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Trader Joe's Opens Today In Sarasota

Are you going to the grand opening? Share your experience here after you shopped until you dropped at Trader Joe's.

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!" —  

Other Trader Joe's Stories:

Kathryn Baker September 07, 2012 at 02:25 PM
We tried to go there this a.m. around 9 o'clock. However, there were so many cars piled up looking for parking places that we gave up. They should have selected a location with better parking. Guess we will try again in a few days when the rush is over, hope we can get a parking place then.
Gini C Hyman September 07, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I was there at 8AM and found parking right away. The store was crowded with both shoppers and lookers. Music was playing, plenty of help around to assist customers. Shelves were stocked with fresh everything and I was able to buy all my favorite TJ's products except Breakfast chicken sausages and Powerberries, which hadn't come in yet. So I guess I will have to go back, lol. Beautiful reasonably priced Organic produce and meats/chicken. I even enjoyed standing in line to check out, chatting with other customers! Well done, Trader Joe's, as usual!
Dan Quarteran September 07, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Perhaps a shuttle service could run from Siesta Beach... this would cut the number of cars looking for spaces by half. / ?
Sandra September 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Great experience! Fair prices, fantastic selection, friendly staff. Very crowded, however I expected that. sandra
MK September 08, 2012 at 07:38 AM
We are trying to get the 'higher-ups" to understand that Sarasota is a small taste of what FLorida residents LOVE! Please come see us in Sarasota in the mean time. And Tampa Bay.... We want you to know who we are. S-
Kathryn Baker September 12, 2012 at 06:43 PM
We finally got back to TJ's today. The parking lot was packed again and I refer to it as a bee hive. We did get lucky though and someone was pulling out of a space just as we entered the lot. I have never shopped at a TJ's so just wanted to see why everyone loves it so much. A lot of high priced meat and cheeses. Excellent price on eggs, the Trader Joe's multigrain crackers are inexpensive and delicious. There are a lot of specialty items. I will go back for some things once in a while, but it is too small and crowded...if the parking is a bee hive, the inside is an ant hill, people everywhere, going different directions.I think the location is bad,the parking lot terrible and the store too small. I am really glad that they wanted to open a store here but I guess I'm just used to a large store with a much larger selection of items.
Charles Schelle (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I've noticed a lot of people walking across Tamiami Trail parking in the shopping center there or parking at Lox n Egg, which I hope is getting more business with everyone parking in their lot.
N Gardner September 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I also tried going there but the lot was way too crowded, will try again another time. A much better location, expecially for parking would have been where the old Big K-Mart was down on 41 and Beneva, oh well. I'm sure once the initial buzz winds down it won't be so crowded.

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