Trader Joe's Planning to Open Second LA Location Sept. 23 in Metairie

12:45 August 23, 2016
By: Anthony O'Donnell

Beloved grocery chain Trader Joe's is gearing up to open its first outlet in New Orleans (well, Metairie, technically). The chain, which competes with Whole Foods for the organic and healthy grocery market, announced plans to open a location at 2949 Veterans Memorial Boulevard in July of last year. Last Thursday, their website confirmed the store will start serving customers at 8 a.m. on September 23rd. It will be one of over 400 locations the rapidly-growing company operates in the United States.

Trader Joe's has a reputation for selling healthy, ethically-sourced foods at reasonable prices. Many, if not most, of their products are produced by the company itself or its subsidiaries; others are made by larger companies and branded as Trader Joe's private products, then sold at lower prices. These partnerships allow Trader Joe's to brand itself in a uniquely quirky way; Mexican products are sold as “Trader Jose's,” and Japanese food retails under the name “Trader Joe-San's.”

Despite partnering with larger companies, Trader Joe's guarantees that all of their branded products are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, synthetic colors, GMOs, and trans fats. Yet their prices are often lower than those of the branded organic products that crowd the aisles at Whole Foods or local hippie groceries. This is one of the company's main selling points: it presents an affordable way to eat food that doesn't hurt your body, or your conscience. Some of their products have developed a cultish popularity, particularly among college students: Charles Shaw wine, which the company makes in partnership with Franzia, has earned the nickname “Two-Buck Chuck” in reference to its discount-bin pricing. The company also brews its own beers, and donates a significant portion of its profits to food banks, further extending its appeal to socially conscious young people.

The company, whose stores have a loose nautical theme (employees are called “merchants,” “mates,” and “captains,”) puts little work into advertising, relying mostly on word of mouth. The chain has put more effort into generally cultivating the vibe of a neighborhood grocery store, with unique signage and branding in each location, in contrast with the sterility and standardization of larger chains like Wal-Mart. Their cheerful product branding and friendly employee interactions have successfully earned them a market share among those tired of the standardization of big-box chains.

Trader Joe's Baton Rouge location was a resounding success, with crowds stretching around the block at its opening in October of 2013. Two dollar wine and free samples make for a great afternoon, so expect similar enthusiasm when the Metairie location opens its doors in September.

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