Foodies and fans of Trader Joe's will be stocking up on bottles of “Two Buck Chuck” and gourmet goodies when the first South Florida store opens next year.
The California-based grocer announced plans for a 13,500-square-foot store in Pinecrest, at 9205 S. Dixie Highway, though no date was given. The chain with a loyal, cult-like following does not have immediate plans to open in Broward or Palm Beach counties.
“We consider ourselves a neighborhood grocery store, and Pinecrest and South Florida are a perfect fit with lots of foodies,” spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said of the store near Dadeland Mall in south Miami-Dade County.
The first Florida Trader Joe’s arrived in Naples in 2010. Since then, it expanded to Sarasota on Sept. 7 and will be in Gainesville later this year. A Tallahassee store also will debut in 2013.
“Gainesville, Pinecrest and Tallahassee are the only Florida stores scheduled in our two-year plan at this time,” she said.
The boutique grocery chain offers one-of-a-kind gourmet fare and an array of organic foods at value prices. Shoppers snap up snacks such as Wasabi Roasted Seaweed and Charles Shaw Wines, nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck” because bottles go for $1.99-$3.79, depending on the state. Trader Joe’s has sold 6 million bottles in the past 10 years.
“Eighty percent of what we sell is under private label and is free of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives,” Mochizuki said.
Stores are typically decorated with rustic, cedar-planked walls, and staffers in Hawaiian shirts hand out free samples, adding to the festive atmosphere.
“That’s fantastic news they are coming into Pinecrest,” says Raphael Clemente, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. “It tells me they are in the area, and hopefully we will be next.”
The authority has been wooing the chain to open in downtown West Palm Beach, he said.
“We made a video called, ‘What Would You Trade for a Trader Joe’s’ this spring. It was a fun, grassroots way to get Trader Joe’s attention,” Clemente said. “They said we were on their radar and we are in their future plans but not in their immediate expansion plans.”
There have been rumors the grocer has been scouting locations in Palm Beach Gardens at PGA Plaza, on the southwest corner of PGA Boulevard and Prosperity Farms Road.
“I’ve heard those rumors about Palm Beach Gardens, too. I guess we’ll have to see who gets one first,” Clemente said. “Everyone wants one in their city.”
The Naples and Sarasota stores have been attracting shoppers and tourists from South Florida. Nearly 3,000 shoppers a day were visiting the Naples store, the chain said.
Founded in 1958, the Monrovia, Calif., chain has more than 375 stores in 34 states, Mochizuki said, with nine more scheduled to open through November.
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