Trader Joe's opens second Triangle store


More than 100 customers waited in the cold Thursday morning for the grand opening of Trader Joe's grocery store, a California-based chain with a cult-like following.

"We have passionate, devoted fans" said store Manager Greg Fort.

Virginia Kline snuck in an hour early to check out the aisles and reminisce.

"I was originally from Baltimore and we moved to Chapel Hill three years ago, and one of the only things that I missed about Baltimore is Trader Joe's," Kline said.

The store is stocked mostly with its own brand of chocolates, frozen foods, and other specialty food items that are free from preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Kline also raved about the store prices and personality. "[It's] reasonably priced, it's innovative in the stock that they carry, and it's just great," she said.

This is Trader Joe's second location. The first opened in Cary last year. It faces competition with popular specialty stores Southern Season, Weaver Street Market, and nearby Whole Foods.

The Chapel Hill location previously housed a natural foods market that lasted about two years. But Fort believes that store concept competed with Whole Foods instead of taking a different approach.

"We're very compatible," Fort said. "The same customers that are going to Whole Foods are going to come to Trader Joe's as well. I've opened a store in the same parking lot as Whole Foods. It works."

The store is painted Carolina blue to honor UNC. But they've included Duke and N.C. State in the décor.

Trader Joe's hopes to open another location in Raleigh by 2009.

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