Do You Know Who Owns Trader Joe’s?

Do you shop at Trader Joe’s?

From what I have seen, the world is divided into three sets of people.

1. Those who have never been to a Trader Joe’s, and perhaps have never heard of it.

2. Those who love Trader Joe’s more than they love their own families.

3. Those who love Trader Joe’s more than they love their own families and are incensed that there isn’t one nearby.

So, let me ask those of you who fall into categories 2 and 3: Who owns Trader Joe’s?

1. Some great California family full of surfers and gardeners.

2. A small band of communal farmers in Oregon.

3. A huge German discount-grocery chain best known in the U.S. for no-glamor stores often located in marginal neighborhoods.

Yeah, it’s No. 3. The company is called Aldi and, though I’d seen one or two of its stores in the past, I didn’t even know it was a grocery store. Then I read this very interesting Wall Street Journal piece about the company’s ambitious new plan for the U.S., which calls for 75 new stores this year. The article claims that Aldi is so good at selling cheap goods that WalMart couldn’t compete with it in Germany. How do they do it? Here’s one way:

Store-brand goods generally make up 22 percent of U.S. food sales in terms of unit volume, according to research by Nielsen Co., while in some European markets, they account for about 30 percent. At Aldi, 95 percent of the goods are the retailer’s own brands.

They are, in other words, not the obvious owner of a chain like Trader Joe’s — which, although it tries to be ruthlessly cheap, also has a very high style quotient and neighborhood grocery store vibe.

I thought of all this when I ran into a friend who used to work at a Trader Joe’s. I asked her if she knew who owned the chain. She said no, then thought about it, and suddenly remembered: “Oh yeah, some Germans!”

She knew this only because some Aldi executives came to look at her store a few times, and as she recalls it, her management asked all the employees to not speak to the Aldi executives. It was unclear why this was necessary.

Then she remembered something else: “The carts we used to wheel boxes up and down the aisles, we called them U-boats, because they were shaped like a U. We were told to definitely not call them U-boats whenever the Germans were visiting.”

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COMMENTS: 358


  1. j. Ringomon says:

    #3- ALDI!

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  2. j. Ringomon says:

    Sorry, posted my first comment before making the jump- I thought it was a real quiz!

    It makes sense if you think about it though, because Trader Joe’s is heavily stocked with their own store-bands as well.

    ALDI and TJ’s are basically the exact same concept, just aimed at different demographics.

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  3. nancy says:

    Yu do know , too, that Aldi headquarters is right next to Fermilab, right.

    I feel the particles accelerating.

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  4. Brian Kirk says:

    I fall into category 3 & wish a Trader Joe’s would open here in Austin. Sure I love Central Market & Whole Foods, but Trader Joe’s (based off my experience in La Jolla last year) beats them both hands down on price & quality.

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  5. Syruss says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Disliked! Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 29
  6. DB says:

    How are they not the obvious owner of Trader Joe’s, which must be at least 95% store-label brands? Yes, maybe they cater to higher-income consumers, but the supply strategy is nearly identical.

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    • Marlene says:

      I agree. I used to like them in the 80s, and I will occasional shop there still, but since they went to 80% store brand and I often find disappointing produce I won’t go out of my way to shop there. They seem to focus on candy, cookies, and snack foods now. I have found their own brands to be not as good as many of the products they are knock offs of. I do, however, like their selection of cheese.

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  7. Brendan says:

    Great post. I love when you expose like this. I shopped at Traders before and felt the cult-love some had for it. In the “buy-American” spirit of the stimulus, I say go to Wegmans if you are looking for the true cult food-shopping experience.

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  8. econobiker says:

    The Nashville metro region just got a Trader Joes- in the swanky part of town -Green Hills.
    For the media hysteria, you would have thought Mose’s had arrived to demonstrate parting water in a hot tub…

    I also like Aldi and did not know that Trader Joes was similar concept for the la-te-da set who deem themselves never to set foot in a Walmart or even know that Kmart still exists…

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    • moses says:

      so sad (for my ethics) that i still shop at walmart amid my views…economy has made it very difficult to………………………………still trying to make a difference

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  9. Noah says:

    But what about Trader JOHN’s?

    http://tinyurl.com/daojhp

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  10. J.V. says:

    Oh my. Mr Dubner, have you never met anyone from a city with a Central Market? (http://www.centralmarket.com/). Could you add a category #4? “People who go to Trader Joe’s and think, Who buys this low-quality junk?” Central Market has more brands of chocolate than Trader Joe’s has items. And don’t even get me started about Spec’s (http://specsonline.com).

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  11. Rob says:

    Our nearest Trader Joe’s is about 7 miles away, while our nearest Aldi is about a mile and a half away. Yet I wouldn’t so much as touch Aldi with a stick.

    I mean, maybe if I wanted the $59 27″ TV with my off-brand doesn’t-taste-like-chocolate chocolate, I would go to Aldi. If I had a quarter to spare to get my grocery cart out of the pile, I would go to Aldi. If I had a sudden need to hoist my TV onto a giant stack of floor mats, I would go to Aldi.

    Thus, I come to the question… what was someone in Germany smoking when Aldi decided to buy out Trader Joe’s?

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    • Inga O says:

      Aldi didn’t “buy out” Trader Joe’s they created it.

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      • Tabitha says:

        Aldi didn’t create Trader Joe’s. It was originally opened by a man named Joe in California. At some point Theo Albrecht, who is associated with Aldi, became the owner of Trader Joes.

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  12. jblog says:

    Trader Joe’s is kind of the Old Navy of food.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  13. DK1 says:

    Count me in category #3. I don’t care if they’re owned by Bernie Madoff, I just need a Trader Joe’s closer to my house! I feel environmentally guilty by driving 20 miles just to go grocery shopping, but I’m addicted.

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  14. Vince Offer says:

    You know the Germans always make good stuff.

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  15. Caliphilosopher says:

    #6 – Is that a Sham-Wow joke? If so, that’s hilarious. :-)

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  16. Tyler says:

    The story about Aldi is interesting in itself. They are in fact in Germany two different and independent corporate entities, Aldi south and Aldi north, which were founded by two brothers. Karl Albrecht und Theo Albrecht (Aldi = Albrecht Discount) are now in their eighties and the two richest germans.

    There is no photographs and very few other facts available about them. Mirroring this, the financials of the two companies can only be guessed (around 20 Billion Euros for each) as they are completely in private ownership and dont release figures.

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    • and93 says:

      Only Karl Albrecht is still alive.

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    • EllenK says:

      My son worked for Aldi’s for awhile. They compensate their employees even at the starting levels VERY WELL. Plus they provide ample benefits. If you shop carefully much of the merchandise comes from mainline products. Aldi’s yogurt is Dannon. The candy and cookies are very similar to those produced by the big name brand suppliers. I don’t care for their cleaning products or personal care items. I do know that much of the candy from Germany that is carried in Trader Joe’s is also available at Aldi’s. There’s nothing wrong with trying to save a buck in this economy. Frankly, I prefer Central Market if I’m going to blow my entire budget on high end groceries.

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  17. Nina says:

    Brendan, look at the packaging and find out a lot of stuff is produced in the US. Haven’t you realized in today’s market just because something is foreign owned it can still supply americans with jobs. On the other hand you can buy an american brand car which is entirely build in a different country…

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  18. Raj Pandravada says:

    The closest Trader Joe’s to me is about 15 miles away. I’m definitely mad that there isn’t one closer.

    That said, my weekly or bi-weekly shopping trip seems more like a pilgrimage, since there is always one or more T-Joe’s virgin tagging along, their eyes shining with the prospect of butter almond thins and hard toffee encrusted with pistachios.

    Anyway, hope at least one of the 75 new stores planned by ‘ze Germans’ is closer to me…

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  19. Tyler says:

    Addendum:
    Tader’s Joe is owned by a family trust of Theo Albrecht (Aldi North). But the over thousand regular Aldi stores in the USA belong to his brother Karl (Aldi South).

    So Aldi and Trader’s Joe have no legal ties in the US and are two competing chains in the US.

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  20. cya says:

    I loved trader joe’s in santa monica– wondering why in the world we don’t have one in Houston. Just ‘rip-off’ Whole Foods. TJ’s is the way a market should be…. truly great value and excellent product.

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  21. lihsia says:

    Anyone know about the original Trader Joe? A guy from LA actually named Joe?

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  22. Coda says:

    More TJs! More! As far as “marginal” neighborhoods – the ones here in Seattle are in thriving neighborhoods. Wish there was one in mine – but like #13, I’ll drive to one, wait in line to get a parking space and troop along with the rest of the sheep to shop there.

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  23. Bill says:

    Furthering comment #16 — And another interesting fact is that Aldi USA (the Aldi supermarkets in the US) and Trader Joe’s are not part of the same Aldi — One is owned by Aldi Nord, one is owned by Aldi Sud. I forget which belongs to which… but in essence, in the US, Aldi and Trader Joe’s are competitors.

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  24. Blah says:

    I’m with Syruss here – I don’t understand the hype. You can find a few random items that are a good deal (like just about anywhere else) but they are really selling a brand. To cite but one example of what I mean, the asian supermarket here blows them out of the water for any fish or produce, in terms of both price and quality.

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  25. Marla Marla says:

    I didn’t know that Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi! Their stores are like day and night. Our local TJ’s is well-lit, clean, and staffed by pleasant, helpful associates. On the other hand our local Aldi is badly lit, has dirty floors, and the staff is very disorganized.

    I found shopping at Aldo to be discouraging and haven’t been back there in a while, despite their cheap prices. But I always find an excuse to pop into TJ’s when I’m in the neighborhood.

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  26. vicki says:

    people who are enamored with Trader Joe’s either don’t read the ingredients or have never travelled abroad where you find the real stuff…in my opinion it is a pseudo kind of store…who wants almonds and veggie oil in their pesto, etc…that’s why they can sell their stuff so cheaply. Aldi’s on the other hand is a real bargain if you are seletive about what you buy and their concept of bringing your own bags is a wonderful German idea that needs more exposure in the USA. I could care less about a Trader Joe’s coming to my town but would be very excited to see an Aldi’s. Also, putting in a coin to get a buggy makes people bring them back to the store which is also teaching us Americans to be more responsible…

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  27. exSoCal says:

    Gee, I started shopping there back when Joe Coulombe was still running the operation and doing his funky local radio ads. I knew it was run by a German company now but not which one.

    We had a real withdrawal problem after the Northridge earthquake as the two Trader Joe’s nearest us were out of business for several months.

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  28. mfw13 says:

    Agree with several other posters….Trader Joe’s doesn’t hold a candle to Central Market.

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  29. Chris says:

    WOW, I did not know that. I am a person in category #2. Having been in both Aldi and TJs it makes a lot of since. Nice anecdote about the hand trucks.

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  30. Alex says:

    Really? People didn’t know this? Maybe I’m a grocery store smarty pants, but this seems like such old news. And, yes, I love me some TJs…and, when I lived in Germany, Aldi was the place to grocery shop.

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  31. yoshi says:

    I fall into category #4. Those that have a Trader Joe’s a mile from there house and could care less. The decor, food and the service isn’t that great. I really don’t understand the appeal.

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  32. Bernd says:

    I’m from germany and that’s why i know Aldi very well. It might be interesting for you that there’s no “Trader Joe’s” in Germany (or any other country as far as i know). Aldi-North has a few products with the brandname, but that’s all. The two german brothers Theo (85) and Karl Albrecht (88) are the richest people in our country. A decade ago people were ashamed if someone saw them shopping in a Aldi-store, a few years ago the image turned into a cult status. Nowadays Aldi is simply the reference line for grocery shopping in Germany – if they cut the price for products all others “must” follow.

    Right now we have a discussion about the working conditions in the stores and the methods how Aldi’s products are produced in emerging nations. Aldi trys to greenwash itself with bio food for example …

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  33. Hoosier Paul says:

    I shop at both, and I’d always thought it was an odd coincidence that both stores package their produce in the exact same way.

    I guess now I know why.

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  34. Brion Emde says:

    One theory I’ve heard of the lack of Trader Joe’s in Colorado is our strange liquor laws, where food stores are not allowed to sell full-strength beers or wines.

    Apparently TJ’s makes a lot of their money on beer and wine sales and until Colorado changes its laws (we did just allow Sunday sales this year), no Trader Joe’s.

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  35. sunshine says:

    “Those who have shopped at Trader Joe’s and were disappointed with the (lack of) quality and selection, not to mention five minutes from expiring, or already expired and rotten food…”

    Yes, this is me. I’ve only been there a few times and got stung by rotten food twice — once in a sealed jar! Not impressed by their tiny selection. A few of their ready-made party foods are crowd-pleasers, and they sell cheap booze, but these things are just a gimmick to get people in the door. Trader Joe’s is a bad excuse for a grocery store.

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    • HG says:

      Sounds like complete bias to me. I’ve never seen almost expired food at a TJ or even Aldi.
      You have an issue with pushing the “buying American Car” syndrome, when in reality the food products are made in the US and this gives many Americans jobs.

      There is one thing to be said about Aldi’s which is the first thing one recognizes goes to one, a quarter must be placed into the shopping cart. This discourages carts standing all over, being a hazard to cars, etc. and sometimes being stolen. The limited amount Aldi employees needn’t be used for returning carriages and they can use their efforts for other reasons. Overhead is cut! Replace the cart and you get the quarter back. It forces order on people which makes things more pleasant for the next person.

      Last but not least, the persons who complain about cleanliness really surprise me.
      We have visited several Aldis and all where very clean and brightly lighted.
      Germans have never been known for anything dirty so I firmly believe this bias is just to slam Aldi. The company is very conservative and the employees are seen to never slack off.
      We finally have such a store within 20 miles and a considerable amount of money can be saved there. The cereal for example is the same type in different packaging as in a larger Publix, yet it’s much less expensive. We still enjoy our Publix though for they have a larger selection.

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    • okenaaro says:

      been shopping there for 4 straight years since this comment was posted. I’ve had about 5 bad products out of 1000s. and they always refund, no matter what the reason. they maintain quality service and quality products. I can’t speak for every city, but I can swear by the stores here in st. louis. They do right by their customers. GMOs = higher future medical bills, and I’ve found no other stores that have an official zero tolerance policy for GMOs, except Trader Joe’s. a cult following simply means there’s a minority in town that’s better than the rest and the words spreading. it’s called winning. get over it.

