We Did It!
We did it! After years of wishing, yearning, pining, and possibly harassing the Trader Joe’s corporate offices, I attended the grand opening of the Ashburn, VA store on the morning of September 6th and it was amazing! I’d never attended a grand opening of a store before; in fact, I usually avoid crowded stores. But this was different, I needed to be there because after all these years we were finally getting an Ashburn Trader Joe’s.
How It All Started
It all started nine and a half years ago while having dinner and drinks with two friends. When conversation turned to complaining about having to drive into neighboring Reston to shop at Trader Joe’s (about thirty minutes away during non-rush hour), I announced that I was going to start a grassroots movement to bring Trader Joe’s to our community.
The following day, I started a Facebook group called Bring Trader Joe’s To Ashburn, VA. I posted a link to the location request page on the Trader Joe’s website and suggested members regularly contact the company to request a store be opened in our community. The Facebook group grew very slowly at first, but eventually took off to our current 1.9K members. Member were diligent posting that they’d visited Trader Joe’s website requesting at store in Ashburn, many making monthly requests!
The Big Announcement
Anytime a store in our area closed, members of our Facebook group hoped Trader Joe’s would snatch up the spot for a store. Occasionally, rumors spread that it was a done deal and TJ’s was moving into fill in the blank store that had just closed. Being a natural skeptic, I refused to believe anything until I saw it in writing on the Trader Joe’s website. In mid-May, after another round of rumors emerged, I clicked on the store announcements page and couldn’t believe what I saw with my very own eyes – the most recent round of rumors were true!
We may have had nothing to do with bringing Trader Joe’s to Ashburn, but we like to think we did! 😉
What’s All The Fuss About Trader Joe’s?
Trader Joe’s is a unique shopping experience. They have great fresh produce, delicious prepackaged foods, interesting desserts, a great wine selection, and beautiful cut flowers; all at great prices. Who better to tell the Trader Joe’s story than the official Trader Joe’s crew? The following two paragraphs were pulled directly from their website:
It all started in the 50s… Would you believe we started out as a small chain of convenience stores? It’s true. Way back in 1958. We were called Pronto Markets. In ‘67, our founder, the original Trader Joe, changed our name (yes, to Trader Joe’s) and the way we do business.
We made the stores bigger (if you can imagine), decked the walls with cedar planks and donned our crew in cool Hawaiian shirts. Most importantly, we started packaging innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods under the “Trader Joe’s” name. That cut our costs and saved you money. Still does. And that’s important, because “Value” is a concept we take very seriously. And by ‘Value,’ we mean great everyday prices on all of our great products — no sales, no gimmicks, no clubs to join, no special cards to swipe…
Community Ice Cream Social
In August, an ice cream social invitation which was drawn by the daughter of the soon-to-be Ashburn Trader Joe’s captain (store manager) was posted on our Facebook page.
With great anticipation, I stopped by to join in on the excitement!
The world’s cutest little ice cream cones were being handed out along with samples of key lime tea cookies, and mango sorbet.
We were allowed to go into the store to scout it out, but the official opening wouldn’t be for another five days. As we entered the store we were handed a coupon good for a free reusable shopping bag that could be redeemed on our first visit once the store opened. The decor of the store is a sampling of what our community has to offer…
The small plan in the entry way was actually made by one of the Ashburn Trader Joe’s crew members!
Wall murals depict the surrounding farmlands and mountains and there’s even a takeoff of a Washington Redskins hog.
And even Dulles International Airport made it into the store, Trader Joe’s style.
As a long-time supporter of bringing Trader Joe’s to our communtiy and the creator of the Bring Trader Joe’s to Ashburn, VA Facebook group, I was invited to a private pre-opening tour of the store. I was thrilled to be included in this event and thoroughly enjoyed meeting many of the TJ crew members during a relaxing hour sampling foods and wines.
Tables with a variety of appetizers and desserts were set up throughout the store. Mouth watering samples included cheese and crackers, bread slathered in flavored cream cheeses, pastries with feta cheese and caramelized onions, cookies, and delicious French macarons. Wine sampling included prosecco, rose, white, and red wines.
As we left the special event, we were given a reusable shopping bag containing a variety of Trader Joe’s goodies.
The Big Day!
After nine and a half years of waiting, the big day was finally here! It was around 72° and warming up rapidly when I arrived at the store at 7:30 AM for the 7:50 ribbon cutting ceremony followed by the 8 AM official store opening. A small crowd had already gathered and formed a line. More and more people arrived and soon there was a long line of people eagerly awaiting the doors to open for shopping at our very own Ashburn Trader Joe’s!
A table with coffee was set up for those waiting in line and everyone was given a lei and reusable shopping bag. Those who had attended the ice cream social also had a coupon to redeem for a second shopping bag.
Once the ribbon was cut by Captain Chris and his family, the doors were officially opened to the long awaited Ashburn Trader Joe’s.
As shoppers grabbed their carts and maneuvered around the store, I grabbed dark chocolate covered espresso beans for my husband (a Trader Joe’s favorite for him) and headed to the registers. I asked who would like to check out the very first Ashburn Trader Joe’s customer and the hands of all the crew members manning the registers few up into the air. I happened to be standing closest to this happy gentleman and entered into his lane. He graciously allowed me to take his picture before I raced off to work.
As I hustled out of the store, I paused long enough to snap a picture with Captain Chris and a couple of the other crew members. I promised to return for some serious shopping when I wasn’t in such a rush.
Subsequent Shopping Trip
The following Sunday afternoon I went back to the store and filled my shopping cart with both Trader Joe’s favorites and new-to-me items that looked too good not to try. It was fabulous driving the short distance to and from, and not having to carve out an huge window for a Trader Joe’s shopping trip! 😀
- Do you shop at Trader Joe’s?
- If so, what are some of your favorite items?
- What’s your favorite grocery store?
Happy Running! ~ Deb