Today: The Awful Truth About Trader Joe’s; It’s a Poor Man’s Whole Foods

First White Castle, then Starbucks, now Trader Joe’s...

Allow me to let you in on a little secret about the business reporting in the Kansas City Star. If they can find a way to make things larger-than-life, they will. I remember the newspaper’s mid-’80s hype about Kansas Citians flying in White Castle burgers from St. Louis the demand was so great.

Fifteen lackluster years later, White Castle beat it out of town, its tail between its legs.

In 1998 Starbucks came to KC. Much to the chagrin of next-door neighbor, Westport’s locally-owned Broadway Cafe. Broadway didn’t stand a chance. Ten years later, Starbucks moved on while Broadway is stronger than ever.

Which brings us to the much-ballyhooed grocer Trader Joe’s…

The Star‘s Joyce Smith couldn’t have hyped Trader Joe’s arrival more if she’d been on its payroll. "Brands that inspire belief: Trader Joe’s comes to KC," reads the headline on her July 13 sendup.

"Trader Joe’s, Chick-fil-A, Apple — they’re cult retailers," Smith gushed. "These big names and others have built a zealous following with great products at great values and by making an e"motional connection with consumers. As a result, their customers advertise for them, spreading the word and even convincing other customers that they should buy favorite products when shopping in the stores."

Just like White Castle and Starbucks…

Now let’s look at Trader Joe’s through the eyes of a couple who’ve shopped there for a decade.

"I’ve found that it’s comparable to Whole Foods but it’s not as good as Whole Foods," says upscale hotelier and musician Larry Padilla of Tucson. "It’s really a poor man’s Whole Foods."

Go on…

"With Whole Foods you’re going to spend more money, but you’re going to be happier with the quality," Padilla says. "The vegetables at Whole Foods have lots of flavor, the pastries at Whole Foods are better and they have a butcher at Whole Foods."

Like in KC, when Trader Joe’s was a hot ticket when it opened in Tucson.

"It was the thing to do," Padilla says. "Instead of going to Safeway."

And now?

"I would put our new Safeway ahead of Trader Joe’s," Padilla says. "Trader Joe’s used to be a very cool place. They would carry a lot of quality foods, like Paul Newman‘s line of foods. It was cool to shop there. Like you were a beatnik or an artist. Kind of like when Starbucks first opened. But now you’re uncool if you go to Starbucks – if you’re spending five bucks for a cup of coffee you’re an idiot."

To put things in persepctive, "Everything has its time, but it’s all about quality," Padilla muses. "And to me, Trader Joe’s is mediocre. Once you buy something at Trader Joe’s and you buy the identical product at Whole Foods there is a discernable difference."

Padilla’s wife Terry – an instructor at an Arizona community college – has another take.

"There are some things I like at Trader Joe’s," she says. "They have a protein bread I can’t get any other place. I buy a few things there, but not a lot. They’ve got some good wines, but I’ve bought stuff there – like you buy something there and it’s stale. And that never happens at Whole Foods. Whole Foods is more expensive but they really check oiut their vendors."

Larry Padilla’s bottom line on Trader Joe’s:

"It’s an image thing. Am I cool because I shop there? Am I going there because of my image? Or am I going because they have something unique? On a scale of one to ten, I would put Whole Foods at a 10, Safeway at a 5 or 6 and Trader Joe’s at 4 or 5."

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56 Responses to Today: The Awful Truth About Trader Joe’s; It’s a Poor Man’s Whole Foods

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    Cue The Tower of Power
    What is hip, tell me, tell me.

    Much of what is sold at Trader Joe’s can be bought at Aldi’s for less.

    Their produce is real low quality (like Aldi’s).

    Whole Foods has a niche but what we need is food from a sustainable agriculture. Organic is pretty much a joke, WalMart and others watered down the rules to the point they are practically worthless. Add on the fact the USDA has not had ONE inspection of a producer of organic products to certify their are in compliance. So often the consumer is paying a premium price for ordinary food.

    Organic food has only one scientifically proven advantage over conventional food. It is usually from nearby and therefore is fresher and has more vitamins and minerals because of the freshness.

    Tyson sells tons of composted chicken shit (literally) to feed lots for cattle feed. Smithfield raises hogs in a hydrogen sulfide atmosphere in the factory hog barns.