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  36. TJ Fan says:

    never heard of Aldi – but I love TJ. However I would not want to have to do all my grocery shopping there. It is great for some things – not for others. The coffee quality is iffy – they had a bread I loved and stopped making it, and the quality of some things is not so great. I buy selectively. There are some very good values there.
    As for Central Market – what a marvelous place to shop – but like Whole Foods, the money was just sucked out of my wallet the few times I shopped there while visiting in Austin. Unlike WF – the selection is wonderful.
    If a CM opened near me I would think I had died and gone to grocery heaven. I would also have a much bigger grocery bill.
    If a Whole Foods opened near me I would go about as ofter as I do now – maybe once every 2-3 years. Expensive and over-hyped. It is not called whole paycheck for nothing.

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  37. CB says:

    I’ve done some location analysis of Trader Joe’s in the past. Interestingly, while most retailer’s criteria is typically income driven, i.e. usually X number of persons with a Y average income within a given radius, Trader Joe’s is different. Their criteria is more socially driven than economic. They target locations with a focus on educational attainment, i.e. X number of persons with bachelor’s degree or higher within a given radius.

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  38. Bobby G says:

    I don’t know if anyone else knows this, but Wal-Mart tried to push itself into Germany and was dominated by Aldi. Wal-Mart pulled out and do not have any plans to go back in.

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  39. ben says:

    Are you going to correct your post now that its clear that Trader Joe’s and the US Aldi stores have virtually no link?

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  40. Ari says:

    #34 – I doubt that is the only reason there are no TJ stores in Colorado. NJ has very strict laws about where alcohol can be sold, and they have Trader Joes in NJ (they just don’t sell alcohol in their stores) .
    Personally, for me (I live in WA) the discount priced alcohol is one of the only reasons I shop at Trader Joes. (though I still prefer costco for that).

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  41. Dan says:

    When I went to an Aldi in Germany, I was surprised by how much nicer it was than the Aldi I used to shop in the states. It was actually a lot like TJ’s.

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  42. Steven A says:

    I know TJ’s well, having discovered it living in Oakland, CA. There I discovered they are fervently anti-union — as this was their explanation for not moving into Berkeley.

    That said I stop there for some things in Portland, OR: “Three-buck Chuck” (Charles Shaw wine), [cheap as anything, and perfect for my heart-health 2oz./day] and peanut-butter filled pretzels [only place I've found this mainstay for my picky-eater son]. I realize this is ethically questionable, given my opposition to their anti-unionism, but I don’t claim to be perfect.

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  43. Jake says:

    I used to live across the street from a T.J.’s. It was a glorious time. I love their food, especially the bean dip, dressings, and beer. Their frozen dinners are too high in sodium though.

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  44. Bill in Jackson --- NJ says:

    In an area where Walmart SuperStores seem to be illegal, local chains and Target/KMart/Wegmans like to price similarly, and farmers markets are apparently for the well-healed, ALDI’s is a refreshing change. I wish they sold car insurance, rented apartments, and maybe even ran the local and state government. Aldi’s makes it much easier to afford to feed the family, plain and simple. The two we shop at are always reasonably clean, well stocked, and the employees friendly and helpful. Yes, you do have to watch the produce and meats, however you have to at the more mainstream markets as well.

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  45. Avi Rappoport says:

    My dad discovered the first Trader Joe’s, back in the late 60s in LA, and they were a lot of fun. The Whole Earth catalog of grocery stores. My mom goes because they have a lot of nice fast food, because after 50+ years of cooking, she’s bored with it. I didn’t bother for a while because the store was tiny and the parking was impossible, but now they have two more stores and it’s reasonable, and I go for treats.

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  46. greg says:

    I don’t like trader jos. bad selection, bad quality nearly expired food. I don’t get why people like it.

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  47. Matt (New Orleans) says:

    The food at Trader Joe’s is very decent, but the real gem is the Charles Shaw wine. I live in New Orleans and have been campaigning for a TJ’s since I got down here:

    http://tinyurl.com/Open-Letter-to-Dan-Bane

    http://tinyurl.com/Another-Open-Letter-to-Dan-Ban

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  48. Sean F. Kennedy says:

    My first thought was Kroger.

    I had seen Two Buck Chuck in my local Kroger once and Kroger kind of owns a lot of different chains.

    Now I learn that TJ’s is an upper class Aldi. I wonder if Aldi sells Two Buck Chuck…

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  49. Beetem says:

    I’m definitely in category #4…

    People are actually buying into this hype?

    I’ve been there and have been less than impressed with the quality, selection, service on and on…I’ve unwittingly been the recipient of their mailer for years now and next time anybody is reading that, just think about this thing being written by the German company that out Wal-Mart’s Wal-Mart…and see if you get the same groovy vibe…

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  50. Colin says:

    Thank you! I was just at an Aldi here in Berlin a few weeks ago and saw a few Trader Joes-brand items. I was completely puzzled by this.

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  51. G.W. says:

    @#25

    You miss that point that Aldi isn’t for people looking for a pleasant or “encouraging” shopping experience. It’s for people who saving $0.25 on a can of beans is a meaningful event. I mattered to me in grad school when each $1 spent was an additional $1 of debt. If that meant I shopped at a place with dirty floors and no customer service, so-be-it.

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  52. Pinky says:

    I love to shop at Trader Joe’s, and the two main reasons are the low prices and nice employees.

    Whenever I go to one of the two stores I frequent, I always leave wondering how they manage to hire friendly, cool people! Their hiring practices must be very finicky, or else the people who do the hiring have a very good sense of who is genuinely nice, and who’s just doing it for the interview.

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  53. Ann (New Orleans) says:

    Another vote for Central Market quality, quantity and customer service. Beats TJ any day.

    CM is a bit expensive but you get what you pay for. If you use their ~$10 off weekly coupons, shop the sales and stick to a list you can actually save money there. The planning does take time though.

    I moved from Austin to New Orleans recently. I love Central Market’s bulk department so much I’m planning quarterly trips back. Unless I can convince them to open a store here.

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  54. jjn says:

    Of course this plays on the question of ownership vs. company style. The store was founded by Joe Coulombe in Pasadena and he established the “culture” of TJ’s. So ownership may be German, but it’s still consistent with the original TJ style, and also explains why there’s no TJ in Germany. After all, when Mercedes Benz bought Chrysler, that didn’t suddenly make Chrysler very “German.” Would selling a controlling interest in McDonald’s to the UK or France, while keeping everything pretty much the same change how people assessed McDo?

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  55. MS says:

    TJs is for young people and for very old people. You know, go and get a few things and find at least decent quality — most people buy with a basket, not a cart.

    Those with big families used to go to the “super” market to buy a lot of junk just don’t get the idea.

    And yes, I knew about the market. A couple of years ago I wanted to buy the stock of TJs and realized it was a private company.

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  56. Some Random Economist says:

    The one TJ’s I’ve been to had the worst produce of any store in our area, which makes it worthless in my book. It was a store for yuppies who buy too much processed crap.

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    • hb says:

      that’s difficult to believe. Our new tj has fresh produce and baked goods. No nitrate bacon is the only type sold there for example. Their milk however was expired and that was disappointing.
      all in all it’s a fun place to shop.

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  57. Rogue Medic says:

    @Steven A. #42,

    I know TJ’s well, having discovered it living in Oakland, CA. There I discovered they are fervently anti-union – as this was their explanation for not moving into Berkeley.

    The important question is how well do they treat their employees, not whether they are union. If the company treats its employees well, why pay people to create a confrontational environment?

    I might be more favorably disposed to unions, if they did not make it so difficult to get rid of dangerous employees.

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  58. wiljak says:

    i’m originally from the united states but i’ve been living in europe for several years. aldi in germany has great success with its own brands largely because germans are crazy about house brands – they love ‘em! there’s something built in to the culture about not paying for national brands.

    the aldi story and that of its nemesis lidl are well-known b-school cases. it would be great if they can keep doing the same thing with trader joe’s. as for aldi in the us – can’t say that i’ve seen one. how long have they been there?

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  59. melbourne desi says:

    Aldi is a roaring success in Australia. Well over 200 stores in a country of 21 million. Australia has been a duopoly for many years ( Coles / Woolworths) – Aldi has made a small impact on the supermarket. Aldi in Melbourne is good for staples eg Sugar / eggs/ milk / nappies/ coffe / milk. A full 10-15% cheaper than a similar quality store brand. Adds up over a year. Further Aldi has introduced unit pricing making it easier to send the wife to shop – earlier I had to go with her to do the math. I have been shopping at Aldi Melbourne for 3 1/2 years and intend to continue. Yes Aldi is a byword for poor people shopping but that is slowly changing in the current economic climate. FWIW I pay the top marginal rate ;)

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  60. Karl Bielefeldt says:

    #4 Trader Joe’s Orphan who likes chemicals protecting his food supply.

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  61. Jean-Luc says:

    I second #10′s comment about Central Market. Though Trader Joe’s is great for packaged items and inexpensive wines, their produce and overall selection pales in comparison to Central Market. Of course, Trader Joe’s (in CA) are usually much smaller than a Central Market (in TX) would be.

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  62. RobLL says:

    One of my regular blogs is the Wine Economist, written by a University of Puget Sound academic. The had an article on Aldi in the United States which you may find interesting.

    http://wineeconomist.com/2009/01/13/wine-recession-and-the-aldi-effect/

    Which is of course why I knew the answer to the question you posed.

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  63. Vin says:

    How stupid is the fact that something owned by people in other countries suddenly becomes “poor”, “cheap” or “third worldish” .. I do have only one question to those who think on the same lines… how many times do you guys use Google applications… if you do, then you should not… by your std opinion it would be extremely unpatriotic… those guys are not even born in the States… !

    oh and by the way. I love Trader Joe’s because I have seen so many wines and other items being sold at higher rates at other stores… and that just kills my consumer surplus, if you may understand what it is.. (and items that do not, I buy it at local Farmer’s market…)

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  64. RR says:

    I shop at Trader Joe’s for one reason: Excellent frozen food. I can’t even find frozen grilled chicken elsewhere.

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  65. JoyLuck76 says:

    Funny, I thought they were started out of Hawaii because I asked about the Hawaiian shirts the employees wear and I thought that’s what the ee told me. Could be he was just making an assumption. Obviously, they were not a Hawaiian based company to begin with . . . (Oh, and I’m lucky enough to be in group #2, though when I go home to visit family in Georgia, I sadly find myself in category number 3 :( )

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  66. Lee says:

    I have been shopping at Trader Joe’s here in So. California for a very long time before they became a cult favorite. I mean it in a favorable way like people regard Apple Macs as the only computer to consider. Since they are (or were) a private company, the owners feel a sense of responsibility and make sure that the quality of merchandise they sell do not reflect badly on their name. Will you sell a Dubner-branded wine knowing that it is crap but makes a lot of money?

    By the same token, a burger chain here in the West Coast (In-and-Out) is also privately owned and has resisted uncontrollable growth by franchising. I’d bet people still prefer them 2-1 against the national chains.

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  67. j. Ringomon says:

    People comparing TJ’s to Central Market and Whole Foods- it’s not really an apt comparison. They’re not trying to do the same thing. I know very few people that try to do all of their shopping at TJ’s. Most people I know treat it as a supplement to other grocery shopping.
    I shop there for pantry items, because they are significantly cheaper than CM or WFs, but they are also somewhat natural/non-chemical based as compared to even cheaper place like Aldi (BBQ sauce, ketchup without HFCS, fewer preservatives etc…).
    The produce is not good, and overly packaged. For that I go to local markets or Whole Foods. Dairy is pretty good though, and their nuts selection is unsurpassed for the price.
    You can save a lot of money by buying the products TJ’s excels at instead of buying at Whole Foods or other similiar stores. Natural PB is probably 2/3 of the price… etc…

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  68. PsiCop says:

    I had known for a while that Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi, although I admit I cannot see the relationship between the two. TJs is high-quality, clean, and (for lack of a better word) snazzy. Aldi is dingy, sells cheapo stuff (although in some cases it doesn’t matter much since a lot of the products are very basic), and smells bad.

    Furthermore, Aldi engages in the gimmick of forcing the customer to pay a quarter ransom for using a cart — no TJs I know of does the same — and until recently Aldi was not open on Sundays, for reasons that remain unclear (I heard the owners of the chain are devoutly religious; but I also heard that, somehow, it was a cost-saving measure … which defies logic since around here, Sundays are very busy shopping days). At Aldi, the inventory is also stacked on pallets instead of shelves … again, apparently to impress the customer with their cost-saving devotion.

    Sorry but I don’t buy it — not for a second. I doubt that the quarter ransom or inventory on pallets really saves much money (especially since I am not about to stoop to the floor and scoop up the last item on a pallet; yuck!).

    I just wish there were a TJs closer to me than 20 miles. Although I cannot really be part of the 3rd group Dubner mentions since I do not revere TJs over my family.

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  69. chuck says:

    #21: yep, he was actually a plumber until November of 2008, but then followed the advice of a certain Sarah P. and became a trader (the financial services environment being more than favorable).

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  70. edel says:

    I find the competitor Lidl as a much bigger success than Aldi. No matter where i travel in the whole Europe, I find it everywhere! Lidl is extrimily discounted and also with unknown brands… but i an appaling at the good to great quality of many (yet limited variety) of their products.

    On Trader Joe?s never had that appealing for me… maybe was just the Detroit?s site alone.

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  71. Danny says:

    Wait a minute. I thought Trader Giotto’s meant they were Italian.

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  72. Noelle says:

    Incidentally, the reason there are two Aldi’s in the first place is because the brothers clashed long ago about selling cigarettes in their stores. So much so that they divided the stores into north and south, as mentioned in some of the earlier comments. One brother’s stores stocks cigarettes, the other’s doesn’t.

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  73. lobosolo says:

    hahahaha, i burst out laughing when i read this. my far left friends rave about trader joes but hate wal-mart and would not be caught dead in an aldi’s…. oh sweet irony ! i cant wait to see their faces when i tell them.

