Specialty supermarket Trader Joe’s to hold grand opening at Clear Creek Plaza soon
By Sharlene Irete
Where a typical grocery store jam packs soy-vitamins-granola-biodegradable paper products-eggs into segregated areas, a new store in North Douglas County devotes its shelves to all of these products and more.
Trader Joe’s is holding its grand opening 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at Clear Creek Plaza.
Trader Joe’s has been called a gourmet store and natural foods store. It features items from around the world and food products without artificial ingredients but Trader Joe’s is a good place to stock up on the basics without breaking the bank.
Store manager Sam West said Trader Joe’s can’t really be compared to regular grocery stores and “all natural” is a big misconception. Private label products can be vegetarian, Kosher, organic and decadent but all have minimally processed ingredients.
“We’re value-driven where can you buy high-quality products that represent a great value to customers,” said West.
“Where else can you buy vitamins with normal mark-up like a regular grocery item? But we’re not a health food store – we have great junk food too.”
Man (and woman) does not live by grass-fed beef, artificial hormone-free milk and butter, and eggs from cage-free chickens alone.
Trader Joe’s has a great selection of dried fruits and nuts, chips and salsa, cheese crunchies, peanut butter pretzels, chocolate truffles, coffees, wines, beer and some liquor.
“We focus on being the best priced and the highest quality,” said West.
Trader Joe’s is known for fresh fruits and vegetables, some organic; frozen prepared foods, ice cream, pizza, waffles, vegetables and fish; fresh prepared foods like sushi and chicken frittata; cheeses and other deli foods.
“Whenever we can, Trader Joe’s cuts out the middle man,” said West. “We deal with the producers and put the items under our label with our specifications so we can maintain our prices.”
They buy directly from suppliers whenever possible to keep costs low and pass savings on to buyers.
“We found our niche and that’s where we excelled,” he said. “We have buyers do an amazing job of finding people and those suppliers want to do business with us.”
A corner of the store is devoted to a demonstration station allowing customers to sample Trader Joe’s products.
“They can sample coffees and selected prepared foods,” said West. “Sometimes we’ll put together two to three items and show customers how to create a gourmet meal in 10 minutes. Like a dinner for four for under $10.”
Michelle Palmer, former executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City and High Sierra Chef’s Association chef of the year in 2000, is a Trader Joe’s customer turned demonstration chef.
“I took the job because I believe in the products they sell,” said Palmer. “There’s no MSG in anything in the store, which is policy. They have great products and they’re so affordable. A lot of chef’s shop here, but you don’t have to be a chef to shop here.”
Trader Joe’s has a following of customers and the store manager said they hope to continue to build relationships by helping people make educated decisions about buying food.
“We have a money-back guarantee,” said West. “If you buy something you don’t like, we’ll take it back, no questions asked. You can’t lose so you can try something you like.
“I’m excited this store will do extremely well,” he said. “When people try us, I think they’ll come back. Trader Joe’s is different than a typical grocery store. They’ll see that shopping is not a chore but an event.”
Trader Joe’s grand opening begins with a lei-cutting ceremony followed by food tasting and activities for children.
Trader Joe’s is at 3790 Highway 395 in Carson City and will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. For more information, go to traderjoes.com or call (775) 267-2513.
Trader Joe’s also makes salad preparation quick and easy with fresh, pre-washed greens.
The lettuce in the outer bag and all of the other salad fixings are in individual packets inside will serve three generously.
And if you’re looking for coffee, Trader Joe’s Dark French Roast Coffee is sold for $4.99/13 ounces and $8.99/26 ounces.