  2. Cliffy says:

    Show me the science …
    Organic healthier? I don’t think so … at least I’ve never seen any bonafide study that says so. More expensive? Definitely … but we Americans spend such a small percentage of our money on food we don’t care. If you want to shop at Whole Foods, or Trader Joe’s for that matter, fine. I’m glad you have that choice.

    Upwards of 30,000 people die every day on this planet because of hunger and malnutrition. We have no more tillable land and we’re running out of water. Intensive food production such as that practiced by Smithfield, Tyson, the fruit/vegetable fields of California, etc. allow more food to be produced using fewer resources. Local, organic producers cannot feed the world.

  3. Orphan of the Road says:

    Factory farms
    We have no more tillable land because we are in a corn-and-soybean ghetto. Corn and soybeans grown by the Big Time Operators are not for food consumption but feed. The US is a net importer of food now so the America Feeds The World is now bunk.

    Factory farms are why we have so many E Coli outbreaks. The cattle stand in manure on the concrete of feed lots, hogs live above their manure in a hydrogen sulfide atmosphere and chickens soak in a fecal bath of water after being plucked.

    The corn-and-soybean ghetto has folks growing corn using massive amounts of potable water and fuel in areas never meant to be farmed. Too many farmers plow their fields when it has been proven no-till is a better more ecologically-friendly practice. Lots of farmers out there on their tractors participating in recreational plowing.

    You are correct organic farming can not feed the population. What we need is sustainable agriculture where food is grown close to where people live.

    Todays produce are hybrids developed for shipping considerations rather than taste or nutrition.

    Did you know a 160# hog produces twice the waste as a human? That waste is then set in lagoons which are often flooded during heavy rains and hurricanes. Or spread on land at a rate much higher than it can be used and so the run off produced big fish kills in the Chesapeake Bay.

    We produce and eat more read meat than is healthy (guilty I am).

    Chicken too as most of the dark meat is not eaten in the US although it has more protein and (without the skin) nutrients than white. We used to sell all of this dark meat to the Soviet bloc but in the past few years the Russians have developed their own poultry houses.

    And all the prophylactic use of antibiotics in factory farms is also creating a health issue as antibiotic that were once only used on humans are now used on animals. Because of this misuse some diseases, like gonorrhea are morphing into something which antibiotics will not cure.

    Sustainable agriculture, not factory farms or organic, is what this country needs in food production.

    As I said the only scientifically proven fact of organic being better than conventional is that usually the produce does not have to be shipped thousands of miles and so contains more vitamins and minerals. A tomato picked and eaten today has more vitamins and nutrients than one which may take several days or even weeks to reach the consumer.

    If you ever have ever eaten meat which is raised on grass with a little grain to finish, then you know the difference between factory and farm raised.

    Find yourself some pork or beef raised for Neiman Farms and compare the quality and taste to Tyson.

  4. Lee says:

    Trader Joe’s IS Aldi
    Trader Joe’s was bought by Aldi’s decades ago.

  5. Cliffy says:

    Obviously you’re passionate about this issue and I admire and respect that, Orphan. But we need to wake up to the finite nature of this planet. We

  6. Orphan of the Road says:

    Couple of things
    Aldi’s and Trader Joe’s are owned by the same company owned by two brothers. One brother started Aldi’s the other bought out Trader Joe’s. They were in the food business awhile but had a disagreement over selling tobacco hence two different chains.

    Cliffy, I’m passionate about sustainable agriculture which is very, very different from organic.

    When I was young, and dirt was new, everybody in my grade school had a family member or a friend who farmed. Now I doubt more than 5% know any farmers/ranchers.

    Farms now are thousands of acres, with the machinery available today one person can farm 2-3000 acres. But they are planting corn and soybeans (because of the government welfare attached). Companies like Tyson and Smithfield are now importing grain from South America. So our agricultural model is unsustainable.

    When I lived on the East Coast there were thousands of truck farms in NJ. Now those fields grow subdivision.

    I’ll disagree somewhat on the antibiotics. It is the patient who doesn’t finish the course of antibiotics adding to the problem. Until two-, three-years ago there were antibiotics for livestock and another set for humans. Bayer brought down the barriers and now the same antibiotics are used on all species. Not a good situation.

    When the hurricane hit NC a few years ago there were hundreds of lagoons breeched pouring raw sewage into the rivers and fields. Consider a containment operation can house thousands of hogs which can produce more waste than a city the size of Joplin. Spreading and injecting the manure into fields isn’t really the best method for dealing with the manure. Many farmers, especially those amongst the Plain People, put more than allowed on a field and it washes off into streams and rivers killing the aquatic life.