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  74. nancy says:

    actually aldi has more than one competitor, depends on the region you live in Germany. For instance all the way up north near Denmark there is (or were, it’s been some years) PLUS stores. I know a couple store managers.

    There was another chain she and they carried A&P brands which was always interesting to me since A&P was kinda gone in the states. (( Reminds me (note to self on eight o’clock coffee for my upcoming book on coffee in America).

    Anyway, when walmart tried to come in I think they merged with Wertkauf in Germany. Walmart did not compete with Aldi. That’s a whole different market. Wertkauf was always the least pleasant of the hyper markets in Germany. Massa markt and esbella markt, jumbo markt and a few others in other states had better service and were always cleaner. Those were the places where walmart was competing and failed. They also tried to put in american type measures like having groceries bagged by the cashiers and various other things that run different in German stores. the german disn’t buy it. These added to walmarts failure in that country.

    Actually Germany was way ahead of walmart on the super type store.

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  75. Emily says:

    Disturbingly enough, the only grocery store that I hate more than Trader Joe’s is Aldi’s.

    The only time I was at Trader Joe’s, I stopped in to get something for lunch, and I ended up with some “sushi” that was made from library paste. Store brands are fine, knock offs of high end groceries are not my thing.

    The other thing about Trader Joe’s that annoyed me was the floor plan that was built on the department store model – with things arranged somewhat higgledy-piggeldy so that consumers would “browse” more.

    Aldi’s is a place to buy rotten vegetables from a box in the middle of the floor.

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  76. PaulD says:

    I live in the San Fernando Valley and I think my local TJ’s in Encino was there when I moved in in 1985. The new stores back east may be more hoity-toity, but the vibe here has always been more funky than pretentious. In my experience they are best for dried nuts and fruits, cheeses, bread, and frozen foods. Oh, and I love their hummuses.

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  77. kate says:

    Tyler is correct, Trader Joe’s is not owned by Aldi, but they are sister (brother if you want to get technical) companies. While I did not read this WSJ article (because I’m not about to pay to read it) if they did make this statement, I’m surprised at the inaccurate reporting.

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  78. Dvschase says:

    TJ is in Penna and we have crazy liquor laws, they just don’t sell it.

    Aldi used to pay very well. Like 14$/hr for cashiers, which was almost triple what supermarkets were paying in the late 90′s early 00′s. at least they used to, i haven’t seen their ads lately in the paper.

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  79. nancy says:

    Correction: Plus is a soft discounter compared to ALDI and NORMA markets which are hard discounters. Meaning Plus is somewhere between a full sortiment store and an aldi.

    I think they PLUS must be like a SAVALOT store here in the states, which carries the same stuff aldi has plus a few more national brands especially in the freezer section. I am sure one company is making most of this stuff and just wrapping it up differently. Aldi has better graphic designers in the packaging department who, even within their one brand stategy, employ things like stylistic typography and naming stategies to differientiate their basic offerings from their more affluent foreign offerings, for example spaghetti sauces or various breads.

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  80. odograph says:

    I liked the old Joe Coulombe days a little better, but 80% of my food still comes from Trader Joes. Luckily the extended family all likes it too.

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  81. Badrescher says:

    I have been to Trader Joe’s. I have Trader Joe’s nearby. I do not love Trader Joe’s.

    So I guess I’m not a person since I don’t fit into any of those categories.

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  82. Afi says:

    Yes, I was surprised when I first learned that Aldi’s owned Trader Joe’s. TJ is a store that my husband loves, but I haven’t been impressed by the quality of anything much except the wines.

    As for Aldis being in “marginal neighborhoods…” Lots of us are going to be living in “marginal neighborhoods” if the economy continues to go South.

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  83. MLewis says:

    Thanks for the revelation regarding ownership by the German conglomerate. In deference to my murdered ancestors, I’m done shopping there.

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  84. matt says:

    Uh, what alternative universe do you live in where they do not sell alcohol in NJ stores?

    Not mine. I’ve bought beer and whiskey from a local supermarket in NJ.

    Perhaps you meant PA? There’s a Trader Joe’s in Pitt that I know, which of course cannot sell alcohol because of barbaric christianist laws. Some day, we will free our country from the death grip of the morally self righteous douche bags.

    Anyway, Trader Joe’s is whatever. A few interesting items. I don’t buy any produce there. And their “prepared foods” are a joke. I wanted to go for lunch one time and I ended up picking up a cold salad. That’s pretty much all they had.

    So put me in category #4.

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  85. Katie says:

    I love my Central Market! I used to be able to walk their from my apartment. If you use their mailed coupons, it can be really reasonable. They have higher prices on fruit and meat than your run of the mill grocery store, but no more than is consistent with the quality.

    Unfortunately I moved to the burbs and it’s no longer practical. I still like my HEB, which is great for regular grocery shopping, but I miss not needing to make lunch on Saturday because I could fill up on delicious samples…

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  86. Aennil says:

    In Germany many people actually have similar feelings towards Aldi as you described for Trader Joe’s. Most people are absolutely crazy about their house brands and their cheap cheap prices. In consumer reports their house brands generally finish close to the top and I know many people that especially go to Aldi not just because they like the low prices, but also because they really like the food. Their reputation is much much better here than Walmart too. There haven’t been any big scandals about the way they treat employees and they apparently have really good training programs for higher level employees.

    In response to #68, the things you just criticized about Aldi are standard procedure for German supermarkets. You always put in 1$ to the shopping cart to use it. I feel like that’s a cheaper system than what I’ve seen in the US where they make the carts stop if you get off the parking lot in some areas. It also makes you return it to the right spot and thus cuts down on costs for them, No stores are open in Germany due to federal laws and not putting things into shelves is standard in most German discounters. Also, you have to buy your own bags (or bring your own as we do) in all German supermarkets. Aldi is not being gimmicky doing this stuff, they are simply exporting successful German supermarket practices.

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  87. griff says:

    Aldi is well established in the UK as a low cost/value outlet…

    It is seen as being in a distinct category to the main UK supermarket brands – ASDA, Tesco etc…

    Amusingly the credit crunch has via Aldi thrown a light on still lingering British ‘snobbery’, with distressed bankers wives and middle class housewives sheepishly admitting to downsizing to Aldi and daring to venture where the ‘lower classes’ shop. There’s even a new ‘Aldi chic’.

    (you know the above shows we’re still pretty sexist, too…!).

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  88. David says:

    #3 and my nearest store is over 7000 miles away :-(.

    T.J’s is one of the things I miss most about returning to Australia after living in the U.S.

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  89. Laurie Mann says:

    It’s interesting that Aldi owns Trader Joe’s. There’s a TJ’s about 25 miles from our house (near a Whole Foods) that we go to about once a month. There’s an Aldi about eight miles away from our house and I never find anything there I want. Too bad they don’t sell any of the TJ brands there!

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  90. John says:

    rofl @ u-boats :o

    I’ve been to trader joe’s in my area, but it hasn’t been a life changing experience since there are several local groceries here with a lot better products.

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  91. John Squire says:

    The “store brand” element of both stores is the same, but TJ brings in a lot of shoppers with high-labor prepared food and a broad/eclectic produce mix. Aldi has very little, if any, prepared food and only staple perishables. The target demographics are quite different, as the profit profiles likely are.

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  92. Laura says:

    For goodness’ sake, go to a co-op! There’s no mystery about who owns those…

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  93. Matt says:

    #68 PsiCop: You might want to try actually visiting an Aldi before commenting next time. The store is full of shelving for the products and a small minority of items like soda and water are displayed on pallets. Ever been to a Costco or Sam’s Club? Most everything is on pallets.

    The quarter for the cart is refunded when you return the cart to the corral. It’s a great system. I’ve often been unable to park in a space at TJ’s due to an empty shopping cart sitting there.

    The food quality is also very good. Not sure what you mean by cheapo other than inexpensive. I find the chicken in the TJ’s frozen meals to be really poor quality, actually. Snobbery like yours is what allows retailers like Whole Foods to sell their products at 70%+ margins.

    I challenge you or anyone to “blind test” an Aldi product next to a national brand, or TJ’s brand for that matter. You’ll be shocked to find that often the national brand is the lowest quality.

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  94. Marcos El Malo says:

    There are six TJs within a roughly 5 mile radius of my home, the closest being about a mile away. TJ really hit prime time during the California supermarket strike. Before then, they were more of a specialty store. It was during the strike that they fleshed out their inventory and it was possible to shop there without having to go to one of the big chains.

    TJs also used to be very cheap. Perhaps they’re still cheaper than Whole Foods and other yuppie magnets, but there was a time when both their prices and their quality was much better than most supermarket chains in my area.

    I still shop there, I’m just not as fanatical. A few years back I went on a frugality kick, so I am just as likely to shop at Foods-for-Less (Kroger) or Fresh and Easy (Tesco). I haven’t seen an Aldi around these parts.

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  95. Geoff says:

    The above commenter is correct. Trader Joe’s is considered a cousin of Aldi’s since it is owned by only one of the two Aldi brothers.

    But I think they employ similar philosophies. One towards high-end stuff. One towards normal groceries.

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  96. Cincinnatus says:

    When we recently moved to a new city, we put proximity to Aldi on our list of criteria for selecting a home. It is a terrific store if you know how to use it — shop there for staples, and go to a regular grocery store for specialty items (which Aldi carries only seasonally). You can’t shop Aldi hoping to find everything, but if you buy your basics there you’ll save a lot of money. On my recent visits I’ve regularly seen shoppers who are “trading down” to Aldi because of the recession — they are shocked that their carts full of groceries ring up at <$100.

    By the way, I love having to pay a quarter to “rent” a shopping cart — the carts are always in top-notch condition, and I don’t have to dodge them in the parking lot with my car. I wish every grocery store did this.

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  97. Chip says:

    WRONG!!!

    A simple wikipedia check shows this quote from Theo Albrecht, the billionaire German owner of Trader Joe’s:

    “He (Theo) owns and was the CEO of the Aldi Nord discount supermarket chain. In the US he owns the Trader Joe’s specialty grocery store chain. His brother Karl Albrecht owns the Aldi Süd discount supermarket chain. The two chains originally were a single family enterprise until a friendly division of assets in 1960. Aldi Süd operates the Aldi groceries in the United States. So Aldi and Trader Joe’s, while owned by the brothers, have separate and distinct ownership and operations.”

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  98. whoanellie says:

    I find this post very amusing. I’ve known this for a while, and when Aldi’s wanted to come to town, residents came out in force to complain about everything from crappy products to “homeless people” loitering near the store. But bring them a TJs and it’s a complete reversal. Aldi has to overcome a lot of stereotyping that TJs doesn’t have. Yes, some Aldi’s aren’t in good shape, but the same can be said for any chain. Some Wal-marts are metal boxes, and others are nice, brick structures with skylights and landscaping. If you want to make a chain like Aldi successful, build nice looking buildings and work on the reputation.

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  99. sparky says:

    As a sometimes TJ customer, it seems that much of their appeal rests on someone thinking they are getting a good deal rather than a good product. I tend to think of it as a high end 7-11: good for some esoteric things and a few deals on some staples, but otherwise I avoid it. I have never been to a TJs that had good produce.

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  100. Hmmmmm says:

    My knowledge of Aldi’s comes soley from the Duggar Family. I thought it was some scratch and dent food chain in ARK. Who knew?

    Are they on the East Coast/Mid Atlantic at all? We are overrun with Traders Joes

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  101. Christine says:

    Never been to either JT’s or Aldi – but I want one in my hood!!! please.

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  102. the frugal more-get says:

    This may be all backwards for my economic situation, but it is my most self-responsible health insurance.

    This might help some people who don’t know how to grocery shop with intution and instead are accustomed to marketing pressure.

    I tend to spend lots of money on high end products that are staples and just try to use less because they are more condensed with nutrients and good stuff for me. I buy real expensive milk, expensive whole grains with funny names, and expensive juices and greens.

    I can make my own yogurt. I save the whey from my homemade yogurt (that’s that liquid stuff that collects in your yogurt container) for quickbreads and baking. No use pouring all that protein down the drain. I extend greens and things by adding cheap beans and making my own soup which is usually cheaper than canned stuff and can be done in a crockpot even if you don’t like standing over a stove.

    If i am going to buy processed food which is seldom the case anymore, I do usually buy one time emotionally triggered goodies at ALDI from their upscale line.

    Also you sould know which produce grows likes weeds and which doesn’t. Be aware of which are affected by bugs and such. In this way you can have make smart choices in buying conventional produce rather than organic. There are lists on the internet to help you.

    Find the value at each type of market.

    And despite dismissing religious things as guilt, find the hidden meaning. Learn the value of a Friday fast. Relax and have some tea. Tomorrow after the farmer’s market treat yourself to a dessert from ALDI, if yu need to.

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  103. David A. Spitzley says:

    Personally, I wish Aldi would parachute into Detroit in volume to mitigate the food desert effect. The whole point with Aldi is that the products are of reliable quality at a very low cost. They could probably single-handedly improve the graduation rate of Detroit’s schools just by making healthy food readily available to the families currently dependent on gas stations and liquor stores for groceries between 20 mile trips to the suburbs.

    Oh, and in my experience their chocolate is actually pretty good, if not quite spectacular.

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  104. Wend says:

    Has anyone ever looked at the fat content numbers on any of the pre-packaged food at Trader Joe’s? Pay attention next time. I assure you that you have never seen higher numbers on any food packaging in your life.

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  105. urgsmurgs says:

    Everyone complaining about Aldi quality, make a blind test and see if you can distinguish aldi no name products from a brand with a huge Advertising budget.

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  106. Karl Siegemund says:

    #10 J.V.

    Exactly that (“Central Market has more brands of chocolate than Trader Joe’s has items.”) was one of the reasons behind Walmart’s failure in Germany: Too many brands with to little revenue per brand and to complicated logistics to restock all brands before the expiring date while at the same time keep enough of each brand in stock so sudden surges in demand could be satisfied.

    ALDI has about three brands of chocolate, and that’s it. Large sale volumes per brand, and no problem with restocking them.

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  107. Karl Siegemund says:

    #3 nancy

    And there was me thinking the headquarters of ALDI where in Muelheim an der Ruhr and in Essen, Germany. Silly me!

