Joe's will officially be open for business in Sarasota.
The neighborhood grocery store's arrival to town has been well documented and wildly anticipated by Patch readers, who swear they will drive from Tampa and beyond for this Trader Joe's.
"I am making the 1 1/2 hour drive to Traders Jones new Sarasota store this weekend!!" Patch reader wrote, echoing similar sentiments from those living north of the Skyway. "Please keep coming North, we would love to have a Trader Joe's in Pinellas County!"
The Sarasota Trader Joe's the second in Florida — the first was open earlier this year in Naples and a third will open in Gainesville later this year. The Sarasota store is 11,200 square feet and replaces the former Rooms To Go store at 4101 S. Tamiami Trail.
To help welcome Trader Joe's to the community, the crew for a lei cutting ceremony to welcome new customers – Trader Joe’s style. Festivities are expected to continue throughout the day. Trader Joe's grand openings traditionally feature with live music, free raffles for prizes, food demos and more.
And expect it to be busy because the store's team captain thinks it will be, reports The Herald-Tribune:
"Naples opened with a bang," Linda Moffa, the store "captain" — Trader Joe's-speak for general manager — said Tuesday. "We're hoping for the same excitement."
Trader Joe's will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, is scheduled to offer beer and wine and will have plenty of customer parking spaces. The store will feature a festive décor that mixes traditional Trader Joe’s elements such as cedar covered walls and Hawaiian motifs, combined with a local flair that includes art celebrating Sarasota's beaches and entertainment scene.
After the store opens, many area residents can expect to receive a copy of the Trader Joe’s “Fearless Flyer” in their mailboxes or you can sign up online now and opt for an e-newsletter. The Fearless Flyer is a somewhat irreverent description of a timely selection of Trader Joe’s products, according to a press release issued by the company. It’s been called a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine. Each edition highlights a selection of Trader Joe’s products that the company buyers believe are worthy of customer interest, including comfort foods and items that are organic or have other special attributes.
Trader Joe's carries an extensive array of domestic and imported foods and beverages, including fresh baked artisan breads, Arabica bean coffees, international frozen entrées, 100 percent juices, fresh crop nuts, deli items, and vitamins and supplements, as well as the basics, like milk and eggs – all at low prices.
"Trader Joe’s is truly a grocery store unlike any other," the press release said. "Trader Joe’s is a 'store of stories,' meaning every item in the store has its own virtues - high quality ingredients, great flavor or simply an extraordinary price - many items often feature all of those qualities. Another significant point of difference, all of Trader Joe’s prices are everyday prices. Trader Joe’s doesn’t have 'sales' for a few days, only to hike the prices back up again. Their prices change only when their costs change -- there are no fancy promotions, discount cards or couponing wars."
With its predominately private label stock and experience, it may be familiar to those who shop at Aldi — famous for having no bags and paying a quarter to rent a shopping cart to encourage folks to return them to the cart corral. That's because a part of Aldi's corporate operations oversees Trader Joe's.
Perhaps because of that relation, not everyone is a fan of Trader Joe's as its traditionally difficult to find in-depth information about the company straight from the company, diverting those curious to online exposés abound.
So how does Trader Joe's offer unique groceries at prices everyone can afford?
The company says it does so by "offering more than 2,000 items under the Trader Joe’s private label, which includes Trader José's salsas, Trader Ming’s fried rice, Trader Giotto’s marinara sauces, in addition to specially purchased items," according to the press release.
Furthermore, Trader Joe’s buys differently than other grocers, according to its press release.
"They purchase from manufacturers, not through distributors. They’ll take a brand name product, take out the preservatives and artificial colors and ingredients, and put it under their Trader Joe’s label to sell it at a real discount," the press release said.
Trader Joe’s introduces approximately a dozen new items every week, heightening the store’s adventurous appeal.
"Our buyers travel around the world searching out unique products at great values. In order for an item to be sold in a Trader Joe’s store, it must pass the scrutiny of a discerning tasting panel. Thousands of items are tasted each year to find products that both appeal to the culinary adventurer and microwave aficionado," the press release said.
To read more about Trader Joe's arrival in Sarasota, click the following links:
Other Trader Joe's Stories:
- Trader Joe's Photo Gallery (Herald-Tribune)