Trader Joe’s sets up shop in Spokane

by Melissa Barringer

Since Oct. 8 of 2011 Trader Joe’s has been open for business on Spokane’s South Hill at 2975 East 29th Ave. Murals of scenic places in Spokane, such as the gardens in Manito Park, decorate the walls  and the employees wear the trademark Hawaiian shirts.

Pronto Markets started as a convenience store in 1958 in California.  It changed its name to Trader Joe’s in 1967 along with the style of the store, according to the website.  Trader Joe’s grocery store has expanded along the West coast and parts of the East coast.

Trader Joe’s is also known for the quality of the grocery.

“Our shelves are stocked full of delicious foods and beverages from the basics like milk, bread and butter to more exotic fare like imported cheeses, organic produce and hand-tossed pizza from Italy,” according to Trader Joe’s Spokane Facebook page.

Not only is its goal to provide high quality food items, but to provide customers with low prices. The store’s website states “that’s important because ‘value’ is a concept we take very seriously.”

Senior Renae Jennings is a California native who frequents Trader Joe’s back home.  She said she shops there back home because of the type of products.

“It offers a lot of organic products and a lot of their products are fairly reasonably priced,” Jennings said. “I feel like when you buy from Trader Joe’s you’re getting higher quality products.”

According to Trader Joe’s website, the reason for the bargains is many of the products are bought directly from suppliers who don’t have fees to put their goods in the store.  TJ’s also provides its name brand products instead of only carrying other name brands.

Even though the Trader Joe’s in Spokane is a long way from the state it started in, Jennings said the atmosphere is the same as ones in California because the store still has the same beach vibe and customer service.

Jennings compared the selection to a location closer to Whitworth and said that Huckleberry’s Natural Market in Rosauers has a smaller variety when it comes to organic foods.  Jennings recommends taking a trip up to Trader Joe’s  if people are looking for an organic selection.

“If you have the means to get down there, check it out,” Jennings said.

Junior Chelsie Hadden also agreed that even though the store is on the South Hill, it is worth the trip.  Hadden also said what sets Trader Joe’s apart from other grocery stores is that the products carry the Trader Joe’s label and a store policy that if a customer is not satisfied with a purchase it can be returned. When Hadden goes shopping she has a favorite.

“My all time favorite thing is the green tea flavored mochi with ice cream in it,” Hadden said.

On the Trader Joe’s website there is a list of special holiday products, from drinks to cake mix. Candy Cane Green Tea, Egg Nog and Candy Cane Coal, a dark chocolate mint covered candy, are just a few.  Lists of other products can also be found on the website along with recipes and ideas for different meals and creative ways to put together desserts.

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