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  108. Paul says:

    4 – Those who hate Trader Joe’s and their crappy, pseudo-smiley face service.

    That would be me.

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  109. Matt says:

    @#105, local eating man:

    So, not growing your own food makes you a lazy American? Do Europeans grow more of their own food? I think not.

    Perhaps it isn’t laziness but our family responsibilities, full time jobs, and freezing weather that robs us of the luxury of growing our own food.

    Produce stands and specialty stores are great, as you suggest, but very expensive and inconvenient. Your average American can’t feed their family with French chocolates and heirloom tomatoes. Eating locally is great for those with six-figure incomes.

    “Have you ever been to a chocolate store in France? Unrefined taste are satisfied by unrefined products.”

    Seriously? You’ve taken elitism to the next level.

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  110. kim u says:

    I’m in agreement with Syruss, but would add to the fourth category: “People who have been to Trader Joe’s but think it’s one of the most insanely over-hyped places in the universe.”

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  111. nancy says:

    : another karl on the internet ( i hope you aren’t the same Karl La Fong that used to reply to me or the Karl from Texas who would make fun of me being the wicked witch. Gads these karl types and their humor and long list of stories creepme out I find it so similar to my exhusband’s.)

    correction:

    I thought it quite apparent we were talking about
    the United States headquarters: Batavia. Last year i was driving around fermilab because i was interested in the wilson monument there. The guy who wrote the Humaness of Physics. I had his son for a teacher. It was all closed off and so I was disappointed. I do remember that aldi was right next door, I took a snapshot while driving. And despite not taking notes, i do in my memory remember there was a black mercedes behind me on those streets. Mostly I remember the very attractive man in the passenger seat.

    Funny thing is that one of mr. wilson’s students did a class graphic design project for trader joe’s in a class I was having problems with.

    And finally

    on other comments:
    the trouble with aldi in poorer neighborhoods is that immediately when you walk in the store you are faced with the unhealthiest offerings they have: snackfoods, beer and wine, and candies. You gotta get to the back of the store to get to the better choices. they know this. They know humanness of grocery shopping.

    I do not buy chocoate much anymore as i’ve lost my taste for much of that anyway. But i know some of their bakery offerings are very good. Last weeks valentines hearts (mini linzer tarts) that i bought for myself, narcissist that i am, were very good. They have pretty good spekulatious at Christmas time. As a matter of fact i did use them in a rumball recipe that calls for crushed vanilla wafers. I altered a few things and made spiced rumballs by using the spiced christmas cookies instead. They seemd a bit intense for me, but the flavor did mellow by mid January and they disappeared without a trace.

    There are some choices that i made at ALDI for my children 20 years ago that i probably would have changed now, but hindsight, limited funds and all, you know. I think they will live. Afterall I was nursed with carnation instant milk and am still alive. Had I been breastfed, who knows, I probably would have ended up 6 foot 2 like Maria S and I may have scored a 99 percentile on mechanics too. If carnation canned milk made into formula stunted my growth or made made me fat or dumb, it isn’t that apparent today, is it?

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  112. BRUCE ROTER says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!!

    Bruce Roter, President
    We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District
    http://www.wwtj.org

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  113. Ame says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Ame, wwtj.org

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  114. Al Cannistraro says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Al Cannistraro,
    wwtj.org

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  115. Dirk says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Dirk, wwtj.org

    And having been at both Aldi & TJ, they do use the same model for very different demographics – hope TJs can come and satisfy a demographic in the Albany, NY area.

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  116. Beryl Grant says:

    Hoping Trader Joe will locate in the Capital District of NYS. Have shopped at their stores in MA and love what they have to offer. Hoping, hoping they decide to come here where there are a lot of potential customers.

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  117. Jocelyn says:

    I’m in the Third Group and I Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Jocelyn, Schenectady, NY wwtj.org

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  118. Emily says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Emily D, wwtj.org

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  119. D. Agnew says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Name, wwtj.org

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  120. Sharon Moyer says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Sharon, wwtj.org

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  121. Des B says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Des B, wwtj.org

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  122. Deidre Dennison says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Where else can you get new, interesting products at such a value. For those of us that like organic, or natural foods it’s a haven. All the food is quality in the respect that you don’t have to worry about hydrogenated oils, hormones in the meat/dairy, and the stuff is way cheaper than larger chain stores. It is not a la-te-da specialty shop that charges six dollars for a jar of PB! You can get a jar of organic PB for like 2 bucks! If thats not a steal, I don’t know what is!

    All that, AND the staff is very friendly and helpful! Not to mention the free prepared snack and little cup of coffee!

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  123. annie says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! Desperately!!!!!!!

    We go to TJ whenever we are close and stock up but the closest is more than 2 hours away – Tooooo far for constant use lie we ould like.
    Name, wwtj.org

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  124. Marcene says:

    We are in group no. 3 and want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District!

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  125. Mary Beth & Bob Blackmon Blackmon says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! (Well, actually, TJs doesn’t replace family in our hearts, but it sure comes close.) We shop at Trader Joe’s whenever we find ourselves near one, typically stuffing our luggage with wonderful things on trips to Washington State, California….wherever we are lucky enough to find ourselves in TJ territory. My first encounter was years ago, on Long Island, visiting my sister and that was a life changer!

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  126. Marie Shelto and Bocker the Labradoodle says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!
    Name, wwtj.org

    Even my dog does!!! Right now we drive 100 miles each way to go to the best store in the world…Trader Joe’s.

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  127. Lonnie Clar says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Mr. & Mrs. Lonnie Clar

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  128. Donna Tschetter says:

    Oh yeah – Aldi’s is my # 1 store here in upstate NY.

    Many people are pushing for Trander Joe’s in the Capital District and have made us all well aware of its charms. Much more than a shopping experience, Trader Joe’s is a lifestyle event and awakening of the spirit.

    Trader Joe’s we await thee ….

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  129. Ann Troy says:

    I guess I could fit into category #3 — and I drive 2 1/2 hours once a month to hit the TJ’s I can get to in Connecticut. WE WANT TJ’s in New York’s Capital District ! SOON! Check out our campaign (and we are in the thousand’s) @ wwtj.org.

    Before I moved up here, I had 3 stores within a 20-45 min. radius of my home downstate. I don’t care if it’s owned by a German company — we just want them here!

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  130. Colleen Ryan says:

    We have an Aldi in nearby Rensselaer, but no Trader Joe’s close to upstate New York. We want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District! Thanks, Colleen (www.wwtj.org)

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  131. Aaron Fath says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Aaron Fath, wwtj.org

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  132. Johnny says:

    I fall under #3 “Those who love Trader Joe’s more than they love their own families and are incensed that there isn’t one nearby.” – How about one in upstate NY (ALBANY precisely) ?????

    http://www.wwtj.org

    Thanks,
    Johnny

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  133. L. Rowe says:

    I’m currently in Newport Beach, CA where there is a TJ’s minutes from my sister’s house. I literally load up a suitcase with TJ goodies and fly back across the country to my upstate NY home (Capital District). I’ve been doing this for years. Our area with it’s many colleges, state capitol, national businesses would clearly support a TJ’s!! Please come.

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  134. Nicole says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Nicole LaMora
    Delmar, NY

    www. wwtj.org

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  135. Peg says:

    We love Trader Joe’s here and are trying to get on in the Capital District of NY. I’m tired of having to stock up when I go to visit my children around the country. I like many of their items and feel their food is reasonably priced, especially specialty items. One local supermarket wanted more than double the price per lb. for a cheese, (same brand). Why wouldn’t I want Trader Joe’s? We also have Bruce Roter from St Rose College spearheading a group to get Trader Joe’s here. He even got a spot on You-tube. Thanks Bruce.
    Since you say the store is German, I’m even more proud of my German heritage. Can’t wait for one in the Capital District!!!!!

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  136. l pat says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Who knew about the Aldi’s connection? I’ve lived in Germany and didn’t. My husband loves Aldi’s. Me, I’m not much of a fan and he can go there if he wants. BUT I DO LOVE Trader Joe’s. And I’d like one here. Not Saratoga, who wants to drive for an hour north (I’m talking bad weather). I might as well brave the Bershire’s and go to MASS. It’s only a little farther and the gas was cheaper until this week.

    Tootles.

    Name, wwtj.org

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  137. Jon South says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Name: Jon South

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  138. Sandra says:

    Love Trader Joe’s…but my family & friends come first…and then Trader Joe’s :-) (tee hee)

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  139. Pattie says:

    Must be nice to have all these choices near you and be able to decide which you prefer! I am from the Capital District of New York and would LOVE to have a Trader Joe’s here. I have to work shopping at a TJ’s into trips that have one close by.
    We need TJ’s in our area!!
    Pattie

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  140. Dorothy says:

    I LOVE TJ’s and have NEVER been disappointed in the quality of their products. I now live over 2 hours from the TJ’s I used to shop regularly, and a visit to Westwood, NJ’s TJ’s is still the highlight of any trips downstate! While we are currently campaigning for a Trader Joe’s here in the Capital Region of NY (or maybe 2 or 3), I do much of my shopping at Aldi and have NEVER been dissatisfied with the quality of the house brands there, either. Makes sense that they are owned by the same company, which I did not know before reading this article. HINT to Aldi execs: MUSIC would really make your store even more enjoyable… as if saving a bundle weren’t enough! It’s as quiet in a morgue most of the time… kind of creepy, really.
    I hope those posters who haven’t enjoyed shopping at a Trader Joe’s will give it another chance – the unique variety of frozen dinner offerings alone make them stand out from other chains… and the prices are excellent when every penny counts. A happy & friendly staff round out the experience – at least every time I’ve been there… (ps BRING BACK THE CHUNKS OF GHIRARDELLI CHOCOLATE!!!)

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  141. Louise Golub says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Louise
    wwtj.org

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  142. Susan Jo says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    wwtj.org

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  143. Judy says:

    I guess I am in Catagory 3. I found out about Trader Joe’s while visiting in Chicago. When I am in Chicago I visit the store and feel frustrated because I can’t enjoy all of their wonderful products at home in the Capital District of NYS. Please open a store in our area.

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  144. Jeanne Hagerty says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Jeanne, wwtj.org

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  145. Robin Storey says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! Currently have to drive a long distance to shop at a Trader Joe’s. Let’s get one here!

    Robin Storey, wwtj.org

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  146. William & Meme Pittman says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    The nearest one, as far as we can tell, is in Hadley, MA, which is a nice trip when we’re willing to travel, but why go so far to get food? We need one HERE!

    Bill & Meme Pittman, Niskayuna

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  147. Jackie and Mike DeSanti says:

    We’re in the third group and we want Trader Joe’s in the New York Capital Region !!!
    WWTJ !!!!!!!

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  148. Penny Axelrod says:

    Count me in the Third Group and there’s a large group of us who want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Penny , wwtj.org

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  149. Laurie says:

    We’re a Celiac family and consider TJs a form of life support. They carry awesome gluten-free food at realistic prices! We have an Aldi’s, we don’t have a Whole Foods, we NEED a Trader Joe’s……in NY’s capital city!
    Save me the 3-hr drive to Long Island once a month!

    http://www.wwtj.org

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  150. kkolanach says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    KKolanach wwtj.org.

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  151. RR says:

    We’re in category 3, and We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District of New York State!

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  152. Mark Rusnica says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! Please build one (or more) of those new stores in Albany!

    Mark, wwtj.org

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  153. Mistsi says:

    I already shop at various stores for food: Aldi’s for basics, local supermarkets (Price Chopper and Hannaford for certain fill-ins, and an incredible food coop (Honest Weight Food Coop) for some organic foods and bulk items here in Albany. However, in an attempt to eat more organics on a fixed income, I find myself stocking up on TJ items whenever I’m near one or someone visits from an area lucky enough to have one.

    As for fat content and sodium content, I don’t expect TJ, or anyone else for that matter, to take over my job of reading labels to protect myself. No store is perfect, which is why I shop (and would continue to shop) at more than one. I love my coop, but “We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!”

    Mistsi, wwtj.org

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  154. Sandra says:

    I am in the 3rd group. We NEED a Trader Joes in Albany NY

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  155. Laura says:

    Category #3 person writing to say we need a Trader Joes in Albany!! Help!!!

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  156. Shannon McGivern says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Shannon Mcgivern, wwtj.org

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  157. Jenna says:

    I’m in that third group of shoppers, and I really want a Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District area. We have Aldi’s, which has many basic items at great prices, but to get fair traded coffee, devine goat cheeses, sesame snacks, interesting entrees without a load of salt and addatives, along with knowledgable staff, I need a Trader Joe’s to call my own. Driving to Hadley, Mass. is tiresome and expensive.

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  158. Mary C-B says:

    We’re in the third category and we want Trader Joe’s in the New York’s Capital District!!!!!

    wwtj.org

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  159. JEMFAM says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!
    JEMFAMwwtj.org

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  160. MJ says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    wwtj.org

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  161. chris says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Name, wwtj.org

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  162. Ellen Flanigan says:

    I’m in the third group and We Want A Trader Joe’s in the Capital District!

    wwtj.org

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  163. Susie-Q says:

    I am definitely in the third group. I’d have to travel 2 hours to shop at TJ, but anytime I visit someone near a Trader, that’s where I hhave to shop. Such a great place !! Please get one to New York’s Capital District. Come on, TJ, you have so many people waiting for you !!!

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  164. Julia Walter says:

    I’m in the third group and want TJ in the Capital District. I hate grocery shopping in CA, & having to bring my groceries home in my suitcase.

    Julia from Upstate NY

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  165. Miriam says:

    I shop at Aldi’s and I love it. It certainly is not badly lit, nor is it dirty. On the other hand, the prices are fantastic! I have cut my grocery bill by 25%. since I found it. What they don’t have is variety – but so what? Today I bought a fresh pineapple for $3, a bag of really good romaine salad for $2, cucumbers for .49 each, and 10# of potatoes for $2.29.

    The other great thing about Aldi’s is that they are located in low income neighborhoods. Because most big grocery stores are in the suburbs, poor people or people without cars living in the city are stuck buying their food at mini-marts which have really high prices and no fresh fruit and vegetables.

    And by the way – you get your quarter back when you return the cart.

