Trader Joes grocery stores whimsical ambiance charmed Kimberly Kurzweilt when she visited one in Los Angeles. Like a child in a candy store, she was attracted to the artisan cheese section, the inexpensive wine, and the variety. Now she cant wait to have one close to home in Pinecrest.
If it all goes as planned, the new Trader Joes in Pinecrest will be swarming with employees wearing off-beat Hawaiian shirts sometime this year. Known for its specialty and organic foods at prices below those of other specialty grocers, Trader Joes has local foodies awaiting an opening date with cultish anticipation.
The prices are always great, Kurzweilt said. The ambience is funky, hippi-ish and retro in a good way.
The California grocery chain is working with local officials to prepare for an opening this year at 9205 S. Dixie Hwy. Construction should begin early this year. There are no plans to demolish the 13,800 square feet building that used to house a Borders bookstore, instead it will be remodeled, Pinecrest Planning Director Stephen Olmsted said.
They submitted site plans in December and we already reviewed them, Olmsted said. Once the drawings are approved and building permits are issued construction will begin. I dont anticipate any problems in the permitting process. It should be fairly soon.
Jeannette Golindano cant wait. When she moved to Miami in August from Charlotte, N.C., she missed the store, so she began to drive to the Trader Joes in Naples once a month to do her grocery shopping.
It was during a friendly conversation with the cashier that we were told about Trader Joes opening in Miami in 2013, Golindano said. I cant explain to you with words how we reacted to the news.
Golindano began a petition on Facebook to get a Trader Joes in Miami. One of the Facebook fan pages she set up has more than 1,000 followers. Besides Naples, the chain also has stores in Gainesville and Sarasota, which opened last year, and another is planned for Tallahassee.
Fans usually flood in on opening day. The Naples Daily News reported that hours before the stores opening last February, hundreds waited in a line that snaked around the entire back of the shopping center. Some people traveled from other cities and stood in line as early as 5:30 a.m.
Pinecrest officials believe parking wont be an issue. The city requires the store to provide at least 56 parking spaces and the store is planning to have 89, Olmsted said.
The store in Pinecrest is projected to generate about 70 jobs. The management team will come from existing stores around the country. As soon as the team is set, they will be hiring for crew positions to run registers, stock shelves, merchandise products, and chat with customers. The Now Hiring banner or sign will be placed outside of the store about one to two months before it opens.
According to the company website, the store will also have a food donation program coordinator. In 2010, Trader Joes donated more than 25 million pounds of food thats equal to almost 656 truckloads of food or 20 million meals, the company claims.
Benjamin Gutierrez, an architect who enjoys cooking for his family of five in Pinecrest, said he is looking forward to the opening. He said every one in the store in New Yorks Upper West Side was always friendly and willing to offer samples of the food.