Today's Ride: New Trader Joe's in Ballard

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It's what's inside that counts
It's what's inside that counts

People have been talking about the new Trader Joe’s, so I figured on stopping by on a Tour de Ballard (pronounced the French “BullARD”).

It’s in a new building kitty corner from the Office Max on Leary Way, and directly behind Mars Hill Church. I’m not sure how a self-described Temple of Jesus got named after a barren planet identified largely with alien space invaders, but the place is booming. (I joke, here’s the deal.)

The place was jammed. My first experience with Trader Joe’s was in the ’90s in Silver Lake, Los Angeles. It was a funky, dark little place with weird bulk stuff for cheap. Over the years the chain has evolved into something along the lines of “good food, affordable prices.” Most of what TJ sells does have the advantage of tasting like food. I wouldn’t call it high quality, but it’s a cut above Safeway for sure.

One trademark of the chain is long lines at the counter. The lines move fairly fast, so there’s that. But if you’re in a hurry, skip it and come back at, say 10 a.m. on a Wednesday.

You have to be where? By when?
You have to be where? By when?

I wanted to pick up some Dubliner cheese and frozen wild blueberries, which are two of the half a dozen things I consistently buy at Trader Joe’s (sesame pita chips, Canadian Grade B maple syrup, organic catsup and frozen blackberries among the others). But the lines were outrageous. Church must’ve just gotten out.

So I hopped back on the bike and rode over to Fremont Puget Consumers Coop, where I’m more comfortable even if the prices are a bit higher. Still, if Trader Joe’s was publicly traded, I’d jump at buying the stock. All those people willing to stand in line must mean something.

Then it was back up Fremont hill for the third time in three days. Good training for when it gets warm ‘n dry out, eh? You say it’s only three and a half months till July 10th?


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