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  166. Steve says:

    I’ve never been to a Trader Joe’s (they’ve not yet invaded Florida), but I can’t imagine a more irritating place to shop than what has been described here, except maybe Wal-Mart. It strikes me as a kitschy version of its distant relative Aldi. We don’t have any TJ’s here in Florida, but we do have several recently-built Aldis, mostly taking over spots held by U-Saves, Save-a-Lots, Winn-Dixies, and other moribund lower-tier supermarkets, and while they are clean and have an attractive modern design, soon they will likely be as trashy and unpleasant as the stores they replaced. You don’t build a good grocery store on gimmicks, whether it’s Hawai’ian shirts on the employees or quarter deposits for buggies. As a grocer you simply must hire quality staff, clean and maintain the store, sell store brands that compete with the nationals in price and quality, and focus on lowering average prices rather than dropping a few items’ prices to rock bottom or baiting the consumer with sales. In these parts no one does this better than Publix. And I just can’t resist weighing myself on the giant green Toledo scale.

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  167. Beth says:

    TJ Dunkers, need I say more? OK, seriously I want a TJ in the Capital District.

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  168. Judi England says:

    What the heck! This is the Capitol of New York State …and no Trader Joe’s. Let’s get going here.

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  169. llcwine says:

    I’m in the third group…also from the Capital District…for all of you that don’t know where that is….it’s Albany, NY and surrounding areas….and we want TJ’s more than you can imagine…plus now with the impending (I hope) change to NYS laws regarding sales of wine…WHEN (notice, I didn’t say if) Trader Joe’s comes to the area, they will be able to sell 2 buck Chuck as well as their other wonderful stock of wines.

    Please come to the area….I only get to TJ’s when I visit my folks in Tucson.

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  170. Tony says:

    We’re in the 3rd group. We drive 2+ hours once a month from NY’s Capitol District to shop at Trader Joes. When we arrived for vacation in San Diego, one of our first stops was Trader Joes in Hillcrest.

    We want Trader Joes in the Capitol District!

    http://www.wwtj.org/

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  171. Zeke Canidae says:

    We want TJ in or around Albany, NY, i.e. New York’s Capital District.

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  172. Dave In Chicago says:

    set foot in a Chicago’ ALDI store, you’ll never go into one again!

    it’s like visiting a market in a 3rd-world country – BLECCCH.
    lots of loud, stinky poor people (do they ALL have 12 children each??) and sad, unhappy employees.

    maybe the ALDI stores are better outside of the big city?

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  173. Susan Z. says:

    We need a Trader Joe’s in the Albany/Berkshires
    area. Berkshires area is a great tourist spot with many cultural attractions but for organic shopping, we must travel to Albany and other outer areas.

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  174. Kathleen says:

    I fall into the third group and We Want Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District.

    BTW – the author of the article is from NY’s Capital District (outside of Albany). Maybe he will support our cause.

    -Kathleen

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  175. Bonnie Kohn says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! I shop at TJ’s whenever I travell to MA or NJ.

    wwtj.org

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  176. Kieley says:

    We’re in category 3, and We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District of New York State!

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  177. TIm says:

    Category 3 here! We Need a TJ’s in Albany NY! having to travel 2 hours simply to get great goods is a shame! We want a nice, clean, friendly, creative, no frills place to get all our grocery needs. Please Please Please!!!!!! I want to finally plan a vacation where I am not planning where the TJ’s are and hoe much i can bring back with me! ~~Tim (Albany NY)

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  178. kim says:

    I am in the 3rd (world) category and I desperately want Trader Joe’s in the capital region to relieve my boredom with Price Chopper.
    But, please please please I beg of you don’t put it in Saratoga just because they are rich. If it is centrally located in the county of Albany I guarantee it will make lots of money.

    A work to Steve in the comment above…Don’t knock it till you tried it, hon.

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  179. Cheryl says:

    We’re in the third group and………………….WE WANT TRADER JOE’S IN NEW YORK’S CAPITAL DISTRICT!!!!!!!!!

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  180. Mary Frances says:

    Count me in. I love TJs. Esp their chocolate meringue treats and sticky rice cookies. Oh the possibilities to eat healthier with a TJS in the Cap District!

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  181. Maria says:

    Definitely in the third group! I’m very tired of driving to Paramus NJ for my TJ fix. We NEED one here!

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  182. Kelly says:

    A Trader Joe’s would be such an asset to the Capital District! The closest one is 2+miles away.

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  183. Erin J says:

    While I love Trader Joe’s I did not know they were owned by the same people who own Aldi. Now Upstate New York has plenty of Aldi supermarkets, WHY CAN”T WE HAVE A TRADER JOE”S TOO! I am of the third category…I drive three hours to a store just outside of Newark, New Jersey to buy two-buck chuck by the case. We plan vacation routes to include a stop at the nearest Trader Joe’s. For those of the #1 Brand, I feel deeply sorry for you, but only hope that you don’t discover Trader Joe’s before they come to your neighborhood. If you are a #3 or a Trader Joe exec, check out http://www.wwtj.org an ever-growing grassroots movement to bring TJ’s to NY’s Capital Region.

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  184. Heather says:

    I’m from upstate ny, near albany, and i know that I love ALDI’s and also really want a trader’s joe’s in the area…. we’ve been trying to get the company to look at our area for ages….

    We could use more ALDI’s as well :)

    I shop at a variety of stores….

    From Aldi’s to Hannaford, to super Walmart….

    each have different things that i want/need.

    So, i’d be thrilled if Trader Joe’s would move on into the capital district…. we have a few ALDI’s already.

    Heather
    troy, ny

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  185. Lisa says:

    I’m in the third group (unless my family is really on a roll!)and would love to see Trader Joes come to the capital district of NY!

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  186. Larry T. says:

    Trader Joe’s … come to NY’s Capital District!

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  187. Nancy says:

    I actually love TJ’s a little less than my family but there wasn’t an option for that! We’re in the Third Group and “We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!”

    http://www.wwtj.org

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  188. Carrie Morgan says:

    WE WANT TRADER JOE’S!!!!! WE NEED TRADER JOE’S!!!!

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  189. Kris Dallas says:

    Definitely in the third category and a member of an organized group desperately trying to get a TJ’s in the Capital District of New York State. We are all driving two hours to either Hadley, MA or Danbury, CT. I even have a friend sending me items in the mail from D.C.!

    PLEASE, TJ’s… we have over a million people in the area and probably enough market share to open two or more stores here!

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  190. redwinemom says:

    I am definitely in the #3 Category!

    I only wish the TJ’s Company (no matter where they are from) would check out ALL that the Capital District Region of New York has to offer!

    (This region includes Albany, Saratoga, Troy and Schenectady.)
    Trader Joes is great – and so is the Capital District Region (from NY)!

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  191. Ginny says:

    #3 category person weighing on for a Trader Joes in the Capital District. Larchmont is TOO FAR!!!

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  192. Rhonda says:

    Another vote for Trader Joe’s in the NY Capital Region (Saratoga County please). . .

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  193. Mandi says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Saratoga would be best for me!

    wwtj.org

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  194. Karla says:

    We want Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District!!! Why should my cousins in NJ get all the fun? Every time I visit them I have to stock up and haul it all back home, and I don’t get to visit them often. =(
    And yes, I’ve even resorted to sending a list with people that I know are going down there… and vice versa. Save us all some trouble and open TJ’s up here soon!!!

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  195. Beverly says:

    We are in group #3., and definitely want a Trader Joe’s in our NY Capital District Area. The only time I get to go is when we are at our summer place in Cape Cod or when we go on business somewhere where they have one. Love all that we have bought there. We do also shop at various markets in order to support local farms and businesses, etc Co-op, Farmer’s Market, Local Wine Stores…yes large markets, Hannaford and Price Chopper….but they don’t have the organic variety that I would like. We also buy a CSA organic farm share yearly. You need to shop around to get the price and quality on everything. The large chains could use the competition. I’m a chef and want to buy the best at good price.

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  196. Jennifer says:

    Category 3 – I want a Trader Joe’s in the Capital District so I don’t have to drive 2.5 hours round-trip to get the TJ’s items that I love!

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  197. CG says:

    I’m in category 3, and We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District of New York State!

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  198. Kate, WWTJ.org says:

    Group #3 (shhh, don’t tell the kids). We want TJs here in New York’s Capital District. My family members who live in TJ-rich areas are tired of my regular visits which involve carefully planned itineraries, timed with the departure/average melt time of frozen foods.

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  199. Brenda says:

    I wish to echo the sentiments of my fellow NY Capital District neighbors. Whether you are a TJ lover or not, having several choices for food shopping seems like such a natural thing in the good ole USA. However, it is not the case in our area! TJ’s uniqueness would be a welcome additon to the region that offers limited grocery store options. (I doubt I that would shop regularly at a Central Market or Whole Foods…too high of a price point for my pocketbook!)

    Trader Joe’s…We support you!

    wwtj.org

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  200. Jennifer says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

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  201. Peter Mahigian says:

    We want Trader Joe’s in the Albany, NY area. PLEASE!!!!

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  202. phyllis says:

    Thousands of Albany, NY area residents travel to MA to satisfy their yen for all things TJ.

    They promise to continue to adore their families, while LOVING a local Trader Joe’s anywhere near Albany!

    When I travel –San Francisco, Cape Cod, Boston,
    Brooklyn–I always return with TJ products. Love the mini whole wheat bagels, small packs of nova lox, chocolate covered caramels, butternut squash soup–all cheaper than the markets in my region and delicious.

    As for Aldo–been to one in Queensbury, NY once, and was never the least bit tempted to go back even though I pass it weekly on my way to the Adirondacks.

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  203. Caroline says:

    Trader Joe’s please come to New York’s Capital District! Then I can stop smuggling cheese in my suitcase!

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  204. Ruth says:

    Trader Joe’s will make a lot of money if they open a store in the Albany NY area! Don’t they want to make money?

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  205. Caroline says:

    That Sham-wow reference is a scream.

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  206. Ruth says:

    I got hooked on TJs when living in Santa Barbara. It is the perfect solution for single people who don’t like to cook from scratch all the time, but like to eat organic and healthy meals at a reasonable price. Now that I live in the Capital District of NY, I have to travel to CT or MA to get my fix of TJs goodies. If TJs were to bring a store near me, I would definitely shop there for nearly my entire grocery list every week. Also, I would not have to take my friends’ lists with me, cause they would be able to do their own shopping. There is a huge market here for that store!!

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  207. Heather in New York's Capital says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    We have an entire campaign dedicated to the cause – check us out: wwtj.org

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  208. Sue says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Sue, wwtj.org

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  209. Jess says:

    PLEASE bring Trader Joe’s to New York’s Capital District!

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  210. Adriana says:

    I live in South Pasadena right by the very first Trader Joe’s. I don’t care who owns the stores, they have a very special community feel to them. Going there on a Saturday adds to my quality of life: buying those products I love (and there are many of them) in a nicely decorated store assisted by friendly employees. As in any bargain setting, you just have to watch what you buy. If you get your fresh produce at the local farmer’s market, and some brand items at the regular supermarket, you’ll be all set!
    I’ve shopped at ALDI in Europe and it was terrible. If the same people own Trader Joe’s I congratulate them for now owning something that is SO MUCH BETTER!

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  211. Sherry says:

    I’m in the 3rd group. Please TJ’s, come to Clifton Park, NY!

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  212. Betty says:

    We love Trader Joe’s and want it in the Capital District, upstate New York, either Albany, Colonie, Schenectady, Clifton Park or Saratoga anyplace closer than Hadley, Mass. My cat goes crazy for the canned cat food which we have to drive an hour and half to get. Aldi is OK but far out from Trader Joe’s.

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  213. Natalie says:

    Please bring TJ to Albany, NY!

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  214. Tracey says:

    I fall in to the 3rd category and We Want Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District! The upstate area is in desperate need of Trader Joe’s help.

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  215. Maureen says:

    Bring Trader Joe’s to New York’s Capital Region! I have a friend that lives in Amherst, MA and he is always bringing in delicious treats to work, that I would like to be able to find around here!

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  216. Paul Hoffman says:

    Re #21: The story I heard in L.A. is that, before there was a chain, there was just one Trader Joe’s in South Pasadena. The same people owned a small chain of local markets called Pronto Markets, which we had one in the Palisades when I grew up.

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  217. Nicole Angelou says:

    My family and I would be soooo pleased if a Trader Joe’s moved into the Albany area. I used to live in Long Island and LOVED the TJ’s in Island Park. Please, please, please !!!

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  218. christine says:

    We are the capital of one of the most important, well-known states in the country. In Albany, we all travel a long way to get to a Trader Joe’s. Think of all the people west of us who have less access than we do. They will come to Albany’s TJ’s.

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  219. Ginny says:

    I’m in he third group and I NEED Trader Joe’s in the Capital District

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  220. Sarah says:

    I’m DEFINITELY a 3….. The Albany area wants and needs a Trader Joe’s! PLEASE COME TO NY’S CAPITAL REGION!!!!!!!

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  221. Mike B says:

    But which Aldi…there are two, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud :-P

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  222. JB says:

    I live in the upstate NY area known as the Capital District (Albany/Schenectady/Troy — would love to have a Trader Joe’s in the area! We have Aldi’s in the area but Trader Joe’s would be a welcome addition.

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  223. Cheryle says:

    I’m in that third group, those who love Trader Joe’s more than (well as much as ) their own family and want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District!!

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  224. bruna says:

    I’m in the Third Group and YES, We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District! Try having to drive 200 miles once a month to get your groceries supply!

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  225. Colin says:

    I’ve recently begun shopping at the Aldi’s in Rensselaer, and it’s nothing like the description of the one in Chicago. We do need a TJ in the capital district, more specifically in downtown Albany. The locals are stuck with going to the Delaware Ave Price Chopper, which is dismal beyond belief. I don’t doubt that Price Chopper took their management play book for that store from that Aldi’s in Chicago, if Dave in Chicago’s description is correct. The bottom line is we residents downtown deserve better!

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  226. linda says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

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  227. Eileen says:

    I am in Group #3 and live outside of Albany, NY–WE NEED US A TRADER JOE’S, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!

    Is that forceful enough? They’d make money hand over fist here. Get ‘er done!

