Sitting on my sofa sipping a glass of Two-Buck Chuck cabernet sauvignon tonight, I’m recalling last Saturday’s trip to the first Trader Joe’s in Florida. Located in North Naples, there’s only one word to summarize the scene. Craziness!
I have never visited a Trader Joe’s but after hearing friends brag about the eclectic specialty grocery store, and its deliciously cheap wine, it’s been one of those places on my bucket list.
I was extremely excited when I heard one was opening in Naples. Turned out, the grand opening weekend happened to be the same weekend I was in Fort Myers speaking to a colleague’s journalism class.
I have to say, this trip was a little disappointing and that’s what I expected. I ended up spending more time waiting in line than actually exploring the store. Interest in the store was incredibly high. Law enforcement was guiding traffic and I had to wait for a parking spot.
Once inside, it was difficult navigating through the store because there were people everywhere! Checkout lines were so long they extended into the store aisles making it difficult to see what was there.
I kept bumping into people and had to avoid being smacked by carts (I’m still tender from last month’s surgery). After picking up a few things I didn’t realize I needed, I fell in line to pay for my provisions and get the heck out of dodge. I don’t do well in crowds. I have to say, the checkout lines moved pretty quickly.
Inside Trader Joe’s in Naples
Having no concept of what a Trader Joe’s was, I envisioned the interior to be something like a grocery store version of a Cost Plus World Market, which is like a simpler Pier One. Decor was simple with a hint of Hawaii. Shelving was pretty basic, nothing fancy but displays were very cool and chalk boards were utilized to promote specific products.
I can seriously see why folks who follow vegetarian and vegan diets are fans of the chain. Organic foods were bountiful especially many made by the Trader Joe’s label. Presentation of some of the products made me realize that yes, I do need that food I’ve never tasted before. Take, for instance, the almond butter and Wasabi Roasted Seaweed I brought home. Have I ever eaten these before? No, but now I am.
My First Trader Joe’s Purchase
It wasn’t until I got home and looked on Twitter to see some of the things I should have picked up including Cookie Butter and Chocolate Cheddar Cheese (although, after reading the review I didn’t miss much on this).
I ended up purchasing about $25 worth of Trader Joe’s items including a cute reusable shopping bag. Pictured are my goods which included TJ’s Greek yogurt, bottle of blueberry sparkling beverage, plain and Wasabi Roasted Seaweed, almond butter, Two-Buck Chuck (which is actually $2.99) and wild rice.
I’m totally digging the roasted seaweed and at 99 cents a pack, wish I stocked up. The wild rice is pretty good…oh, everything is pretty darn tasty.
Next visit, I’ll read the Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer BEFORE finalizing my purchases. It’s the store circular but much more entertaining than the typical grocery store flyers.
Another Trader Joe’s to Open in Florida: Sarasota
And, I was very excited to learn from the Herald Tribune (Sarasota) that Trader Joe’s will be opening a store in Sarasota! I’m very happy about this because it’ll only be an hour one-way trip vs. a 90-minute, to two-hour trip to Naples!
Are you a Trader Joe’s fan? What should I purchase on my next trip?
Trader Joe’s in Naples
10600 Tamiami Trail North
(it’s in the Granada Shoppes shopping center at the intersection of Immokalee Road and U.S. 41)