    And if you’ve ever been around a pig farm, the oder is unbearable. And the smell sticks to you like super glue.

  7. Gerald Bostock says:

    A New Day Yesterday
    Horse racing was cool when it you had to go to Omaha for it; when it was as close as the Woodlands, it lost its allure. Likewise, Coors beer was quite the coveted brew when you couldn’t get it east of the Mississippi (wasn’t that was the premise of Smokey and the Bandit?), but now it is recognized for the piss water it is; some people I know from the East Coast still get all atwitter to go to a Sonic when they visit KC. This is a common phenomenon, but it is real–it is not the imagination of Joyce Smith, no matter how much you want to fit this into your anti-Star mindset. Many people were excited last week about Trader Joe’s, just as they were for Chick Fil-A and Jack in the Box, and yes, White Castle, when they all opened. When TJ’s becomes a mundane part of KC shopping options, as it apparently is in Tucson (based upon your in-depth interview of ONE guy), it will rise and fall on its merits. But this week, in KC, it is a new thing that warrants coverage.

  8. Dead Horse says:

    No apostrophe, No s.
    Abner: “Hey Uncle Festus. Where’d you get that stupid looking hat?”

    Festus: “Got er at Walmart’s.”

    Abner: “Where’d you get that bottle of cheap wine?”

    Festus: “Got er at Aldi’s.”

    It’s Aldi (no apostrophe, no s).

  9. smartman says:

    Organic Food and Stuff
    Who gives a fuck what anybody named Padilla or Botello or any other Hispanic surname thinks about anything? God-damned La Raza thought policia!

    It’s fucking America! People sacrificed their lives so we can shoot jizz on printed pages and shop at Trader Joes if we please.

    Visit for lots of good info on the benefits of truly organic food versus other types.

    Google Forks Over Knives. Lots of info on whole plant based diets and sustainable farming.

    As a general rule people, especially in the USandA eat TOO MUCH…..BAD SHIT! If everyone subscribed to a healthy diet we’ve got plenty of food to go around.

  10. Orphan of the Road says:

    So tell me smartman
    Where can you find a producer who has been inspected and certified, as required by law to use the organic label (property of USDA)? Of course there have been no inspections since the regulations were put in place. Unless you know the producer you are basically rolling the dice.

    And while pesticides and such can be harmful, you are allowed to use nicotine as a pesticide in organic farming.

    You can call Bud and Miller and Coors beer but that doesn’t mean they are beer. Corn, rice, corn syrup in beer, why Theodore Hamm and David Yuengling are probably spinning like a dreidel in their graves

  11. bschloz says:

    Great For Kansas City
    I happily dropped $50 bucks in there yesterday. These guys are the real deal– off brands or not.
    This isn’t Joyce Smith driving traffic from The Star….these guys are going to crush it here. They have some serious clout.
    Best thing now is Hen House , PChopper, Costco are going to have to get in the fray. WIN WIN WIN
    — White Castle…BURP — Trader Joe’s in major sweet spot. I’d say there is room for 5 or 6 more in the market.

  12. Cliffy says:

    Synopsis of Forks Over Knives: Reject all animal-based products and you will never die. Well, you might die of old age but the average age at death will be at least 180 years.

    There’s something to be said for cutting back on portion sizes, fatty meat and processed foods but let’s not go overboard.

    Glad Trader Joe’s is here. They have some very nice wines at reasonable prices. But frankly, I find a lot of what they offer to be just plain weird.

  13. chuck says:

    Some really interesting comments on farming from
    Orphan and Cliffy.

    I saw that movei “Food Inc.”. HOLY SHIT!

    I kept waiting for Orphan and Cliff to talk about it. They obviously have a great deal of expertise at least in terms of an overview.

    Did you guys see it?

  14. Tracy Thomas says:

    Also read: Michael Pollan: Omnivore’s Dilemma and…
    The Botany of Desire.

    Great compelling reads, loaded with facts told in an unforgettable way.
    When one starts reading labels, you realize how much HFCS, high fructose corn syrup, is in our foods.

    I still shop alot at Aldi to save money, and their veggies are not as bad as one said. 3 peppers today (red, yellow green called Stoplight Peppers, how clever) were $1.79 instead of $2.99 regularly. Three all green peppers were $1.99.

    My favorite laugh of the week is the hard goods at Aldi. It’s the gulag. One pair only of guy’s boots, size 10 1/2 D. Then the next Wed. they have his hunting pants!! Hysterical!!

