Trader Joe’s just opened a new location in the city and on Oct. 13 at 8 a.m., the excitement was almost too much to handle.
Residents told AL.com that they planned on waking up extra-early to get in line with their friends. Other Alabamans said they’d be making an hours-long roadtrip into Birmingham just for the event. Some even set aside hundreds of dollars because they planned to turn their weekly shopping into a full-scale grocery blowout.
Since 2013, the state has been begging for a Trader Joe’s grocery store to open up, so when America’s Favorite Grocery Store announced in 2014 that it would be opening its first Alabama location in Birmingham, it was a big deal.
But for the few (very few) people who neglected to partake in the grocery extravaganza, it was a bit more interesting to look at how a grocery store could generate so much excitement.
AL.com stated that TJ’s success has skyrocketed because of two simple things: good service and good value.
A Business Insider article came to same conclusion a year ago: Although Whole Foods has been the organic grocery store leader for years, Trader Joe’s managed to swoop in with its own organic products and win over the hearts of Americans with items like $3 wine and something called “cookie butter” (think peanut butter, but instead of peanuts, it’s made from crushed cookies).
In no time at all, TJ’s began making twice as many sales per square foot of store compared to Whole Foods.
Many believe the chain is successful because its cashiers always seem to be as upbeat and energetic as their Hawaiian shirt uniforms. Others believe it’s because 80% of Trader Joe’s items are private label, meaning they can’t be found in any other grocery store (and yes, that includes the cookie butter). This allows the store to sell items at cheap prices, and it gives consumers a reason to shop exclusively at the store when they find products they like.
It’s said that design is so important today, consumers need only 10 seconds on a business’s website to decide if they like the company enough to make a purchase — and one could probably say the same about stepping into a Trader Joe’s. One look at the rock-bottom prices, and consumers wonder why they ever shopped at Whole Foods.
With any luck, perhaps the chain will invest in more locations in Alabama — but for now, make sure to reserve a few hours if you plan on grocery shopping at Birmingham’s location!
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