The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

the new era begins

Trader Joe's is coming to Pittsburgh! It'll be located in the former Wheeler Paints building in that East Liberty Station strip mall. Lots of competition there; Shop n Save and the Iggle both have (crappy) outlets right there.

OMG. We have been dreaming of this. TJ's was one of the few tolerable aspects of living in LA. Since we've been here, we've had to get our TJ's fix on trips to Washington or Philly. If you don't know why people--especially lefty anticonsumerists like ourselves--get so worked up about TJ's, Andy Bowers of Slate explains it here.

The opening of the Pittsburgh location certainly isn't going to generate the massive amounts of tumult and comment and celebration and inevitable backlash that the recent opening of a TJ's on Union Square in New York engendered, but hey, it makes Pittsburgh more liveable and it'll certainly make good money for the company. Pittsburghers are hungry for non-crappy retail, and when the Whole Foods that opened in 2002 it reportedly became the company's most profitable outlet in terms of sales per square foot. (I couldn't find this stat on WF's own site, but they did state in a conference call that "Our new stores in New Orleans and Pittsburgh have performed particularly well, currently falling into our top 25 stores based on year to date average weekly sales." And when people realize that TJ's is good, interesting, and cheap, they may draw off some of those WF customers.

Because of our state's bizarre liquor laws, though, no Two-Buck Chuck at this TJ's.


  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger zp said…

    frankly, despite mr. bowers, i'm still a little baffled about the appeal of trader joes.

    what is there, really, that appeals to "lefty anticonsumerists" ? is circumventing unionized labor better than negotiating with unionized labor? are their trade practices more fair? according to bowers, it's just cheap and fancy. why is that lefty or anticonsumerist? it sounds like costco or whole foods to me, maybe not walmart evil, but neither here nor there.

    that's not to say it won't be successful - a broader array of cheap groceries in pittsburgh will find a market. but personal choices are sometimes just personal choices and i still don't see anything politically left about this . . . or this . . .

  • At 7:24 PM, Blogger anna said…

    I'm so spoiled- I live 2 blocks from TJ's. My cart usually contains: pre-made salads, curry mix, wild rice, whole wheat sourdough bread, tomatoes, sausage, and frozen peas. I mean, sure, you can get those at slave-way or whole paycheck, but some of the pre-made tastes, like the thai green curry or the chili pistachios, are great. They're just good standard spicy and foreign foods. The pot-stickers are not bad! If you don't have good cheap ethnic food nearby, you can get it here or cop the real thing. I had the frozne mandarin chicken recently and it was not bad. The walnut-endive salad is to die for, and the chinese chicken salad is good too. Weird, since I live a few blocks from Chinatown, but seriously, TJ's is great. The beer selection if fabulous. Go Pittsburgh!


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