    I must say, it’s nice to read you boys having well-informed opinions about something other than sex.

  15. smartman says:

    Know Thy Producer

    You’re right about the inspections. It’s a fucked up mess. Some states have regulations in place for certification but there are no common rules that every state follows.
    To quote Bruce Springsteen, (who owns an organic farm), from his in concert preface to the song WAR, “In 2011 Blind Faith in your government, or anything can get you KILLED.”

    If you don’t trust Whole Foods there are lots of farmers in a 50 mile radius of KC that can supply you with a good variety of organic fruits, veggies, meat fish and poultry most of the year.

    I’ve found them to be incredibly faithful adherents to true organic farming principles. They take pride in what they do and don’t cut corners.

  16. Rainbow Man says:

    the initial swarm
    The grand opening of Trader Joe’s was like they emptied out the Irish Fest, the Brookside Birkenstock set, and all of the Komen Race for The Cure crowd.. They are just so hip those folks…..OK .. well when the initial crowd wears off I will check it out. But Trader Joe’s has an art to marketing their brands… aka… schlitz beer and revenwood wine in a cool package and people line up to buy it. Des Moines still got one before we did. wooo hooo.

  17. Johnny S says:

    So what you are saying is …
    So what you are saying is,
    Trader Joes said “NO” when you tried to get them to advertise here?
    Maybe you should have let them know about your “we shill for advertisers and punish NONadvertisers” policy,

    Hey, speaking shilling for advertisers, were down at crossroadskc,
    in the 110 degee heat, when your buddies there fkd everyone over the other night?

  18. Johnny S says:

    You know what we REALLY need in KC… IN AND OUT BURGER!!!! …
    I have not eaten an IN AND OUT burger since I stopped flying in protest of the fking TSA bs started last November…. fking cocktouchers!!!! No fking wonder I am feeling so grumpy… I need and IN AND OUT fix… and my ocean fix……. aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!! muthafkr!!!

  19. Cliffy says:

    Yeah chuck, saw Food, Inc. …
    … and I’ve spoken a couple of times with Robert Kenner (the producer and director). He’s a nice guy but naive on food production. He admits it. The food industry refused to go on camera with him for his documentary and that was a big mistake. We only got half the story.

    Everybody thinks they’re an expert on food today and, like Tracy, cite people like Pollan as their sources. Pollan is a writer…and a good one. He has no scientific background in the area. But, he tells a good story so lots of people believe him.

    For example, Food, inc. demonizes genetic modification of plants. Why is that? If your doctor were to tell you he or she wanted to treat you using technology from 1950 because, well, it was a more pure time and that’s the way we should be doing things, would you think that’s OK? Because of genetic modification we are able to produce much more per acre using fewer resources (fuel, water, etc.).

    I’m a little drunk and going into detail would only bore a lot of people. Orphan cites the pollution that came from the “factory farms” in North Carolina due to the hurricane but doesn’t mention the pollution from municipal waste treatment systems that are purposely built next to waterways so they can discharge partially treated water.

    But … I sympathize with guys like Orphan. I’d like things to be like they were when my grandparents were real farmers. We can’t turn back the clock. Food production is big business. If you can’t make money doing it it’s called gardening. Enjoy the Farmers Market and Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. I know I do. But the products you’re buying are no more healthy and nutritious than what you buy at Hy-Vee or the Walmart super center.

    And, as I’ve already stated, if we don’t start getting more intelligent about accepting advances in food production technology people will continue to die needlessly from hunger and malnutrition.

  20. Orphan of the Road says:

    I think we are on the same page Cliffy
    Except maybe GMOs. There was really no scientific peer review of Roundup Ready corn. The person who developed it for Monsanto was also the person who reviewed the process for the government. Already weeds have have morphed where Roundup will not kill them. It takes 10 tp 20-years before there is enough data to determine whether a product is hazardous.

    Studies show the rBGH some dairies use to increase milk production mimic growth hormones in kids.

    And industry fights to have country of origin or non-GMO/rBGH banned from labeling.

    Humans have been manipulating plant life ever since the Incas began creating new strains of maize (corn). It was originally almost a grass with a head like wheat or oats. Usually there is more diversity in nature than in hybreds but the Incas had many more types of maize than existed in the wild. Some 30 distinct strains.

    When THF came out as a solvent in the chemical industry it was deemed save as mother’s milk. Now data is coming in showing the hazzards of the product.

