When I moved to North Carolina, one of the first things I had to get used to was an entirely new set of grocery stores! I was used to Safeway, Albertson's, and Save Mart. Here in Raleigh NC, I ran into new names like Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Lowe's. They're all fairly similar, and I can shop interchangably. But one store I didn't discover until just recently was Trader Joe's. Yeah, I'd heard about it. The office got all excited when the news spread that Trader Joe's was coming to the Triangle. I wasn't sure what the big deal was - after all, wasn't it just another new grocery store?
When I went shopping at my local Trader Joe's in Cary, NC I was pleasantly surprised at what I found there.
But first, a little Trader Joe's history.
Originally known as Pronto Market back when they opened in 1958, Trader Joe's, a privately owned company, came about in 1967 when the owners decided to make some changes.
Stores were expanded to become larger, employees started wearing fun Hawaiian shirts to work and unique, hard-to-find, low cost food became part of Trader Joe's signature.
Trader Joe's tries to stock everyday "basics" as well as provide new products that have been taste tested before being put on the shelves to sell. If you are looking for something exotic such as imported cheese, organic produce or just something a little different, then Trader Joe's is the place to shop.
Are health conscious? A vegetarian? Look for Trader Joe brand products. With no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, no MSG and no trans fats, they are a health dream. Easy to read symbols on the packaging make it simple to find what you need whether its no gluten, low sodium, fat free, vegetarian, vegan, heath healthy, kosher or even a "quick meal", they have it all. And the best part is, Trader Joe's backs all of their products with their product guarantee. "We tried it! We like it! If you don't, bring it back for a full refund, no questions asked." You really can't go wrong.
Trader Joe's is big on helping out with community events and giving donations where they can, including, for example, giving over $65,000 last year to fight neighborhood hunger in three cities.
For more information check out the donation guidelines, or contact your neighborhood store and ask for the Donations Coordinator.
Now, about that club card I mentioned? You don't need one at Trader Joe's, they just have everyday low prices.
Trader Joe's touts that they buy everything direct whenever possible, buys in volume to get discount pricing and discontinue items that are just taking up space if they don't sell well. All of this means the savings get passed on to the customer.
And with more than 280 stores in 23 states, you may be used to seeing Trader Joe's in wherever it is you're relocating from, whether you're from New York, New Jersey, or one of many more East and West Coast states.
As I got out of the car, I saw a big artistic sign displayed outside of the store asking, "did you remember your bags?"
Now, I try to bring reusable cloth bags whenever I go to the store, but half the time I forget to get them out of the car when I get to the store. This is a great reminder and already gave me a good impression of the store, showing they care about recycling and the environment!
When I walked into the Cary, NC Trader Joe's I noticed how bright and clean the store was.
There are beautiful murals along all of the walls in each department giving a unique, creative touch to the store.
The first thing I came to was a huge floral selection! What beautiful flowers very bright and healthy looking. My first thought was to make sure I tell my husband about Trader Joe's so he could stop in and buy me a nice bouquet. Should I need flowers for a special occasion, this is the place.
Next was a large selection of fresh baked breads and rolls. Yum! Fresh, "real" sourdough bread! I just had to buy a couple of loafs for my family.
Coming up to the produce section, everything looked so fresh and delicious! I couldn't believe the selection, and everything was so organized and colorful. With many organic choices, this is an excellent way to fulfill your daily fruit requirements.
Thinking about trying something new for dinner? Stop by the fresh meat department where you can find such items as, cabernet pot roast pre-marinated or curry chicken tenders all sliced, spiced and ready to cook. Plus, all your "regular" choices of meat with no additives or hormones, ready to cook for a great dinner.
Need some wine with dinner or for that special someone? Check out the Chapel Hill and Cary Trader Joe's private wine collection.
I'm not a big wine drinker myself, but I have friends that rave about the selection and prices here. If you find a wine that you absolutely love make sure you stock up because sometimes when it's gone, it's gone!
Make sure you walk up and down all of the wide, bright aisles in the store. You will find great products that no one else carries for everyday low prices.
Also, make sure you stop in often as Trader Joe's tries to add new products each week when they find great food for great prices from all over the world.
Next time you get your copy of the Fearless Flyer in the mail, check out all of the terrific products Trader Joe's carries, recipes they print and more detailed information about some of the items they carry.
(If you aren't in the area for local snail mail delivery you can sign up for the e-newsletter here.)
What a great shopping experience! I will be back often to stock up on grocery's for the family, trying new treats at great prices. If you've lived in the Raleigh area for awhile, or you're just considering relocating to the Triangle, this "super" market is worth a visit. Check it out for yourself at one of these two local stores:
1393 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary NC 27511
1800 E Franklin Street Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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