Sneak Peek: Trader Joe's in Sarasota

By Megan McDonald September 6, 2012

This morning, we got a sneak peek of the new Trader Joe's, set to open tomorrow--that's Friday, September 7--to much fanfare. When we arrived, the employees were still busy stocking shelves with everything from fresh produce to specialty cheeses, but store manager Linda Moffa, who's been with the company for 32 years, took a few minutes out of her busy day to give us a tour of the open, airy space.

What you'll find:

Tributes to Sarasota throughout--from Siesta Key to the Ringling Bridge to the circus--in the form of murals above various sections of the store. "We want to be your neighborhood store," Linda explains, "which is why we've incorporated these aspects of the city."

Traditional meats, dairy items and fresh produce, as well as huge selection of prepackaged and frozen items, from chicken breasts to Chinese food, most under the Trader Joe's name. In fact, 80 percent of the store's products are private label, which is why it's able to keep costs so low. "We eliminate the middleman and go directly to the manufacturer," Linda says. Even better? All Trader Joe's products are free of artifical flavors, colorings and GMOs, and many come in natural and organic versions, as well. 

Specialty items like Trader Joe's famous "Two-Buck Chuck" wine, chocolate-covered almonds and pretzels, quinoa/black bean tortilla chips, olive oil popcorn (endorsed by Dr. Oz, at that), Joe-Joes cookies, dried fruits and cookie butter. (Seriously, cookie butter?! Sign us up.)

A variety of household items, from pet supplies to hand soap to cult-favorite lavendar dryer sheets.

A demo station where shoppers can sample coffee, juices and various Trader Joe's treats throughout the day. 

Friendly, happy employees--narrowed down from a pool of 1,500(!) applicants--all dressed in Hawaiian shirts.

The store opens tomorrow morning at 8 a.m.; Linda told us that she's talked to people who plan to drive all the way from Ocala to stock up, and that one particularly dedicated woman has decided to show up at 5 a.m. to ensure she gets prime shopping access when the doors open. The store is located at 4101 S. Tamiami Trail; you can call (941) 922-5727 with any questions. Happy shopping!

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