Brooklynites who have been licking their lips in anticipation of the imminent arrival of Trader Joe’s should get ready to pounce.
The innovative food retailer will open the doors of its store at Court Street and Atlantic Avenue – its first in the borough – on Friday, September 26 at 9 a.m.
Immediately after a ceremonial lei-cutting, which will be attended by local dignitaries and representatives of the funky food store chain, shoppers will be free to roam the aisles of goodies, stocking up on favorites from the Monrovia, California-based retailer.
The store – whose product line includes such taste treats as Hawaiian style potato chips and Aloha Anna Kiwi Berries — reflects the area’s architectural heritage as well as Trader Joe’s unique style, said company spokesperson Alison Mochizuki.
Mochizuki explained that designers creating the shopping environment had respected the landmark bank building in which the store is located, and had “tried to keep a lot of the original attributes.”
One highlight, once you look past the array of foodstuffs, is hand-done artwork of various Brooklyn scenes adorning the walls, based on visuals provided by the Brooklyn Historical Society, Mochizuki said.
If Trader Joe’s is now ready for Brooklyn, Brooklynites are equally ready for Trader Joe’s.
“Trader Joe’s is unconventional, diverse and quirky—just like Brooklyn—and bringing one to our borough has been a dream since the day I took office as borough president,” remarked Marty Markowitz, the borough’s chief executive.
“I am thrilled that shoppers will have yet another choice for fresh produce, prepared foods and groceries, and that Trader Joe’s will provide great values to shoppers coming to downtown Brooklyn,” he added.
“Everybody in this community and surrounding communities are very much looking forward to the opening of the store,” remarked Assemblymember Joan Millman. “Some people know about it because they’ve shopped there, and they say nice things about the quality of the food and the service.”
Sandy Balboza, the president of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association (AABA) agreed. “People seem to be excited about it,” she told this paper. “It will be good for that corner. It should bring more foot traffic, and the hope is that it will spill over to the rest of Atlantic Avenue.”
Charlie Sahadi, the owners of Sahadi’s Specialty and Fine Foods, at 187 Atlantic Avenue, said that he believed that the opening of Trader Joe’s will be beneficial to nearby businesses.
“I think it’s going to bring a lot of new people to downtown Brooklyn,” he remarked. “Sure, they’re going to borrow some of my customers, and I’m going to borrow some of theirs. But, I look at the long-range picture. This is going to make Atlantic Avenue between Court and Clinton a foodie haven of sorts, and I think, all in all, it will be wonderful for foot traffic on Atlantic Avenue.”
Besides Sahadi’s and Trader Joe’s, there is a Key Food on the block, as well as Damascus Bakery and Oriental Pastry.
One issue that exists is parking, both Balboza and Sahadi said.
Specifically, Sahadi explained, Trader Joe’s has taken five spaces along Atlantic Avenue for a dedicated loading zone. Added to the four-space loading zone existing in front of Key Food down the block, and another five spaces lost to construction, “Parking is a nightmare on Atlantic Avenue,” Sahadi stressed.
For this reason, Sahadi said, he would like to see morning loading zones that revert to customer parking in the afternoons. “I’m working to make it as convenient and comfortable as possible for shoppers,” he stressed. “Look at it from the customer’s viewpoint. If they can’t park here, there are lots of other areas they can go to, so I’m fighting for all of us.”
Trader Joe’s will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Besides the Court Street Trader Joe’s, there are two others in New York City, one in Manhattan and one in Queens. The first Trader Joe’s, which bills itself as “Your Neighborhood Grocery Store,” opened in Pasadena, California in 1966. There are now over 300 stores nationwide.
When it opens, Trader Joe’s will join other trendy retailers who have decided to launch Brooklyn outlets in recent years such as Fairway and Ikea in Red Hook.