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  228. Ursula Abrams says:

    I used to live in Seattle and shopped almost exclusively at Trader Joe’s There is nothing I don’t love about it. I miss my Seattle friends, and I miss the mountains, but none of that compares to how much I miss Trader Joes. My life would be perfect if TRADER JOES CAME TO SARATOGA SPRINGS or anywhere else in the Capital District.

    PLEASE!!!! Thanks.

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  229. Bruce says:

    I’d LIVE at Trader Joe’s if one opened in Albany, NY’s Captal District!!! (i.e Third group)

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  230. Courtney Stanger says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Courtney, wwtj.org

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  231. Jeff P. says:

    I’m in the third group:
    we want a Trader Joe’s in the Capital Region of NY!

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  232. Marty from Albany says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    We feel the market is great and ripe for this to thrive here,
    Sick of having to drive 2 hours to get to the closest one in MA.

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  233. wrenbob says:

    3rd group and think it is unfair not to have a store here in the Albany area!

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  234. Kerry says:

    I am part of group #3 and I Want a Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District region!! Shopping 3 hrs away and hoping it doesn’t spoil in the insulated cooler is no way to live, people!! Please bring a TJs to upstate NY ASAP :)
    wwtj.org

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  235. daddio says:

    Spent many dollars at the TJ’s in Saint Louis. Smallish stores, located in yuppie areas, but good deals if you shop the sales. I viewed them as a boutique market to get things I could not get readily at the local markets. I miss their selection of breads and cheeses. Overall, a nice place for occasional shopping, but too rich for every trip.

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  236. Kim Young says:

    We’re in the third group! Please bring a Trader Joe’s to the Captial District!

    Consider it as being environmentally responsible…we will use less gas shopping during a lunch hour, than driving 4 hours roundtrip to visit the closest one!
    -K

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  237. sara says:

    I’m in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!

    Sara
    wwtj.org

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  238. Karen Wood says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!!

    As a native from SoCal now transplanted in Upstate NY, TJ’s is the thing I miss the most (besides the sun).

    Karen Wood,
    We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District
    http://www.wwtj.org

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  239. Jared says:

    I fall into a fourth category – I’ve been there and i hate it. Why do they have to shrink wrap every individual vegetable?

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  240. C R says:

    I am definitely in category 4 named in the comments–what is the big deal? I have several near me and they are the pits…

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  241. Abi says:

    I am in the 3rd group and we NEED Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital district. I have to drive 2+ hours to the nearest TJs and stock up, and whenever I go, all my friends give me their lists to bring them back what they need, too!! There is a built-in market here.

    Come on, TJs, when are you coming to Albany??

    WE WANT TRADER JOE’S IN THE CAPITAL DISTRICT!!!

    wwtj.org

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  242. AS says:

    We are in Boston, MA at least once a month and always make time for shopping at TJ’s…it’s crazy to have to haul groceries 2 1/2 hours! We want a Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District…Albany, NY.

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  243. Karen Di Palma says:

    I became enamored with Trader Joe’s when my daughter was attending college in Boston. When I drive to visit relatives in NJ or DE, I always pack a cooler for a side trip to Trader Joe’s.
    They have delicious Na’an bread (only 3 points each on Weight Watchers) and 100 calorie chocolate bars (either milk or dark). They stock unusual items compared to the chain stores, Aldi, Price Chopper and Hannaford. Our WWTJ group has over 2100 members in the Albany NY region. All of us would prefer not to commute 110+ miles to the nearest Trader Joe’s.
    I am proud to be a member of group #3. Here’s wishing and hoping and praying for Trader Joe’s here in upstate NY.
    Thank you all.

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  244. Ame Nigro says:

    Trader Joe’s is a must stop by when I travel. I’ve tried to get them in Syracuse, NY where we have lots of college kids, but am willing to support a Trader Joe’s in SARATOGA, NY which is a huge MECCA for many people, esp. New Yorkers & Jerseyites!

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  245. Sara says:

    We’re in category 3, and We Want Trader Joe’s in the Capital District of New York State too!

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  246. ninamjones says:

    i just would like to know why they can make the smallest hand held computer but they can’t manufacture a smaller easy to swallow potassuin cholride. why does it have to be so big it can choke a horse. it easier to take 5 small tablet equal to 1 big one .

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  247. Sarah says:

    Not to sound like a scrooge, but…
    I doubt the Trader Joe’s execs are going to read about your fervent desire for a Trader Joe’s here, and these comments really have nothing to do with this story. Can’t they be removed by the moderator?

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  248. Jennifer says:

    We’re in the Third Group and We Want Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!
    J. Martinez wwtj.org

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  249. Deb says:

    I’ve never met a Trader Joe’s I didn’t love, great quality, wonderful selection, excellent prices. When we are traveling and see a TJ’s we stop to stock up. Anyone who has negative comments about TJ’s has obviously never been in one. Yes, Yes, Yes, we need one here in the Albany, NY area. PLEASE.

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  250. Lana Sullivan says:

    Our family of seven people falls into the third group and We Want Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District.

    It is too far to travel to NJ or closer to NYC anyway every time we need something at TJ! ‘

    Lana

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  251. Alexis Lane says:

    We’re in the 3rd group and we SO want a Trader Joe’s in New York’s Capital District!!! Please oh, please.

    wwtj.org

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  252. Abby says:

    Trader Joes near me please!

    We want Trader Joes in the Capital Region.
    wwtj.org

    Help with our carbon footprint because we won’t have to drive 2 hours; help with healthy food-TJ has healthy food; help with our food budget-TJ has great prices; Help with our peace of mind-TJ CAN provide that!

    Trader’s Joes IS THE PANACEA!!

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  253. Ai Gee says:

    I fall into the third group and We Want Trader Joe’s in NY’s Capital District.

    This town need grocery competition. TJ’s will complement our Food Coop nicely too!

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  254. Hilary Schrauf says:

    While I think Aldi is perfectly fine for basics, I really do want a TJs here in the Capital District. I shop there whenever I’m in MA or NJ, and would prefer not to have to wait until I’m going there to get items I prefer and love.

    For the record, Aldi does tend to build in marginal neighborhoods over here, but in Ireland they compete with Tesco, Dunne’s, and Centra in the same decent neighborhoods and the same crummy ones as well. They are price leaders on certain things but not all products, so I expect I’ll still shop at four grocery stores anyway. I just really want a TJs here because their products are excellent, their selection is fabulous, and they have a wider range of international foods than any other store in our area, even Honest Weight, and certainly Aldi.

    Pleeze! Bring a TJs here and you won’t regret it! Now, the only rub is that we’d still have to go to MA or NJ to get “Two Buck Chuck”!

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  255. Susie-Q says:

    I am definitely in the third group. O how I miss TJ. I shopped there so much when I lived on Long Island where we had two. (Maybe they have more now?) So, please let’s get one to the New York Capital District.

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  256. susan says:

    What about TJ in the Catskills? Shouldn’t it be near the spiritual home of the Woodstock Festival? How about Saugerties? Kingston? Or how about Woodstock? The Elna Magnetics building would be perfect and TJ would become a destination!

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  257. tenacioustij says:

    I live in albany and i do not fall under either of these groups. Thats probably because i realized early on that Wegmans is far superior to Trader Joe’s. If someone was going to waste gas to drive 100 miles each way to go to TJ’s, its painfully obvious that they dont realize they could drive an additional 40 miles to get to Wegmans.

    im certainly glad im not any of your family members…

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  258. Blah says:

    Go away Trader Joe’s. I DON’T want you in the Capital District. I like the local choices here that these clowns who obsess over you would put out of business.

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  259. molly says:

    I don’t care what group I’m in, I just want a Trader Joes near Albany, NY!

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  260. glenn s. says:

    In response to Mr./Ms. Blah, 1. Clowns? There’s nothing funny about progress; 2. “would put out of business,” You speak out of fear, not out of facts; and 3. Your comment clearly reflects the calcified “old Albany” mindset, not the dynamic, progressive community we have become-the type of community that Trader Joe’s ought to be a part of!

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  261. Donnean Thrall says:

    I am also tired of driving to Hadley, MA to get my Trader Joe’s essentials. So I am part of #3 and deperately want a Trader Joe’s in the Capital District. Please, Please, Please.

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  262. steve says:

    FALSE: Aldi doesn’t own Trader Joe’s. Do your research. The guy that owns Trader Joe’s also owns Aldi’s. Not anywhere near the same thing.

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  263. F Noelke Noelkef Noelke noelke says:

    I cannot believe that Trader Joes is a German owed company that promotes their own brands. Fresh and Easy is doing the same thing in AZ, CA and NV and they are British owned. At least, Whole Foods is from the US. You are being manipulated by their marketing. They have made it a cool place to shop, but they are in fact foreign owned. The problem with the economy right now is that we are have sent many of our jobs overseas and we are allowing Fresh and Easy and Trader Joes to come in.

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  264. Caroline says:

    I had heard/read that TJ’s is owned by Aldi and have asked several clerks at my local TJ’s to confirm this. The most I could ever get out of any one was for him to concede that Aldi and TJ’s were owned by the same company.

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  265. Dolores says:

    I heard the original “Trader Joe” was actually a man named Louis Kestenbaum, who was not exactly a surfer dude from CA or a communal farmer, but simply one who grew and enjoyed natural foods at a low price. Who really cares who the owners are, anyway? It’s a great place to shop, period.

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  266. Douglas Gallop says:

    I’ve found Aldi to be great. Coming from Upstate NY (now residing in Manhattan), I see the similarities. Most Aldi stores are simple, no-frills shopping. You can get high-quality food for lower-than-supermarket prices, just like you can go to a Trader Joe’s and get high-quality organic food for a lower-than-Whole-Foods price.

    It’s a decent strategy, god bless Aldi.

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  267. Nick from TJs says:

    Well….I work at Tjs. In 5 years, i’ve learned a little. While I don’t claim everything I say to be 100% correct, its going to be much more so than most people on here. For instance, two posts up?! Who the hell is Louis Kestenbaum. You don’t even need wikipedia to figure out it was Joe Coulombe. YES! One brother owns Trader Joes…..he also owns Aldi in America, however Aldi does not own TJs. The whole not opening in Colorado is because of not being able to have wine and beer (1/3 of TJs Sales). We want to move there, and as soon as that law changes we will!! New Jersey TJs have alcohol in the stores.. The very first store was in Pasadena, CA. It has since relocated. We are non-Union because they really do treat us better than if we were in a union. 4 Raises a year, full insurance with BLue Cross including health, vision, and dental. A Retirement Plan!!! Unlimited days off. Great pay! Tiny Discount (10%) Truthfully though, its just fun to work there. What else needs debunking? Oh and for people quoting the stuff they find on Wikipedia……its a good reference tool, but no where near reliable (my teachers won’t accept it!) Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chuck or Charles Shaw is and has only ever been sold at Trader Joes, not Whole foods, or Wegmens as someone thought they once saw it there. And as far as packaging on the grocery and other packaging, Trader Joes is the greenest Grocer in the US, it wasn’t like this 3 years ago! But no one can touch us now. Now keep in mind THEY are the greenest grocer, that means in store, and the store’s carbon footprint, this does not include the packaging and goods you take home then throw away, that is YOUR carbon footprint as the end-user!! I’ll check back here next week if anyone has anymore questions. I will say I am interested in this Wegmen’s, as it sounds very well liked by the TJs crew (you guys!)

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  268. Tim Stewart (Niskayuna, NY) says:

    Been to an ALDI and a TJ’s each one time. ALDI in Binghamton area had great prices. Selection and quality was poor. You get what you pay for. My only trip to a TJ’s was in Newton, MA and I was impressed. Didn’t hurt my wallet and many choices along with a better food shopping experience.

    It would be nice for the Capital Region to catch up with the times. I think we’re ready for a TJ’s even though it could hurt the new COOP a little. There’s enough love to go around.

    -Tim

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  269. Neo Donald says:

    It is actually the other way round. TJs owns Aldi and not vice-versa..My wife works at TJs and I have read extensively about the company.

    Both companies are actually privately owned by two german brothers.

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  270. Ronnie says:

    I would love if they open a Trader Joe’s in Rochester Minnesota.. I really like this store. We have to drive a 80 miles to shop at Trader Joe’s. We love all the food they have. Please open one. Thanks.

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  271. Chrisfs says:

    A very common criticism when it comes to public health in poorer urban areas is that there are no supermarkets in those areas and so people pay more at convenience stores and don’t have access to fresh vegetables.
    I have often wondered why some enterprising chain hasn’t tried to start up there. Yes it’s not an affluent neighborhood, but if the supermarket is only one in the neighborhood, it going to make tons of business.

    Why hasn’t Trader Joes or Aldi with a rep of cheap food tried to make a toe hold in poorer urban neighborhoods?

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  272. jeri says:

    I started shopping at TJ’s in souther n California a few years ago when visiting my mother.[she took me there] I was thrilled. It was fun and the prices were almost unbelievable! So my husband and I have shopped at quite a few in the southland and on the way home. There are no TJ’s in the STATE where I live so I have to drive around 400 miles to the nearest one. Well, anyway, I went online and read the story of Trader Joe’s and it isn’t anything like the one that;s being talked about here. Am I just behind or did someone build a good story?

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  273. Wigstand says:

    Why do Jewish people slam Whole Foods in blogs while promoting crummy Trader Joe”s at the same time?
    Answer: Because Trader Joe”s is German Jewish owned that is why. I was in the food biz on the west coast for a spell and there is a very nasty ‘mafia” in that area. They bad rap, spread lies about non jewiscompetitors and this mostly ocurring in the veg/natural/organic area of the biz. It is horrible and I witnessed it and it’s sources close up.
    Whole Foods is top dog in the sector lets face it. The top dog always gets all the kicks right?
    I was sitting outside a newly opened Whole Foods in a northwest city with a friend. So happy they opened. A middle aged man was riding his expensive mountain bike back and forth in front of the store. Thought nothing of it until I saw his face was angry. He finally rode up to us as we enjoyed our salald’s and began berating us! for shopping at Whole Foods and not the very Jewish owned New Seasons local chain. It was rather shocking.
    I just told him to me it is a store superior to all others and I actually look forward to walking in their doors “of any Whole Foods. Then I said “It’s still a free country to shop where you wish right? This local chin to me was a pale copy of Whole Foods and a hub for the Jewish community.
    To each his or her own.
    As time went on I noticed Whole Foods being hatefully bashed in local food blogs and even the local press in this city. Very strange. I never brought up Whole Foods around Jewish friend the entire time I resided in that area. It has happened on a few of those types of blogs in Chicago. Commentors bashing Whole Foods .
    Waste of time I say.

