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Get Those Grocery Lists Ready: Trader Joe’s Opens in Plano Today

Trader Joe's in Plano (photos by Melisa Oporto)

There is rarely a time when it is common to see a group of people congregated outside of a grocery store at the brink of dawn…that is unless a Trader Joe’s is opening in your neighborhood. Actually, it doesn’t necessarily even have to be in your neighborhood, as residents from Duncanville, Denison, Ellis, and Allen will attest while they stand in line at the opening of the new store in Plano.

There is an energy brewing amongst the excited patrons that feels celebratory and relieved at the same time. The store is decorated outside with balloons and employees can be seen inside setting up for the opening, dressed in their classic Hawaiin print shirts. Carts are lined up to perfection and ready, the grand opening banner is being put up, and it’s just a matter of hours before opening.

Jump for more.

View from the end of the line less than a half hour before opening.

Mike Kupka, a Denison resident, is the first in line, having camped out since midnight. A self-proclaimed “foodie,” Kupka and friend Suzanne Welch have a hobby of finding unique and delicious food around the country. They even took a road trip one year to visit restaurants on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network.

They’re favorite thing from Trader Joe’s? Welch widens her eyes, lowers her voice and very seriously says, “The Cookie Butter is to die for.” Kupka emphatically agrees.

People in line are in a jovial mood, laughing and joking with each other, barely able to contain their excitement. Despite the Texas heat – go figure, at 7 a.m. it’s still 80 humid degrees outside – the morale hasn’t faltered.

Finally, it’s 8 a.m. and doors are seconds from opening. After a few welcoming speeches from the regional manager and store manager, Mayor Phil Dyer took a moment to show his support and thank everyone, ending with, “Ya’ll got this on the news instead of the democratic national convention!”

Plano Mayor Phil Dyer and Captain Don O'Connor cut the ceremonial ribbon.

The ribbon cutting marks a shift in the crowd as people grab their carts, their faces focused. The carefree nature from a few minutes ago is replaced by a slight competitive edge, some people even calling others out for cutting in line.

As customers slowly filter in, they are greeted by employees on either side with applause, cheers, high-fives, and leis. Some people skip the fanfare and make a bee-line for their items, while others stop and take pictures as they try rejoice in the moment – a celebration, a small victory for the neighborhood.

Hula ladies greeting customers at the front

The store is picturesque and fresh. It has an air of locality while still maintaining a chic and trendy edge. Murals of Texas themes are painted across the walls and favorited items are on display in large quantities near the cash wrap for easy access.

The aisles are packed, to say the least, as excited patrons fill up their carts with items that they compiled on their grocery list for weeks. Items, that inevitably, they can only find at Trader Joe’s. Some products have such a cult following, in fact, that strangers are recommending products to each other with such ferocity that it seems neglectful not to try them.

Nelda Hunt had already made a list of items she wished to purchase from the store that morning.

“It’s hard not to spend $100,” Duncanville resident, Nelda Hunt, warns. She couldn’t be more right, as grocery carts all over the store fill up fast.

Wasabi Mayonaise? This is the type of thing you can find here and loyal customers recommend you to buy.

So what’s the verdict on the most popular items? From what customers in line raved about, Cookie Butter was the clear winner, followed by Triple Ginger Snap Cookies, Cat Cookies, and Wasabi Mayonnaise. But as every Trader Joe’s lover will tell you – to each his own, and there are plenty of unique options to choose from, many of which may soon become your new obsession.

The inside of TJ's
All the cheese your stomach could desire..

Fantastic D Magazine intern Iris Zubair graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in December 2011 with a BA in Magazine Journalism. She has written for Austin Monthly Magazine and UT’s student newspaper, The Daily Texan.


19 comments on “Get Those Grocery Lists Ready: Trader Joe’s Opens in Plano Today

  1. @.. you clearly have not been to Ft. Worth TJ’s. No lines would not be an accurate description (no parking and chaos would be much more appropriate– as would highly efficient and awesome).

  2. It’s always exciting when Trader Joe’s comes to a new market. But what fascinated me was how Trader Joe’s built one of America’s most valuable brands while spending almost nothing on advertising. One thing’s for sure, they won’t tell you… It’s also one of America’s most secretive companies. That’s why after 20 years in the ad business, I had to take a $12/hour job there to research my book, “Build a Brand Like Trader Joe’s” (available on Amazon). For more info about this fascinating company, hit my blog, TraderJoesSecrets.com.

  3. Was there on opening day. Crowds not bad , parking fabulous, shopping experience wonderful. Did I mention I live less than ONE mile from the store :)

  4. “They’re favorite thing from Trader Joe’s?”

    For future reference, “ya’ll” is spelled “y’all.”

    Are the editors on strike? Does a “BA in Magazine Journalism” not include classes in English grammar and spelling?

  5. It’s an exercise in futility these days to complain about grammatical errors and general lack of editing in all publications, not just blogs. And the prevalence of using the ef word, not only in writing but just overall, is contributing to a coarsening and dumbing down of our society that makes me sad.

  6. From their website:
    Trader Joe’s Plano (402)
    2400 Preston Rd Plano, TX 75093
    972-312-9538
    Trading Hours:
    Mon-Sun: 8am – 9pm
    Alcohol: Beer Wine

  7. Hey Ryan,

    You are correct. Y’all ain’t a word that should be considered property grammar : ).

    Never heard of Trader Joe’s. Where did the brand originate and when did It come to Texas? Is it like an Aldi brand store or is it specialty grocery store?

    I work close to this location…. shall I stop by and pay them a visit? What do you recommend as their best grocery store venue?

  8. Love Trader Joe’s – not at all like Aldi!!!! Used to live in Cambridge MA and really missed not having TJ in Texas. SO happy that they finally opened stores in Texas!!!!

  9. I will continue to drive to Fort Worth for my Trader Joe’s. A much more hospitable locale and a much more pleasant drive. I’ve been to Plano. Don’t care to return.

  10. Actually, y’all is a word. It’s second person plural–meaning it’s the plural version of you.

  11. Finally!!!!!!! I moved to Dallas 12 years ago from Vegas, and before that L.A. I have missed my favorites for many years, and was so excited when TJ’s decided to FINALLY get here.
    YAY!!!!!!!

  12. Please, please put a Trader Joe’s I Southlake, TX. We would love it here. It’s too far to drive to Ft Worth or Plano!