Grocery stores are usually just that, a grocery store. They’re just a place to get the same food you get every week, and most provide the exact same things… right? Trader Joe’s is far from your typical grocery store, and provides many products that other stores can’t. They’re still relatively unknown in Michigan, with a new store in Grand Rapids near Dave & Busters and across from Centerpoint Mall. Trader Joe’s is (from my experience) a mom’s dream come true.
Almost all of the products at the store are their own Trader Joe’s brand. They have anything from cereal to easy Indian dinner, and everything in between. The food is available at a very modest price point and includes many healthy options, but still provides more than enough to satisfy a sweet tooth or craving. Trader Joe’s also offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan options also, and I’ve experienced nothing but cheery employees who are more than willing to help. The store’s stock changes weekly, and certain products will stay more than others; this can be good if a product you enjoy is popular and is often in stock, but bad if one you like isn’t so popular.
I’ve stopped into Trader Joe’s a couple of times, and each time has been a great experience. I have encountered helpful and friendly employees who will talk to you like another human being, and not like they are programmed to say the same thing to everyone. The store is clean and everything is easy to find, no matter what you’re looking for. Products are arranged with other similar products like any normal grocery store, but prices are kept low and there are some very unique twists on food. One example of this is the famed Cookie Butter, a sweet spread that is great on nearly anything.
Trader Joe’s also has unique employee uniforms; Hawaiian shirts aren’t your typical work clothes. This brings a more lighthearted atmosphere to the store, and makes it really seem like the employees aren’t just your usual grocery store workers. The franchise is built on the idea of buying directly from suppliers, putting out the best products for the best price, and saving money for consumers – and it works.
The store also puts out a “newsletter, catalog, and even comic book” called the Fearless Flyer. This is available in print and online 8 times a year, and it is one hundred percent free. This doesn’t provide any deals, coupons, or anything. The Flyer is filled with product stories and lets consumers stay knowledgeable about what they’re buying, something I find to be a great idea. However, the no-coupons-because-our-prices-are-always-great mentality seems to me like an easy way to not put items on sale.
Overall, Trader Joe’s provides a breath of fresh air from the typical grocery store. It’s unlike the same shopping experience most are used to, and it can easily let you switch up your meals. The store offers new products and flavors you’re probably not used to, gives a different shopping environment, and is generally a pleasant place. I recommend that anyone who is looking for a good alternative to their usual store or a new store to switch to, goes to check out Trader Joe’s.