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  274. Ras Jimi says:

    Since I’m not a lemming as respects “must patronize” food stores, I too don’t buy into the Trader Joes hype. The targeted customer base is obviously pretentious nutri-elitists too lazy and/or domestically inept to optimize use of their own kitchens. Too many are duped by TJ’s bogus “organic” labeling. The produce is just average and lots of their items are prone to rapid spoilage.

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  275. Christina says:

    Interesting.. you know, I’ve seen some of the more run-down Aldi stores in the past, but the one near my house is always bright and clean, well organized/stocked, and the employees are amazingly efficient and knowledgeable. I can’t help but feel a certain amount of satisfaction over the food snobs who like Trader Joe’s but wouldn’t touch Aldi with a stick (thanks for the expression ;).

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  276. JCO says:

    While Trader Joe’s may currently be owned by Aldi’s (although I didn’t know the name I have known for a while that they had been bought out by a large European corporation) that was not always the case. They did start as a small family owned business in Southern California (possibly full of surfers and gardeners…) specializing in overstocked wines at discount prices. Then they added nibbles (such as cheese and pretzels) and it took a long time before they evolved into what they are today, although they did become a largish CA grocery chain BEFORE being bought out by the Germans.
    I guess I fit category 4 – those who used to love TJs (in the 80s and 90s) and are now indifferent, not because Aldi’s brought it down a notch, but because my taste in food has improved.

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  277. Lisa says:

    Technically incorrect. Trader Joe’s was founded in 1967 by Joe Coulombe in CA, who then sold the chain to a trust created by Aldi co-founder Theo Albrecht in 1977. The TRUST owns Trader Joe’s, not the Aldi chain itself.

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  278. Karen says:

    #13 – DK1 I cracked up reading your comment! I’m with you! Give me my Trader Joe fix. We don’t have them in Flordia. Very traumatic having to leave my Ohio store!

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  279. Allison says:

    The Aldis where i shopped in northern Germany were a cross between Aldi in the US and Trader Joe’s– crappy stuff you wouldn’t touch, plus decent quality brie cheese and chocolates etc very cheap. And off-brand beer and liquor. Not kitschy like TJ’s, but fun looking for great bargains.

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  280. Bennie says:

    Any of you who can’t see any similarities are blind. Between the two of those stores I do my weekly shopping, prepare delicious healthy meals, and save hundreds of dollars. Try not being fooled by huge supermarkets for a minute and put a couple dollars in the bank!

    To #11, do you really not have a quarter in your car? Do you ever park in a parking spot with a meter? Not to mention YOU GET THE QUARTER BACK!

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  281. martin says:

    Trader Joe’s is NOT owned by Aldi. this is a common misconception. I work for T.J’s and we are currently based out of Monrovia CA. The people who own T.J’s and Aldi are brothers, yes, and they’re German, but the 2 companies have completely separate ownership and operations.

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  282. girl says:

    I grew up in Germany and WITH Aldi, their stuff is inexpensive but still bears some quality , people line up when there are special sales and they are always sold out within days – ALDI just slaps on their own name on goods and is done with it.

    The store started by two German brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht (my Oma would call the store Albrecht but I never new why until I found out about the brothers). The Albrechts still own the store one owns the north the other one owns the south and they split the world pretty much the same way.

    Everyone I know over there shopped at Aldi and when I moved over here (USA) I couldn’t believe people would pay more for stuff just so they can have it bagged and get a nice shelf where stuff sits on. Things change when you don’t have the money.

    We JUST got a Trader Joe’s (8/21 opening) and that in itself is cause for celebration and when I heard that “the Germans” specifically Aldi bought it, I was elated.
    Aldi has a proven concept of conducting business making it successful even in downturn. So TJ’s is here to stay.

    In some way has ‘retrained’ the public. BYOB- Bring your own bags and return your darn karts when you are done!

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  283. sandra Crisp says:

    KEMORE, WA wants Trader Joe’s

    Please come here-quickly as possible

    You will be appreciated!

    Thanks for the opportunity to contact you.

    SC

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  284. The1HippieChick says:

    LOL – The only two stores I shop are Aldi and Trader Joe’s ( I live in one town, work in another, and both stores are not in the same geographical area). Now I understand why the quality is so great at both!

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  285. mary houston says:

    I love Trader Joe’s wish you would open a few in Fl one in the Tampa area and
    Bradenton area in Fl

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  286. washington state says:

    Wow. I hope my generation is more suspicious of it’s food sources than the people who currently buy into all of the romanticized baloney that Trader Joe’s sells! My whole family is made up of farmers so I’ve been spoiled when it comes to real food — straight from the source — and it’s pretty obvious when you walk around Trader Joe’s that with those prices, someone has to be getting the shaft — and with the poor quality I see throughout (blatantly obvious in the cheap wine, some of which can give a 19 year-old a hangover with just one glass), the one getting the shaft is the consumer. Seriously, when are people going to learn that they get what they pay for? If you’re more interested in pretty, unverified, illustrated-not-photographed stories than the truth, then TJ’s is for you!

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  287. Kenzo M Colon says:

    I wish we had a Trader Joe’s in our area and run by me, can this happen

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  288. Stella says:

    Trader Joe’s USED TO BE great, with the best customer service…but now, but now, at least here in Los Angeles, they started hiring part-time employees who also work at Ralphs! We left Ralphs due to their poor and rude customer service…and now we’re dealing with the same guys from Ralphs who are so rude at Trader Joe’s, it’s UN-Trader-Joe’s-like…So, now we go to Whole Foods…because we tried to email Trader Joe’s headquarters, but there’s no customer service link there for complaints…Figures. Ah, and true that their food is for immediate consumption or it’ll go bad…

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  289. Lemur Time says:

    Wow, I just love TJ’s! I was surprised when I had bought some funky hummus at Aldi and was returning it. I apologized and said that it was plainly not very tasty and in fact was not dissimilar to wall paper paste and that I would have to head down to TJ’s (a 15 mile drive) to pick some up. My jaw dropped open when the attendant said “that’s strange, Aldi owns Trader Joe’s and I would have thought the products were the same.” I stammered to respond, and in fact there was only a 20 cent price difference between the wallpaper paste Garlic Lover’s hummus of Aldi and the delicious Roasted Garlic Hummus of TJ’s. I went back to TJ’s this weekend and bought the TJ Garlic Lover’s Hummus almost expecting the Aldi flavor experience, but it was not bad and was in fact delicious. The product quality, if based on this one experience, are not identical.

    By the way, when I lived in Paris in the 1990′s, there is a low end grocery store chain called Ed L’Epicier, or was lovingly referred to as such. When I first stepped into Trader Joe’s back in the 1990′s, the whole Paris atmosphere came rushing back and it felt very similar. Ed’s was the same kind of thing as TJ’s in that most of the products were house brand but not quite no-frills. Although, objectively, Ed’s was a little closer to Aldi than TJ but it brought back those good memories of watching the budget in Paris.

    Enough, TJ’s and Aldi are both good stores for what their target markets are. I will continue to shop at both on a situation by situation basis.

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  290. Leslie says:

    I used to live in Seattle, now live in France… where I miss TJs and refuse to shop at our local Aldi. I completely agree with Rob in comment 11: Aldi produce is terrible, most of the other foodstuffs it sells are junk. Who shops at Aldi in my region? The German and Dutch campers who come our way during the summer months. Curiously there’s a Lidl right across the street, same type of store, German-owned as well, and, like Aldi, frequented by vacationers for the most part. The local license plates in the parking lot usually belong to people looking for non-food bargains. I’m wondering if TJ’s will venture into the French market. Netto is the closest to it and ours was just replaced by its higher priced version, Intermarché.

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  291. Kristen says:

    I am a frequent shopper at Aldi’s, and now a devotee of Trader Joe’s. Their gluten free products are fabulous and will make me return again and again. Both stores satisfy me – the workaholic shopper with celiac on a budget descended from some branch of the Albrechts in Germany! My mother (an Albrecht) would have loved this! Aldi – keep doing what you are doing! Danke!

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  292. Tera says:

    I thought Aldi was the brain child of an IL man named Phil Neally?

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  293. Norm Bullock says:

    I would like to se Trader Joe’s go public…I would definately buy shares in the company….It is a very good store to shop in……

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  294. LedPhloydGeuse says:

    I worked at TJ’s for a long time and I also remember the Germans coming to visit on one occasion. It was all very tense and we were also told not to talk to them; while I appreciate everything they did for me, I must admit it was a very corporate-Disney atmosphere.

    While we do carry some specialty items at good costs (wine, candy, cookies, etc…), I must admit that the quality of our perishables is pretty questionable. Stick to the grocery isle and chips and you’ll be okay.

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  295. YepandAhuh says:

    With each store the customer has to be very careful. Checking labels, place of origin, freshness/expiration dates is imperative. With the economy as it is biting into our budget our family has to shop around. We’ve got both: Aldi close and TJ’s a bit farther. Aldi is our place for canned beans, canned tomatoes, box cereal, select veggies (gotta really check origin there, lots from Canada lately), and milk. They have a great chocolate bar there too. But the last bar I bought had stale nuts. I do take products back if I I’m not satisfied.
    TJ’s is fun for the “poke-around” usually before a holiday, like now. But I wouldn’t buy ANY fresh veggies. It’s kind of creepy though-yeah, I agree that the customers act cult-like.
    We have an OUTPOST co-op store where I like to shop too. And we have WHOLE FOODS.
    A little bit everywhere is the only way to do it.

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  296. Jesse says:

    Please open a Trader Joe’s in Houston, on the West Side preferably, and I promise I will never go to Central Market again, ever!!!
    Don’t let Austin be first in Texas to have a Trader Joe’s, they are overloaded with Whole Foods markets.
    I am selling my second home in Tucson and having to say “goodbye” to the four Trader Joe’s there and it makes me more sad to leave Trader Joe’s than to leave my lovely house in Tucson.

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  297. ms.lily says:

    Although Trader joes settles into higher income neighborhoods it is not for the rich! I have never been able to afford to buy a full grocery cart of groceries at any other store of the same quality goods as I have a T.J.’s! Once you get used to buying there brand and trying the newest products you will love it. T.J.’s is not for those ad based shoppers or coupon cutters so beware, it is a cult and you might get hooked!

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  298. nil zed says:

    Having experienced Aldi’s stores in the UK, and TJ’s stores in SoCal, I say this information explains a lot.

    So, that’s why TJ’s self labelled Christmas goods are somewhat german-ish, they are relabelling Aldi items! Or at least using the same suppliers even if the product is configured a bit differently (using higher or lower quality ingredients, or going heavier or lighter on the seasonings). This policy must be why Aldi had, hands down, the best peanut butter in the UK, they must be making use of TJ’s supply chain!

    The more I try to dredge my memory, the more I think there may have been items I saw at Aldi which I chose to buy because I was familiar with the brand from TJ. I’m thinking specifically of some Italian (italian-ish named) deli meats and cheeses; some preserves and marmalades.

    At both stores, after considering the store’s reputation, what I could buy at local competitors and the price I paid, I’ve been both pleasantly surprised with some own brand products, and also terribly disappointed.

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  299. cory says:

    I work at a Trader Joes and it is apparent to me that the company indeed is owned by an Aldi, however is not affected in many ways by Aldi. He makes no decision for Trader Joes, he just owns it. Also the Aldi that own Trader Joes is not the same Aldi that owns the supermarket chain in Germany, they are brothers.

    The Aldi store you see is not connected in any way to Trader Joes, besides the fact that their owners are family.

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  300. T. L. says:

    What ever happened to locally owned health food or specialty food stores. Do you think Trader Joe’s is helping to wipe them out? Is it possible for small stores to compete with this type of store.

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  301. Motic67 says:

    Aldi where i live has been selling very excellent German chocolate (moser roth) and the coffees are amazing for the price. The manager told me recently sometimes on their shipments they get a box of the Trader joe’s label stuff thrown in (they can’t sell it it has to go back or be donated to a food pantry) All their “stables” bakery, coffee, dairy and canned goods and snack items are exactly the same stuff. I’m in an upper scale area and my Aldi is brand new and very clean and well run. The one across the river is in a walmart parking lot and can be a little grimy. But Aldi’s Kona coffee is now a household staple and it tastes identical to the 1.00 more a bag Trader joe’s Kona… This is old news.

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  302. Paul says:

    Trader Joes uses predatory practices in purchasing fruits and vegetables. They find down&out or newbie farmers (mostly organic) and promise to buy lots of produce. They ask the farmers to sign complicated contracts and then use vague language in the contracts to knock the prices down.

    Farmers that sign these contracts usually end up in bankruptcy court, sometimes before the season ends.

    Don’t be fooled by the corporate hype, folks. I don’t know about the rest of their business practices, but if they’re similar to what they’re doing to farmers… cheap food is cheap for a reason, just like everything else.

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  303. upset says:

    After reading the info above I now understand why Trader Joe’s said “it would not be in their best interest” to make a donation to a U.S. WW 11 veterans organization.

    It would have been more descent of them to have just stated in the first place they were not interested instead a making a person come back a second time only to be turned away.

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  304. rita says:

    It’s over 200 miles to my closest Trader Joes. When I can visit, I do.

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  305. Fawlty says:

    Don’t mention the war!

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  306. JILL says:

    Having just moved to Salt Lake City from Albuquerque, I am sad and disappointed there are no Trader Joes in the area!
    When are you coming to town?

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  307. Robert says:

    I’ve shopped at TJs for years and didnt know the background. Originally they did not have TJ brands, they sold clearance food items like odds and ends cheese pieces. That was thirty odd years ago and I regret that the have gotten so “big for their britches” that they can only offer store brand (can anyone say Pyrait{sp?} rum for about $10, now in the stores for $30) Oh well, nothing stays the same.

