Years of waiting have paid off for Trader Joe’s fans in central Pennsylvania.
Trader Joe’s opens at Lower Allen Commons, a 14-acre complex under construction at the former Bon-Ton / Border location. The Lower Allen Township Development Authority made the announcement Thursday.
The store is slated to open in early 2022 at the site near the Highway 11/15 and 581 interchange near the Capital City Mall.
Finally, stocking up on Trader Joe’s essentials will no longer require a road trip. The closest operate at State College, in the Philadelphia area, and Towson, Maryland.
Because Trader Joe’s is one of the country’s most coveted grocery stores, people don’t hesitate to hit the road to haul their favorite products. He is known for his cult and fun products at reasonable prices.
As CNBC said, Trader Joe’s turns buyers into fanatics. Here’s everything you need to know about the chain before it arrives in central Pennsylvania.
Trader Joe’s is discreet
For years, rumors circulated. Trader Joe’s was eyeing the Harrisburg area.
It is difficult to predict the next move of the business because it is low-key on business plans and strategies. It allows shoppers to make location requests on its website, which the chain takes into account when selecting new store locations.
Last fall, a ray of hope arrived. Gift ? A proposed 12,500 square foot “Specialty Grocer” in Lower Allen Commons.
Unlike other supermarkets, Trader Joe’s operates under a smaller footprint. On average, the size of a Trader Joe’s store is between 8,000 and 15,000 square feet. By comparison, Lidl stores measure approximately 20,000 square feet and Aldi stores 16,400 square feet.
At the time, the township’s deputy manager, Erin Trone, could not identify the potential tenant due to a nondisclosure agreement. In late October, the Lower Allen Township Board of Commissioners approved the land use plan for the project, including the proposed grocer as an anchor.
A real Joe founded it
Joe Coulombe opened the first Trader Joe’s in 1967 in Pasadena, California and named it to evoke the image of the South Seas. He founded it to attract a clientele more educated, better traveled and who still had modest salaries.
In 1979 he sold it to German grocery magnate Theo Albrecht, whose family started the Aldi Nord supermarket company in Germany. He remained Managing Director until his retirement in 1988.
Coulombe died in February 2020 at the age of 89.
It’s related to Aldi, in a way
Aldi Nord, one of the founders of Aldi, purchased Trader Joe’s and retained its name, mission statement and management. While Aldi North owns Trader Joe’s locations in the United States, Aldi SÃ¼d owns Aldi’s locations in the United States and Trader Joe’s locations in Europe.
It’s the anti-grocery store
Trader Joe’s is not your typical supermarket.
It does not sell branded items, has no sales or coupons. There is no loyalty card, self-service checkout or TV advertising. There isn’t even a huge selection of products to buy.
Michael Roberto, a professor of management at Bryant University who was interviewed earlier this year by PennLive, calls it “the anti-grocery store.”
He lectures on Trader Joe’s, after talking about the store on CNBC and Freakonomics. He likes to open up his discussions on Trader Joe’s in the same way, pointing out all the things Trader Joe’s doesn’t.
âWhat they offer you is a very well organized collection of affordable foods. Some things are a little eccentric, different, unique – not everything is unique, but enough is, âhe said.
The atmosphere is quirky
Trader Joe’s is known for its service. Its employees are called “crew members” and wear floral shirts. They ring bells rather than using a PA. They will gladly stop stocking shelves to help a customer find a product or to answer a question.
It’s a stark contrast to other stores, according to Natasha Fischer, a Trader Joe’s enthusiast who runs one of the store’s most popular social media accounts, Trader Joe’s List.
âYou don’t feel like you’re in a big, soulless, cold grocery store,â Fischer said. âTrader Joe’s is warm. It feels like a community place. “
Inventory is small
You won’t find dozens of salad dressings or pasta sauces at Trader Joe’s. Instead, limited and organized choices drive demand. Trader Joe’s carries about a tenth of the nearly 40,000 items stocked in an average supermarket. Many are organic, gluten-free, and natural foods.
- READ MORE: 13 Best Items To Buy From Trader Joe’s
Products come and go as well, and just as buyers become obsessed with a particular product, it disappears. It won’t all end, but enough product is flexible to add a sense of scarcity. If you see something interesting, you will have to grab it now or risk never getting it at all.
It’s a treasure hunt
âYou don’t go to Trader Joe’s with a list of what you need,â according to Fischer. “You go and let Trader Joe’s tell you what you need.
It is aimed at gourmets on a low budget and those who like adjectives. Trader Joe’s packaging is riddled with descriptors. You don’t just buy “cheddar cheese”, you buy “unexpected cheddar cheese”. It’s not just a “burrito”, it’s a “Super Burrito!” “
The products are tested
Trader Joe’s examines all products before they hit the store shelves.
âOur buyers travel the world looking for products that we believe are exceptional and will find followers among our customers,â the channel says. âTo gain a place on our shelves, each product goes through a rigorous tasting process, in which every aspect of quality is considered in the context of the price we can offer. “
If a product is considered exceptional value, Trader Joe’s adds it to their âshopping adventureâ.
The fans are passionate
Shopping at Trader Joe’s is an adventure, which means people love to talk about it. In fact, fans have a thriving social media presence. Hundreds of Instagram accounts are dedicated to the subject, and just as many YouTube videos feature the latest buys from Trader Joe’s buyers.
Don’t expect sales or coupons
Trader Joe’s is not traditional with its marketing and pricing structure. It skips ad sales and flyer deals like most supermarkets. This is because Trader Joe’s claims that their prices are already low and there is no room for sales or coupons.
Private labels dominate
Store brands represent approximately 80% of Trader Joe’s inventory. The practice started in 1972 with a granola and has not stopped. The grocer said private labels help keep prices low as he buys direct from suppliers.
He pushes for sustainable packaging
Trader Joe’s lobbied for more sustainable packaging, starting in 2019 when it started replacing plastic and polystyrene containers on certain items such as produce, meats and greeting cards with renewable alternatives and to herbal. Compostable trays are used instead of the polystyrene version for fruits and vegetables. Even the plastic sleeves of the greeting cards are biodegradable.
Openings are events
Get ready, because when Trader Joe’s finally opens in Lower Allen, there will likely be a fanfare.
Trader Joe’s new stores don’t open without a party. Stores often organize ribbon cutting on opening day with freebies.
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