It’s 7am on a Friday morning, and there are several hundred people waiting in line already for Central Florida’s first Trader Joe’s store to open in Winter Park. Store employees, called crew members, are making runs along the length of line, trying to drum up excitement with high-fives and loud “Whoo-hoos”.
The parking lot has been full and closed off by police since shortly after 6am, so shoppers have been parking in nearby lots, many at their own risk of being towed.
But there were a lot of people that were willing to bear with the long lines and dubious parking to be among the first to sample what Trader Joe’s has to offer foodies in the Orlando area.
What they have to offer is a store stocked with mostly private-labeled products, free of preservatives and artificial colors, much of it organic. All at prices that are equal to or less than similar items found at stores like Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, and Publix.
For around $40, we got a gallon of milk, 2 boxes of ice cream treats, a big frozen bag of mandarin orange chicken, a huge box of pre-cooked organic jasmine rice, a jar of corn & chile salsa, a box of frozen potato pancakes, a large bottle of rainbow peppercorn with a grinder top, a large bottle of tumeric spice, a small box of Belgian chocolate, a pound of Angus beef burger, a can of fat-free refried beans, a 4pk of organic apple sauce cups, and 2 jars of cookie butter (it tastes like creamy gingerbread cookies).
To be added to a future trip, items like a tub of creamy honey, a canister of spicy chai tea latte, a frozen bag of poutine, a big bag of frozen organic blueberries (only $1.99!), and a box of Japanese mochi ice cream.
The interior of the store is festive, with Hawaiian-inspired elements, and murals featuring Winter Park attractions and landscapes, like Morse Museum, Winter Park Art Festival, and the Downtown Orlando skyline. The pricing signs are also hand-painted, giving the store an artistic farmer’s market feel.
As to be expected, shopping today in the store was crazy with the wall to wall crowd of shoppers. Times in the check-out lane this morning ranged from 30-45 minutes.
Trader Joe’s in Winter Park is definitely a worthy addition to your shopping list, but unless you like shopping in crowds, I’d wait a week or two for the newness to wear off before attempting your first shopping trip.
Maybe by then the parking situation will be better, too.
The Trader Joe’s in Winter Park is located at 131 N. Orlando Ave, at the intersection with Morse Blvd. Store hours are from 8am to 9pm daily, though they do close or have reduced hours on select holidays. For more information, visit TraderJoes.com.
Have you visited the Winter Park store? Let us know what you thought of it, good and bad.
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