This past February, news that Trader Joe’s was planning to open a second location in the Capital Region of upstate New York in Halfmoon in Saratoga County, the fastest growing county in upstate New York, was first reported in the Albany Times Union. Nine years earlier, Trader Joe’s had opened its first store in the region in Colonie, an Albany suburb.
Last week, seven months after news of an additional store for the Capital Region, Trader Joe’s opened its second store, on the border between the sprawling suburbs of Halfmoon and Clifton Park. It’s been reported by Winsight Grocery Business, an information services company focused on the food and beverage industry, that despite the pandemic, Trader Joe’s has been ramping up new store openings in New Jersey as well as in Florida, Arizona, Virginia and Indiana.
Scrape Hero, a “Data Scraping Company” which provides “custom data gathering and data analysis,” notes that as of September 12, 2021, there are 545 Trader Joe’s locations in the United States. 35% of all Trader Joe’s locations in America are in California, with 191 locations. New York has the second most Trader Joe’s locations with 32 and Washington State is the location with the third greatest number of locations, with 25. As of the fall of 2021, there are only eight U.S. states without a Trader Joe’s: Hawaii, North Dakota, Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, West Virginia and Mississippi.
We’ve noted in the past, that despite the countercultural feel of its stores, the Trader Joe’s chain, is part of a huge multi-national chain. The German entrepreneur Theo Albrecht took over ownership of Trader Joe’s in 1979, 12 years after the chain’s founder, Joe Coulombe, had opened the first store in Pasadena, California.
The Albrecht family owns the German supermarket chain ALDI Nord, with over 10,000 stores in 20 countries. In the United Sates, the Albrecht family operates the Aldi stores as well as Trader Joe’s stores. Standing in the parking lot of the Trader Joe’s newly opened in Saratoga County, an Aldi store can be seen in the suburban sprawl, not far off in the distance.
A few years ago, we also posted on the subject of Who’s Making Trader Joe’s Food, and included our opinion on how a mindful consumer, who wants to eat food that’s local and organic, should source food. For this consumer, who has had a farm share in a CSA (community supported agriculture) organic and local farm for the past 11 years and who shops regularly for food at a farmer’s market and at the Honest Weight Food Co-op in Albany, NY, a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s is not a frequent event.
Nonetheless, the appeal of Trader Joe’s competitive pricing on organic food is undeniable when locally grown and organic is not available. And from visits to the Trader Joe’s in Colonie over the past 9 years, certain other appealing products have found their way into this shopper’s cart.
For example, Trader Joe’s does make it easy to source Washington State organic apples and organic pears. And Trader Joe’s frozen Wild Boreal Blueberries, grown naturally with no pesticide, in the Boreal region of Quebec, and its frozen organic wild blueberries grown in Eastern Canada are available year-round, especially appealing off-season in winter.
And on a visit on opening day to the new location of Trader Joe’s in Halfmoon, there were a number of tropical products that were irresistible, including fair trade coffees and green tea, single origin dark chocolate, as well as an organic (estate grown and bottled, cold pressed, extra virgin) Spanish olive oil, and a Sicilian extra virgin olive oil made from three types of olives, Biancollila, Ogghiaredda, and Cerasuola.
(Frank W. Barrie, 9/17/21)