    I spent 10-years building waste water treatment plants on the East Coast. Our company built a plant in DC which took effluent water from a sewage plant and turned it into potable water. The head of the Corp of Engineers drank the first glass from the plant. It was purer than water from a conventional plant but people were not going to drink it.

    And cities like KC which use one main to handle sewage and storm runoff are killing us.

    And septic systems and sand mounds really don’t do what most people think they do. They only separate the solids out while putting a fecal stew into the ground water.

    It’s been a pleasure going back and forth on this subject.

    See, we can play well with others LOL

  21. Hearne Christopher says:

    Hard not to agree with your general premise, G Man. However, I visited two Trader Joe’s here and spoke with a number of people. TWO – not one – of which I quoted. Two very plugged in people, I might add. Not losers on the street.

    And yes, there is room for reporting on a new biz coming to KC. But please, cheer leading and hand wringing for months on end with no underlying balance to it? Nary a skeptical thought? Come on.

  22. Hearne Christopher says:

    I hung out at Trader Joe’s in Tucson this afternoon. Jack in the Box in KCK crushed it for like two weeks. Now it’s biz as usual. And I’m a Jack in the Box fan.

    I was unimpressed with TJ today – haven’t been to the KC stores yet. But it really is a poor man’s Whole Foods. Pre-packaged meats but no butcher. A fraction of the selection of WF. Kinda does look like an Aldi inside, come to think of it.

    I was startled to hear somebody that I know and respect, who leads a very upscale, eclectic life and buys healthy, high end foods and wines, honestly say the Safeway here is better. A customer who still shops TJ, as does his wife.

    My beef is with the stereotypical over-the-top hype. Selective hype which serves the writer far more than the reader. Then again, I know how the standard issue journalism game is played.

  23. Hearne Christopher says:


  24. Hearne Christopher says:

    Ditto, again

  25. Hearne Christopher says:

    Do you need a hug?

  26. Hearne Christopher says:

    Do you need a hug?

  27. Hearne Christopher says:

    Almost tried one in Las Vegas three years ago. And almost afraid to try one, given the hype. How could it fail to disappoint?

  28. Johnny S says:

    Burgers in space
    Reply From: Hearne Christopher
    01:42:53 AM – Thu. Jul 21. 2011

    “”Do you need a hug?””

    Yes, and an IN AND OUT burger TO GO>>>>…….. please have a beautiful blonde…. no make that a redhead… deliver both.

    I have a question…. how the hell are we supposed to get back to the space station WE built, now that the shuttles are being scuttled? What the hell is going on with that?…. are there any IN AND OUT burgers on the space station? what about red heads?….. (YES, you were correct to not eat one in Vegas, and forever jones)

  29. chuck says:

    Very informative. 🙂

  30. TIAD says:

    The nerve [Fiat] of anyone [Fiat] hyping a [Fiat] product or [Fiat] brand name [Fiat] on their [Fiat] journalistic medium [Fiat] of choice [Fiat].

    2 + 2 = Four [Fiats]

  31. Cliffy says:

    Same here, Orphan. One final thought.


  32. Orphan of the Road says:

    My biggest problem is my distrust of government and big business. Companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and others have shown they will lie when the truth sounds better.

    Today science is bought and sold by corporations. True peer review is no longer possible. Read about the people who developed RR seeds and the people who did the peer review. Same people.

    You don’t buy RR seeds, you lease the technology. For centuries farmers have saved bin run seeds to plant the next season. Now if is a felony to save seed. Farmers whose crops have had RR beans and corn pollen drift into their non-GMO crops are being taken to court by Monsanto.

    And in a very scary development, Monsanto has developed a terminal seed. The seed from the crop grown will not germinate.

    And why not let the consumer decide if they do or don’t want to buy food produced from GMO crops? Law make packaging which states non-GMO or rBGH free illegal.

    I have a friend who is a lesbian singer/songwriter and also a pretty good science fiction writer. On of her good friends who is also a sci-fi writer who is agains gay marriage. They discuss the situation, agree to disagree and focus on their friendship rather than hate.

    The ability to understand another groups position and arguments whose philosophy or tenets are the opposite of our own is sorely lacking today.

    Keep cool in this heat. It’s so hot here in the Paris of the Plains I saw a tree chasing a dog today.

  33. bschloz says:

    Price Is King
    Hearne, this is not a Krispy Kreme….
    These guys are an incredible niche…
    My guess is they can be who ever they wanna be.
    Note to self: Whole Foods gonna need advertising.

