Trader Joe’s opens in St. Pete’s !

On Friday February 13, 2015 at 8 a.m.  I went to the much anticipated grand opening of  Trader Joe’s in Saint Petersburg, Florida.    Parking was terrible and the traffic police were out in full force.  I had to park a couple of blocks away (which I am sure the neighbours are not going to like) but once in the store the atmosphere was festive and everyone was given a Hawaiian lei.  The store was swarming with media types and happy employees in bright coloured tie-dyed t-shirts.  Even though it was crowded, shopping was easy and the staff were helpful and friendly.  The store is bright with wide shopping isles and it doesn’t feel like you are in a big super store.  Most of the products they sell are Trader Joe’s brands with lots of new and interesting products that you won’t find anywhere else.  Although, there were a couple of things that I was looking for that they didn’t carry, such as wheat free soy sauce and jalapeno’s in a jar.

On a positive note, they do have wine with their house blends selling for the ridiculous price of $2.99.  You won’t find these prices in Canada !  Trader Joe’s was famous when they started out on the West Coast with their “Two Buck Chuck” but the original price wasn’t sustainable so it now costs 3 bucks a bottle and is referred to as the  “World Famous Charles Shaw”.  M and I tried the Chardonnay on Friday night and were pleasantly surprised with the taste.  For the price you can’t go wrong but it doesn’t have the full rich body and oak taste that we like in the pricier wines.

It was an enjoyable shopping experience and overall prices were lower than expected although as I mentioned earlier they mainly carry their own brand name products.  Having a Trader Joe’s in Saint Petersburg is a nice addition to the over-priced Publix stores in the area and should offer some good competition to the nearby Rolling Oats and Fresh Market.

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