Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Good news for foodies... right?

For the past year or so, there have been rumors of Trader Joe’s opening a store in San Antonio. We heard that they were eying a spot at the Quarry, perhaps in the location left bare by the bookstore that went out of business, but that fell through. I’ve only heard good things about Trader Joe’s, so part of me is excited by the prospect of having one of their stores here, but at the same time, I was very relieved that they wouldn’t be opening RIGHT NEXT to Whole Foods.

A week and a half ago, when the Engineer and I were actually pulling out of the Whole Foods parking lot, I noticed across the street that the building where West Elm used to be was empty. I thought that was too bad, because I liked their stuff – even though it was somewhat overpriced. This morning, however, breaking news: Trader Joe’s has acquired that spot and will be opening a store there later this year. The location is really trendy, and I suppose that as a foodie, I should be thrilled. But I can’t help but think they will be taking away business from Whole Foods, and that is something I really don’t like. Some experts think there’s room for both in the market, though. And it’s true that Trader Joe’s is mostly focused on stocking “innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods”, perhaps somewhat like Central Market, whereas Whole Foods additionally takes things further in the direction of ethical and natural products – though neither store sells products with artificial colors/flavors/preservatives, GMOs, MSG, trans fats, etc. Hopefully, each store will specialize in things the other doesn’t sell, which should help keep everybody well in the black. (Because I would sure hate to see Whole Foods suffer from this.)

For those of you who still don’t have a Trader Joe’s and have grown accustomed to products you now can’t find, keep in mind that there’s at least one delivery service that can ship Trader Joe’s goods to you (it is not affiliated with Trader Joe’s, and obviously will be limited to dry goods, but it might be worth it to some).


Anonymous said...

I was at Trader Joe's for the second time in my life a couple weeks ago. It was not the largest location, but it had a good selection of products.
To be honest, I was quite disappointed. It appears as if they are trying to fill the role of the organic/non-GMO/etc version of President's Choice. Almost everything in the store was their own brand and this store had a shortage of staple ingredients in favour of pre-made dishes.
On the plus side, I managed to find allergy friendly naan that I could finally try (I wasn't expecting much from a store bought naan), but it turned out to be far more disappointing that even my low expectations.
We went to a Whole Foods that was down the road right after and I much preferred Whole Foods (it was also larger).
I am definitely not a Trader Joe convert!

Amélie said...

I hear that a lot of Trader Joe's enthusiasts are actually fans because of all those house-brands products, which are apparently more varied than and superior to those in other stores. But obviously, if the staple ingredients are missing, that's a little weird.

You say, though, that there's a Whole Foods right down the same road, which gives me hope that the two can coexist!

Sorry about the naan, too. I haven't found a good recipe for that, but I'll be sure to post it if I do.