    Tracy …funny about Aldi, we have a standing joke about their Sunday insert…. I like how they will feature a Generator for $79 or Sanseni 27″ flat screen for $129.— I would go extreme coupon… before I shopped at Aldi.

  34. Cliffy says:

    I loathe corporate mentality and I’m not a Monsanto apologist but those farmers trying to save RR seed are stealing and they know exactly what they are doing. If you would interview the neighboring farmers I’d bet most of them support their prosecution because they realize they are thieves.

    You want a GMO-free label? You’ve already stated you don’t trust the government’s organic labeling oversight. The reason you don’t see hormone-free and GMO-free labels is because scientists have determined there is no difference in the products containing these substances.

    I don’t mind this heat. Makes the beer that much better.

  35. Orphan of the Road says:

    I agree those who save RR seeds have a contract and are stealing.

    But the farmer who has never used RR seeds but has cross-pollination from other fields are being taken to court.

    Yeah I’m a walking talking contradiction at times. But why not allow the consumer to choose not to buy the product if they are concerned?

    Back before Oklahoma became a state The Scientific American wrote an article how if the Indian Nations would allow the white man to break the sod with plows Oklahoma would become the bread-basket of the world. When it happened it took less than a generation to turn the land into a dust bowl.

    Sometimes I’m too much of a contra LOL

  36. Hearne Christopher says:

    You may be right. Clearly they’re not expanding here because they’re unsuccessful.

    Taking the measure of the ones here in Tucson though and listening to two customers who shop there, Whole Foods and Safeway, was an eye opener to me.

    Clearly they are less expensive but equally clearly they don’t come close to Whole Foods. And local grocers – like Safeway here – are ramping it up at the same time.

    The purpose of my reporting was to provide a perspective that got totally lost in the hoopla coverage leading up to Trader Joe’s entry into the KC market.

    It ain’t White Castle and it ain’t Krispy Kreme, that’s true. But it ain’t competing with either of those two businesses either. It’s competing against Whole Foods and Hen House and those are two very formidable competitors

  37. Orphan of the Road says:

    I forgot one thing
    No pharmaceutical use of amphetamine was known until 1927 when a scientist reformulated it and tested it on himself.A sense of well being and a feeling of exhilaration” and “lessened fatigue in reaction to work led scientist to clamor this was a new vitamin.

    Ten-years later the dangers of addiction and side-effects made the scientific community reconsider their original findings.

    Irving Thalberg of MGM studios was a big proponent of the drug and used it heavily before the problems were discovered and it nearly killed him. He did create some marvelous films during this period though.

  38. Hearne Christopher says:

    Hey, somebody needed to cover the return of one of the world’s best selling automobiles and manufacturers to the United States and to Kansas City.

    The Star sure didn’t. How lame is that?

    The fact that I choked out 20 large to buy one – full price – has nothing to do with it. I got no favors or discounts and was even critical of the 500 I purchased.

    You guys love to work Laz’s math puzzles. And you’re getting better at them. Stay the course!

  39. PB says:

    I always looked at Trader Joe’s as sort of an upscale, hipper Aldi’s as opposed to a poorman’s Whole Foods and like Aldi’s, TJ’s would be more of a supplemental grocer for folks who still do the majority of their shopping at a HyVee, PC or HenHouse. I think they’ll definitely fill a niche in this market, really nothing more or less. The full-scale grocery stores will feel some affect, but Joe’s shouldn’t hurt them too much, at least not until they spread out more across the metro.

  40. Hearne Christopher says:

    Sounds reasonable. They have four in Tucson. Not sure though how many people shop multiple grocery stores. I do the HyVee near my house and Whole Foods for special occasions or when its convenient.

    Having looked over TJ’s pretty close, not suyre why I’d drive way out of my way to shop there. To write about it for sure, but not to shop.

  41. Johnny S says:

    “”not sure why I’d drive way out of my way to shop there.””

    The only reason I can think of is something someone wrote on that blog KCCONFIDENTIAL last week…. they said something about MILFS going commando in sundreeses shopping at Trader Joes…… and for the life of me I cant get the thought out of my perverted head……mmmuuuussstttttt goooo tooo ttrraaddeerr Joooesss to shooooppp….. it is best ad campaign ever….

    I will make it out there sooner or later… and I bet $20 bucks there wont be one sundress wearing hotty in the place…… oh well, …I will buy/try some of the$2.00 wine …..just wash away the thoughts ..


