Updated 10:41 a.m.
Today's the day that plenty of Trader Joe's fans have waited for.
At 8 a.m. in Sarasota.
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.
Folks drove as far as Tampa and Orlando, Gainesville and beyond to come to the opening. And the first people in line? They weren't from Sarasota, The Herald-Tribune reports:
Tampa residents Amy Riddell and Christian Estrada showed up at 3 a.m. Friday to be the first customers inside the new Trader Joe's store in Sarasota.
The store was still dark, but they didn't mind.
“When we first heard about it months ago, I was like, ‘We're going the night before and be there first for the opening,' ” Estrada said.
Long-time fans of the quirky grocery chain, they expect to return once a month for the fresh food they say can't be found anywhere else — and the $2.99 Charles Shaw wine, known as ”Two-buck Chuck.”
“It makes it worth the drive,” Estrada said.
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.
Patch readers have shared their devotion over the past eight months about the store's opening. We'll share some of the best below.
In the meantime, if you attend the Grand Opening today, let us know what you think — how are the prices, is it worth it, how was the crowd? And upload photos about your favorite part of the store above.
What you're saying
This is great news. I live in Apollo Beach and I would travel to Sarasota to Trader Joe's and that's a hike. I fell in love with that store on a visit to Fanwood,New Jersey. Now my dream is that they put one closer to Apollo Beach. My fingers are crossed. —
I live about an hour north and will be making a monthly track to this store! My daughter in Nashville shops at TJ and my daughter-in=law shops at the Va Beach location. I only wish there was one close to my home (Riverview, Florida) then I would be in the store a few times a week, my daughter, husband and all of our friends too! Pleeeeeeease open one in our growing town! Big Bend and 301! Lots of opportunities! —
FINALLY!!!!! I've been begging them to open a Sarasota store for at least 20 years.
Good-bye to all those FL "healthfood" stores that have been gouging us for years - we are finally free of your ridiculously inflated prices!! Whew!
Thank you, Trader Joe's —
"I am making the 1 1/2 hour drive to Traders Jones new Sarasota store this weekend!! Please keep coming North, we would love to have a Trader Joe's in Pinellas County!" —
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