Shop Small 2013

A 365 day challenge

Archive for the tag “Trader Joe’s”

Day 27: How does this look?!

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This week’s delivery!

Although I had sporadically used Door to Door Organics last year, I couldn’t resist the buy one get one free offer they sent me at the beginning of the year.

One disadvantage to shopping organically, and locally, is that coupons are few and far between. So, I’m happy using them whenever I can!

In this case, all of the produce was FREE!

Yep, all I paid for were the chicken breasts, peanut butter packets (great for
“emergency snacks!”), the Boulder Canyon chips, and the brick of cheese!

So, this week we tried
Zeppe’s Italian Market: a small deli & to-go meals with a few shelves of Italian staples.
Fruitful Yield: discounted vitamins and healthy foods- very knowledgeable employees- a must for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
Trader Joe’s: yes, I couldn’t resist. Not truly small, but it is one of my favorites!
Dentist, Dr. Mark Curcio: Nervous about having your choppers checked? He’s your guy.
Posh Boutique: A great women’s consignment shop with both resale and new clothing, purses, and jewelry. All in a welcoming boutique setting.
Fat Ricky’s: A good choice on those occasions you want to over-indulge with super-cheesy sandwiches. Not healthy, but fresh ingredients.

Tomorrow is my favorite small business for my four-legged friend! Afraid you’ll miss it? Click on the “follow” button at the top of this page or follow us on Twitter: @shopsmall2013

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Day 23: I caved…

After my visit to Zeppe’s Italian Market and Fruitful Yield, I still had staples on my list.

It’s one thing to pay $1-2 more on an item if it prevents me from having to run across town to multiple stores. I’d pay triple that in gas.

But, my cereal was $2 more (and I needed 3 boxes), flour was also $2 more (needed 3 bags), and I didn’t want a $15 ginormous bag of raw sugar. So, really I was going to save over $20 at my other store.

Truth be told, I was really missing it. I was craving its friendly atmosphere, its neat-organized rows, I missed my $2.99 organic cereal…

My name is Stefanie and I am a Trader Joe’s addict.

I know. I know.

Geographically, Trader Joe’s has come along way since 1967; the store itself has pretty much remained the same (I’ve actually read the book about its creation!).

I love that they only carry a specific number of products at a time, although that also means some of my favorites aren’t there year round.

Trader Joe’s isn’t in every state, so that still makes them sort of small, right?

Here’s the deal- I’ve known plenty of people who’ve gone there & hated it- moreso- they’ve said they just don’t get it.

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If you are brand loyal, it’s probably not for you. If you get an absurd thrill coming across items like Double Creme Brie, Sundried Tomato & Pesto torta, Pear Cinnamon Cider, Corn & Chili Tomato-less salsa- then Trader Joe’s is for you. If not, Casey’s Market is right next door (in Naperville, anyway).

I tried Casey’s Foods, I really did. It’s one of the last family owned grocery stores around. It’s been here since 1991 and has a very loyal following. Maybe it was just the night I visited (freezing-ass cold), but I thought it was dirty and the employees were not helpful. I had never been there and asked where to find the flour- I basically received an “over there” with a head nod. Ask a Trader Joe’s employee, and they’ll walk you to the item.

As far as Casey’s goes, it seems like just a mini-grocery store. It’s your same aisles of Kellogg’s, Heinz, and big-name products. I don’t want Oreos, I want Peppermint Jo-Jo’s with their crushed candy-cane filling. Why buy Rice Krispies, when I can get TJ Rice Cereal that’s essentially the same thing, minus high fructose corn syrup and it’s only $1.99.

Maybe that’s why I love Trader Joe’s- and my lure toward small businesses in general- I like seeing different products, I’m not particularly brand-loyal, and I’d really love to work there in one of their Hawaiian shirts!

Trader Joe’s just feels like a neighborhood grocer should. It’s not pretentious like Whole Paycheck, but you can still get most items organic and/or without high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated garbage, or artificial colors.

That said, this year is about shopping small- so I truly only bought a few staples: cereal, flour, sugar- I begrudgingly walked past the Mini ice cream cones and blueberry chèvre. Produce, dairy, deli, meats & seafood will be found elsewhere.

I think the bottom line is, small or not, if I don’t feel good about shopping there and the items I purchase, I don’t want to spend our hard-earned money with that business.
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So, come on, there has to be other Trader Joe’s junkies. What are some of your “must-haves?” Who’s heading out for their virgin TJ experience? We’ll help with product suggestions!

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