  42. chuck says:

    Some years ago I saw a documentary about “Gone With The Wind”.

    They interviewed some of the stars, Olivia and some folks associated with the film. To a man/woman, they all said DOS drove them fuckin crazy cause he was on speed all the time. They were still exasperated by his incessant work ethic, which they didn’t know untill years later, was fueled by speed.

    This from Wiki—

    Producer David O. Selznick was an amphetamine user, and would often dictate long and rambling memos under the influence of amphetamine to his directors.[74] The documentary Shadowing The Third Man relates that Selznick introduced The Third Man director Carol Reed to the use of amphetamine, which allowed Reed to bring the picture in below budget and on schedule by filming nearly 22 hours at a time.[75]

    Funny stuff.

  43. Caroline says:

    There are dozens of Starbucks in the metro area, and two within two miles of the one you cited that closed.

    No matter what you think about Trader Joe’s, it’s another store and it offers jobs and health care. It’s much better than the abandoned Staples and whatever Plop Store was in Leawood. And frankly, it’s nice to have an alternative to Whole Foods now that Wild Oats has been absorbed, God forbid you have another option to buy basic human needs. The lack of major brands and the appeal of something new is worth celebrating.

  44. Orphan of the Road says:

    Damn dementia
    I got the wrong guy Chuck but at least I had the basics.

    I remember back in hs I had a printing class and we used benzene every day to clean the galley and wash our hand.

    Grandpa would use a corn cob to put coal oil on our socks to keep the ticks off.

    And Mr Popek at NEHS taught us the importance of clean, pure water. Because without it you can’t make beer. And to think people say you don’t get a good education at public schools.

  45. mermaid says:

    What a joke!
    I’ve been to Trader Joe’s in Arizona and always thought “What’s the big deal?” Never bought a thing. So I decided to give it one more chance and went there Monday. I scanned the whole entire store and items. I’m a vegetarian now so I am limited on what I buy but I picked up several things and checked out labels. Alot of high calorie low quality products. You know the majority of there items are manafactured by the Pepsi Co. This place is marketing at it’s best. People pouring out of there with 2 or 3 bags full of this crappy food. I couldn’t believe it. I was literally shaking my head at these people in disbelief. So once again walked out with NOTHING. I will probably never go there again. I’ll be up at Whole Foods everyday because the food is good and I can’t live without my cranberry tuna salad and my dark chocolate oatmeal! Try that in the morning with a sliced banana on top! HEAVEN and all good for you!

  46. kcredsox says:

    Lived on a farm for most of my impressionable years 0-18 and in the late 80’s there were very few farmers that weren’t no-till farming. It not only saves gas but also moisture in the ground. The ones that do till were the farmers who couldn’t afford the latest and greatest farm equipment. Most of those were small family farmers who are long gone, so I would presume 75% of farming in the midwest is no-till. I have never been to Trader Joe’s, but have been to Whole Foods to pick up some organic concoction for my dogs to make them calmer. I’m not a health nut because I pretty much despise vegetables, so if I do got to Trader Joe’s it will probably be to people watch. Anyway, I’m just glad Runza has finally arrived in KC, if you go, get the cheese Runza mmmmmm, to die for.

  47. mermaid says:

    What’s a Runza? Heard of the place but what is it?

  48. PB says:

    Runza KC
    Mermaid, first off, a Runza is essentially a fast-food bierock, a traditional Czech/Slavic influenced meat/cabbage/onion-filled doughy “pastry”. I think they’re great, some don’t like them. The chain is based in Nebraska with the other area store, a long-time location in Lawrence. The KC restaurant is off Johnson Drive (southside) just east of Metcalf. Was formerly a Captain D’s, sits next to a Hobby Lobby and near the McDonalds.

  49. Tracy says:

    Runza is kind of like MaidRite, which I also miss
    A suetburger. With cheese, even better. Fat content? don’t even ask. comfort food.

    They used to have MaidRites in Muscatine IA and Des Moines–in Beaverdale.
    Also had one for years in Clinton MO at the big intersection where you turned to go past the Walmart to Clinton Lake.

    I also miss RacketBurger, in Racket MO. Not sure if it’s still there, since I sold my 26 foot sailboat that was at Truman State Park, a wonderful marina there.

    At RacketBurger, they sold burgers, fries, sodas and bait. The owners’ nine year old son was an entrepreneur. He collected, painted and sold RacketRocks. For 25 cents. I bought a Racket Rock from Jared every week. Like a lemonade stand, ya gotta give hope and profit to the kids.

