Has anything from California ever been so eagerly awaited by the people of our state? (Oh, yes. The In-N-Out Burger .)
Trader Joe’s is finally opening in Texas, and while initial reports focused on the site of Houston’s Alabama Theatre, it’s the people of The Woodlands who will first be celebrating with a toast of Two-Buck Chuck.
David Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports (via Trader Joe’s itself), that the quirky, budget grocery chain will open a 13,500 square foot location at the Woodlands Crossing Shopping Center in the spring of 2012.
A store spokesperson also confirmed to the Star-Telegram that Fort Worth will get a 12,500 square foot store at the same time, to be located at 2701 S. Hulen. (Previous speculation in Dallas swirled around Knox-Henderson and Walnut Hill and Central.)
Don’t know what the fuss is all about? Trader Joe’s was the (unwilling) subject of a fascinating profile by Los Angeles’ Dave Gardetta this past September. In the ’60s, convenience store owner Joe Coloumbe decided to try out a more diverse and upscale concept after realizing a new competitor—a little Dallas-based chain called 7-Eleven—was muscling in on his territory and could seriously threaten his store’s business model.
Gardetta also explores the company’s current secretive foreign ownership, cultish house-brand foods, and intentionally narrow aisles, going so far as to suggest that:
All that sanctioned rubbing up against strangers produces a frisson of small-town life, the missing element in our metropolis.
Trader Joe’s makes people say that sort of thing.
You can also prepare for Trader Joe’s debut by checking out Chow ’s semi-regular feature comparing the store’s low-priced house-brand products to those made by the sworn-to-secrecy manufacturers who probably provide them.