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  308. Ray C says:

    I guess I am in category 3. I live in a STATE that doesn’t have a TJ’s, and every time I travel out of state I find the one nearest where I am going and do a big purchase to hold me till my next trip. We don’t have any Aldi’s either, so I have no basis for comparison. All I know is that TJ’s are nice stores with good merchandise at great prices. They are clean and well lit and the staff are very friendly and helpful. Yes, most of the items are “store brands”, but I find most excellent. And when I can buy the exact same product I buy locally (say Jarlsberg cheese) for a dollar less a pound, why shouldn’t I buy it? My town has a great health food co-op (and I am a member), but I am also a senior citizen on a fixed income, so I buy from the co-op and from TJ’s. I don’t tend to buy fresh produce at TJ’s, but that is mostly because of the distance I have to haul it. So if TJ’s is owned by some “nasty German conglomerate” I guess that’s OK with me.

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  309. zerakodesh says:

    wish we had a Trader Joe’s in Skokie. Illinois. Our daughter shops there for me. Every thing is fine.
    I never shop at Aldi’s dont want to bag my own foods.
    Thanks
    Esther Feinstein Sackheim
    ZeraKodesh@aol.com

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  310. Glenda says:

    I fall into Category 3. The closest TJ’s to me is 20 minutes (without traffic) in 3 directions, and in two of them I must cross a bridge. Really, Trader Joe’s the city of VALLEJO would truly welcome your store in our neighborhood. I now that Vallejo has had some bad press and some economic hardship, but there’s no variety here, and those of us do need to shop, why not let us shop at your store and bringing your store to our neighborhood would be a welcome site. Think it over and scout out a spot….north Vallejo would be perfect.
    Thanks for your time and consideration….

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  311. Sandy says:

    I love TJ and shop there at least once a month. I don’t think it’s the kind of store you would do all your shopping in but what they do well, they do very well. I buy a lot of frozen foods for the convenience. We love the frozen potato pancakes, langostinos, fire roasted peppers and onions, pan fried potatoes, etc. All just as good as anything I could make. There are a lot of single serving frozen entries that are convenient for lunches too. Also ike their cereals.

    I haven’t been in an Aldis in over 20 years. About 25 years ago I worked in the corporate offices of Aldis when they moved from St Louis to Batavia, IL. Back then they stocked only one brand of each item and no perishable goods. Most of the items stocked were private label with an Aldi label, but some items were national brands. The idea was that the best tasting item, national or private brand, would be stocked. For instance with chocolate syrup, several private label brand manufacturers would be taste tested along with the national brands like Hersey’s. They would actually ask the employees to taste the samples and see which they liked the best. With chocolate syrup Hersey’s was the best tasting and that’s what they stocked. If a private label manufacturer had a better tasting product then that was what was stocked, with an Aldi label. It was a very interesting experience working for them since thier entire business model was nothing like the traditional US grocery store.

    When they advertised in the local papers for the start up office in Batavia over 1000 people showed up to interview for the available jobs. The pay was way above the local pay scale. Best way to discourage unions, the employees would have run any union organizer right out the door since our pay was way more than union grocery stores. Another interesting thng was most of the warehouse workers were divorced or single mothers. I think they found that woman who were the sole support of their families were loyal and took very few days off. Don’t know anything about how they are today but it was a great place to work back then.

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  312. Lynn Cee says:

    TJ’s culture is right out of the bygone era of those famous flyers: it’s Oliver Twist brutal. I am uncomfortable shopping in a store where the hardworking staff always look stressed and rarely smile.
    Recently, I learned that a young but longtime, well-liked, hardworking crew member at my local TJ’s was fired for taking a gallon of milk home at the end of the late night shift (after midnight). Apparently he was tired and failed to pay but intended to do so the next day. A gallon of milk! And he had worked there for 5.5 years — since he was a teenager. He referred to the place as “my store” — he loved his job. I guess that kind of mean-spiritedness is how the Albrecht Bros grew their 40 billion-plus fortune. The way employees are treated absolutely does matter, even in the secretive culture that is Trader Joe’s.
    If you’re wondering, the store I am referring to is in the heart of Silicon Valley. People are such unobservant suckers for PR hype. Next time you visit your ‘friendly,’ local TJ’s, try to see it as a workplace … brutal.

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    • HB says:

      I really don’t want to defend ALDI or TJ’s here, but this idiot of a manager could have been at a Kroegers, Fresh Foods, Whole Foods or a Publix too.
      This has nothing to do with a store!

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  313. sl says:

    Original owner was Joe Coulombe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Coulombe

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  314. Tom Rios says:

    Shopping at Trader Joe’s is like going to a novelty store , people are wandering around looking at a lot of stuff that they would never buy,

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  315. Nels Rinden says:

    I have shopped at the ORIGINAL Trader Joes in South Pasadena, Ca for over 30 years and am always amazed at how many products formerly only available only in major chain grocery stores suddenly appear at “TJ’s” under their name. These prodlucts are not only less expensive, they are often superior in quality. I know many people who have stopped shopping at other grocery stores. They say they can get everything they need at TJls. I agree!

    Another thing that impressed me is TJ:s policy “I you are unsatisfied with any product, please return it for a full refund,” I ONCE bought something from them that I did not care fore and returned it. I expected to meet resistance, but the store manager merely asked my why I did not like the product and quickly gave me a full refund, no other questions, no arguments, nothing! That is good enough for me…

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  316. Justin says:

    I have to say that I’ve been there, and it’s really no big deal: the prices may be better than Whole Foods, but the food isn’t as good, and the selection is mediocre, including a lot of stuff that isn’t any different that you’d find in a local supermarket.

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  317. TONY CRUZ says:

    it definitely is a CULT..I got this article from a Google search for Tumblr and who owns THAT!…but my TJs is on 14 st in NYC and you must plan that shop very strategically cause if NYU is open, you are competing with the kids +NYC and it is SMALL! but my frozen blueberries, that I pay almost 5 bucks for ,are below $3 there..not organic but I don’t care at that price…but there are times I go in there and entire freezers are completely empty cause it’s delivery day.The “turn over rate” for food in that store is amazing.I have not walked into the TJ liquor store right next door.
    Cheers..
    TONY(NYC)

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  318. Rob says:

    I just read that Theo has passed away this year:
    http://www.nndb.com/people/319/000095034/

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  319. ken says:

    Aldi in my area is cleaner and far more efficient than any other grocery store. Definitely less expensive for high quality products. I say those who shop elsewhere for the products carried by Aldi either failed math or do not know quality when they see it. Also, Aldi pays its staff well and provides excellent benefits to its employees. Good company. Good products. Great prices.

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    • HB says:

      I was there today with my wife and we really didn’t need anything but once you’re there things are found to buy.
      Everything ran like clockwork and the store was clean and well lighted.
      There was only one person at the register yet it wasn’t busy either. When everything hits the fan the few employees act as cashiers to speed up paying.
      Low overhead is their method and no credit cards.

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  320. Shelley says:

    I started out of course as a #1 type for a while, but have become a #4 type. One who knows of them, shopped at them, but is highly unimpressed with the food. No matter what I have tried, I always end tossing it. I NEVER toss food, but it happens at least once every trip to TJs. I read the ingredients in most items, and I can see how it can be related to Aldi. No matter who owns it, I gave them thier last chance for me to shop there, I now have another stomach ache. And no I never get them with any other food, only when I shop there.

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  321. phillip Hanson says:

    Trader Joes has a Hawiian theme. I cannot find a location for a Trader Joes on Maui. There is a Trader JOYS on Kawaii but nothing anywhere else in Hawaii. It would be nice to shop Trader Joes while on vacation.

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  322. Bob says:

    You might get a kick out of the spoof labels to disguise your Two Buck Chuck wines:

    http://www.winedisguise.com/

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  323. ginny says:

    I am so fortunate to have a TJ’s less than a miles from me in Cerritos. I can just pop over to get my bananas at the best price in town. OR — their Orange Chicken, Mahi Mahi, Scallops & peas in a Cream Sauce.,Steamed Clams, etc., etc. Yummy !!!

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  324. mary says:

    we need a trader joe’s in AR. WE HAVE SEVERAL GOOD LOCATIONS IN FT. SMITH , AR. PLEASE LOOK
    INTO THIS. IT WOULD REALLY GO OVER WELL. I SEE BY THE MAP YOU ARE NOT IN THIS AREA. PLEASE
    CONSIDER THIS. . WE HAVE AN ALDI AND IT IS VERY BUSY. THANK S MARY

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  325. Meridith says:

    I love Trader Joe’s and I love Aldi. When I first saw Aldi I thought it was a close out, near out of date product store. I was so wrong. The quality of their products is as good as Trader Joe’s and the prices can’t be beat. It is not a store that you can do all your shopping at, but almost all of it. They do have limited products and it varies weekly. You do have to take your own bags and pay $0.25 for a shopping cart, returned to you when you return the cart. Both stores are a huge hit with my family.

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  326. dave says:

    No matter who owns them Trader Joes gives their employees excellent benefits.

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  327. erin says:

    why couldn’t the refer to the carts as u-boats when the Germans came?

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    • commandant says:

      coz erin… U-boats were the submarine names of german WW2 carriers…very formidable and deadly to the allies (US, UK, france and sweden ships- google ww2).
      Generally the germans are still guilty to this day of the nazi regime and evoking that era is a way to trump the conversation in one way. It has the same effect as using the n-word in USA.

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  328. Jennifer Patino says:

    I was dissapointed to learn today of Trader Joes refusal to sign the fair food/practices agreement from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign. I’ve always had such positive impressions about Trader Joes, the company, stores, employees and products. I’m sorry that I won’t be able to shop with you anymore – or until this agreement is reached. No produce is worth allowing workers to be abused and my only recourse in this matter is to refuse to contribute financially and to spread the word.

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  329. Matt says:

    I don’t understand why some commenters think this is a big deal. I’ve been to Trader Joes once, thought it was a good experience and that the food was of high quality with reasonable prices.

    I’ve also been to Aldi’s several times – we were dirt poor growing up and we went on huge shopping trips to a town an hour away to load up our 1987 Dodge Ram van full of cheap Aldi’s foodstuffs. I’ve been there since I’ve moved away and I still think it’s a good experience – the food is very cheap relatively speaking, and is of lower quality but still fills my belly and hasn’t given me malaria or cholera.

    No big deal, I like them both

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  330. Tia says:

    I know who owes TJ. I found that out after I came to Germany from the U.S.
    I am a loyal TJ customer to the point that I would drive 45 miles to get to the nearest store. In Germany, I often shopped at Aldi and I noticed that they were selling TJ brand pistachios and crackers. I was surprised as well as delighted to see TJ products at German Aldi stores.
    Based on the logic that Aldi always sells their own brand, I was curious to know why they were selling TJ brand items. After soem research, found out they they have the common owners.
    I have not been to the Aldi stores in U.S. in recent months. But do they also sell TJ brand products?

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    • fredjensen says:

      In the US, each store, in general, does not sell the other one’s products. That being said, I have seen an occasional product such as “organic” potato chips at Aldi–which is really strange—under Aldis brand name. I suspect those are Trader Joes producst from the same factory but different bagging.

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  331. Ben says:

    My personal opinion is that at Trader Joe’s you get various quality (some things are fantastic, some are acceptable and some are poor) but things are generally more competitively priced. For comparison: Whole Foods is generally very high quality where the pricing is more various. This is based off my local experience where we have 2 Whole Foods stores and 2 Trader Joe’s within a city’s corp limits.

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  332. mister mann says:

    Yes….we were told never to mention U- boats with the germans around! Now thats priceless reporting…made my day!

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  333. monkeyfurball says:

    I use both stores all the time. Trader Joe’s of course is mild competition to Whole Foods since it carries lots of organic products which Aldi doesn’t. Aldi is just plain cheap food but not organic. The good : both are small, easy to navigate, in and out in under 15 minutes. The bad: both have limited selection.

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  334. fredjensen says:

    I’d never been to an Aldi till a couple years ago. I found out we have 20 Aldi stores here in metro Minneapolis, along with 5 Whole Foods and 6 Trader Joes stores. Not to mention the Mall of America and a million Walmart, Target, Cub, Rainbow Supercenters. There’s waaaay more stores than people up here. Its getting out of hand.

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  335. kathy j says:

    I got severe food poisiong from trader joes. Corporate would not even return phone calls. All there produce is from other countries which they re-package and put there name on it. Buyers beware.

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    • HB says:

      Why didn’t you call the newspaper or radio?
      Actually, unless you had the offending product in your possession you can’t even prove anything.

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  336. Ian Robb says:

    Are any meat products imported from Aldi to Trader Joe’s? If there are any, what are they? Meat pies, sausages, lasagne, salami?

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  337. Colin Wright says:

    ‘a neighborhood grocery store vibe’?

    I like Trader Joes as well — and they have wonderful staff, as a rule.

    However, WHAT ‘neighborhood grocery store vibe’? It’s a chain — a fine one, and I patronize it happily — but a chain. They’ve never pretended otherwise, as far as I know.

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  338. Simon says:

    The biggest success-factor of Aldi is not that they sell their own brands. It is way more imprortant that they reduce their assortment of goods to a choice of very few products in each category. This way the turnover for each product reaches a number that a wholesaler like Wal Mart can not beat – and by the sure amount – the price goes down to a fantastic low. The Key is that those few products have to be liked by the majority of customers.

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  339. Steven Doyle says:

    I think you’ll find there’s a very large fourth category of people: Those who occasionally go to Trader Joe’s, think it has some good products, but aren’t excessive in their enthusiasm. That’s where I am.

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  340. elsie says:

    No wonder Trader Joe’s is excellent; it’s the German connection!

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  341. Peter says:

    I will never shop at TJ this is another aldi store with cheap products just at a higher price. Everyone that works there is kinda weird like Amish country shopping. Not my style.

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  342. Wake up says:

    Does anybody see that Trader Joe’s is a brainwashing scam? It’s has a “local” appearance but is a owned by a huge corporation, it sells low quality food marketed towards a higher income consumer, and has a homogenous brand identity that suffocated any healthy competition from its shelves. Wake up people and really shop local and support higher quality companies and food!

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