    The top said: Turn me over.
    The bottom said: Oh, that feels sooooooo good.

    Come to think of it, I bet that’s where Craig Glazer got his best line….

    Note: I bet they don’t sell THOSE at Trader Joe’s. I won’t know for a month, which is when I plan to go there. Once the MILF’s in sundresses are at Oak Park Mall buying back to school supplies…and the shelves get restocked. By the way, Two Buck Chuck is now $3. At least it was in Santa Fe. Still worth it. Dregs of really good California winery barrels. Genius.

  50. rick says:

    WE HAVE A MAID RITE-my thoughts on TRADERS
    Tracy as u can see I’m back. We have a Maid-Rite in the KC area in front of a Gladstone Hy-Vee. Also if u get up to my old stomping grounds in Leavenworth check out Nu-way downtown. Does anyone remember and miss Smaks, Griffs, and Black Eyed Pea?

    I checked out Traders Joes on opening day. Hearne is right I bought the hype via media and boy was I disappointed. i also concur with Mermaids comments. What a let down. I guess my first shock was how small it is. What 4 or 5 aisles? To me it was pricy. Nothing you would see in a traditional store like a deli, butcher, or bakery. Just overblown hype.

    I’ve always wanted to try the Runza in Lawrence but not a big onion or cabbage guy. Is there still a Taco Tico in Topeka? Also when i travel I try to find the few TJ Cinnamons left which are usually at Arbys including one in St. Joe.

  51. Tracy says:

    Thanks, Rick and welcome back
    I’ll check out the Maidrite for sure.
    Lots of great food memories here.

  52. Jaery says:

    Tell me more,,,
    i miss Smaks, my grndma used to take me to the one on Wornall…. For seome reason I remember the flashing bulb lights out front… I dont recall it ebing good bad or indifferent… I was a kid…. as long as it was not liver.. it was fine with me.

    NOW…. about this Runza… you really have me wondering….. What is the deal, I saw the new store by the hobby lobby place a while back…. I ondered then…… I look but thier website is poorly done, it does nothing to make me wnat to go eat there…. and then there is the Mission police (aka revenue generating pigs) make me nervous (they are ticket happy over there)(fkn pigs)(it can make a $5.99 meal cost $259.00 if you go 31 in a 30mph zone ) I guess they need the money after Mission destroyed a fine shopping center, that is now a weed infested lot,,,, and ruined Johnson drive by making it one lane, part of the way… (there is alwasy some idiot jumpoing from the 2lane to the one lane..WHAT A MESS!) fkn Misson is run by retards… fomr the driveway tax to the ………. ahhhhh it…. never mind.. I ws going to ask about Runza over there….. but fk it..I aint going to Mission ..FK MISSION.

  53. Hearne Christopher says:

    That’s true, but when its lease was up it totally bailed in Westport and it never laid a glove on Broadway Cafe which continues to thrive in its original location while all sorts of neighboring businesses continue to bite the dust all around it.

    Hey, I bot a $1.99 bottle of Pinot Grigio at the TJ’s in Tucson. It wasn’t great but it was decent. Kinda.

    I’m not saying Trader Joe’s sucks, just trying to dial in a couple of other points of view in a media landscape where the only reporters writing about the store where wearing TJ cheerleader costumes

  54. rick says:

    Wish I Could Help
    Sorry but as i previously stated i haven’t actually tried a Runza. Jaery maybe if u get up to Lawrence u can try one that way you don’t have to deal with the police.

    I’m like you as far as the quality of Smaks I don’t recall. Besides the mascot the thing I most recall was they had a condiment bar where you were able to dress your own burger. often it is little things that will impact customers. And the same thing applies at Arby’s. i enjoy being able to get my own pickles, peppers, etc without having to ask them to add more etc.

  55. Rick in PV says:

    Runza’s not bad
    I tried it the other day and feared I would regret it later in the form of onion burps, a la White Castle. But now that I think about, I did not. And it was pretty tasty, so I might go back.

  56. bschloz says:

    Marketing Genius
    Can you imagine serving a loose meat sandwich and calling it Runza? It doesn’t get any better.

    Place is clean and professionally run….burgers are fair….Runza’s are good Fries and rings are good.
    Mickey D’s I’m sure will give them a warm welcome to Johnson Dr. Note to self: Runza’s needs to promote.

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