Much-anticipated Trader Joe's store opens in Amherst
Hundreds of people lined up early Friday morning to be among the first shoppers at the grand opening of the new Trader Joe's store in Amherst. The Niagara Falls Boulevard location is the company's first in Western New York.The California-based grocery store chain, whose origins date back to 1958, specializes in organic and gourmet foods. Many of the products sold in stores carry the company's brand name. There are roughly 400 Trader Joe's store in the U.S.
The 12,000 square foot grocery store in Boulevard Consumer Square opened at 8 a.m. Friday to a festive atmosphere. Rose Marie Janik of Lancaster was excited to be the 20th customer through the door.
"I've never been to one, but I've heard a lot about it," said Janik. "I set my alarm clock for 5 o'clock this morning."
Melissa Foster of the Kenmore Village Improvement Society started a campaign more than two years ago to attract the chain to the Western New York.
"It is a big day for us, it really is. It's marvelous. We're so excited," Foster said.
As part of the company's effort to make grocery shopping fun, the Trader Joe's crew dons Hawaiian shirts. The retailer offers what it calls "everyday prices with no sales, no clubs to join, and no cards to swipe."
Crew Captain Ken Gaytan says 90 percent of the store's products carry the Trader Joe's label, free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
"We really love to have fun. We don't take ourselves too seriously. We share that enthusiasm with the customers. When you're here, you'll feel that vibe," said Gaytan.
Gaytan says the line of customers waiting to get in started forming at 3 a.m.