Trader Joe’s distinctive business draws crowd on opening day

Oct. 13, 2014

Ashley Thompson
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2014 has been a big year for Trader Joe’s in Colorado. After years of bypassing our state, the grocery store finally opened locations in Denver, Greenwood Village and Boulder this February.

And now, ahead of schedule, Trader Joe’s has arrived in Colorado Springs.

On Oct. 10, the arrival of a new anchor store for the shopping center prompted hundreds of people to flood the shopping center to peruse the merchandise and fill their shopping carts.

Market research analyst Sara Porjes recently did a report on the chain and its success, and it turns out that the grocery store’s secrets are simple.

The first is that Trader Joe’s offers unconventional products. Quality items such as buffalo burgers and all-natural peppermint shampoo can be found in the aisles.

Trader Joe’s Speculoos cookie butter resembles peanut butter, tastes like a Belgian cookie and is hard to find at most other grocery stores.

The second secret to Trader Joe’s success is the affordable pricing. In her report, Porjes indicated that a reason the store can keep prices low is because about 80 percent of their inventory is privately labeled.

Finally, the creative shopping environment is attractive to customers. Employees walk around in Hawaiian shirts as part of their uniform.

Trader Joe’s tries to source food locally in order to maintain variety in their products. Popular items are kept stocked, while items that don’t sell as quickly are taken off the shelves.

Titus Hocking, freshman nursing major, attended the opening and was pleased with the store.

“I thought it was astounding, the prices of the products and the amount of people [at the store] blew my mind,” Hocking said. “I had heard a lot about the place from various people which made me want to go check it out.”

According to a store employee, not everyone working at the Trader Joe’s UVC location is a new hire. A few employees were transferred from locations across the country. Among the new employees, however, are a few UCCS students, including pre-engineering major Sam Marsh.

“I am very excited about the opportunity. It’s an incredible environment and I get to work with a bunch of amazing people,” Marsh said.