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The New Trader Joe's Store at the Alabama Theater in Upper Kirby, Houston


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Dallas, and frankly the entire state of Texas, is a place we’ve wanted to be for a long time. We are a company that grows in a very controlled and thoughtful way in order to maintain the Trader Joe’s customer experience. We’re excited about bringing Trader Joe’s to the wonderful cities, towns, and neighborhoods in and around Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and beyond. We are actively looking for sites and we’re anxious to identify some great locations and begin hiring Crew Members.

http://www.kutnews.org/post/trader-joes-coming-texas

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There are still a bunch of empty grocery shells around the city from when Albertson's left and Kroger and Randall's consolidated about a decade ago. Wonder if they are going to try to fill any of those or do new construction. Is Trader Joes's a traditional supermarket or more of a upscale, urban place?

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There are still a bunch of empty grocery shells around the city from when Albertson's left and Kroger and Randall's consolidated about a decade ago. Wonder if they are going to try to fill any of those or do new construction. Is Trader Joes's a traditional supermarket or more of a upscale, urban place?

Their footprint isn't that big. They generally are only about 10,000 sq ft per location. Specialty foods, but very reasonable prices. I'm excited already!

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Their footprint isn't that big. They generally are only about 10,000 sq ft per location. Specialty foods, but very reasonable prices. I'm excited already!

More like the downtown Spec's, then? Maybe with less alcohol and more food?

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More like the downtown Spec's, then? Maybe with less alcohol and more food?

I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's and can't wait.! The best way to describe Trader Joe's a "More Laid back Whole Foods" with a "Central Market food selection" (Minus the meats) and at a much lower price point than both. Their pre-cooked, frozen food selection is absolutely one of kind!

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Oops - I didn't include a description of the store - this is from the Trader Joe's site (and the stores are now owned by the family behind the Aldi supermarkets):

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 putting innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods in 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... How do we do it?

* We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you.

* If an item doesn't pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.

* We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices.

* Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices... so we don't do it.

* We keep our costs low — because every penny we save is a penny you save.

http://www.traderjoes.com/

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More like the downtown Spec's, then? Maybe with less alcohol and more food?

Part of the appeal of Trader Joe's is that there really isn't another chain that compares with it. It has a much higher emphasis on buying niche items that they can sell for a good price than on making sure that you have everything that you need. You pretty quickly find a couple of things that you have to have and then they've got you hooked.

I was never able to do all my shopping there, but I definitely went every couple of weeks to pick up a few favorites.

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Part of the appeal of Trader Joe's is that there really isn't another chain that compares with it. It has a much higher emphasis on buying niche items that they can sell for a good price than on making sure that you have everything that you need. You pretty quickly find a couple of things that you have to have and then they've got you hooked.

I was never able to do all my shopping there, but I definitely went every couple of weeks to pick up a few favorites.

The couple I've seen have been in very walkable urban areas, relying heavily on local foot traffic. Be interesting to see if they stick with that model or say "When in Rome...." if/when they do end up here. Definitely not somewhere you would do a week's shopping so will not appeal less to people shopping for larger households.

Edited by sidegate
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The couple I've seen have been in very walkable urban areas, relying heavily on local foot traffic. Be interesting to see if they stick with that model or say "When in Rome...." if/when they do end up here. Definitely not somewhere you would do a week's shopping so will not appeal less to people shopping for larger households.

it's not unusual for them to rely on automobiles to bring customers. the ones in fairfax, virginia, as well as albuquerque and santa fe come to mind. i've seen plenty of, both, urban and suburban stores. my impression is that they are usually placed in slightly more well-to-do areas. i can see one in montrose or the heights. and even the woodlands. i guess, we'll see. as far as alcohol, not sure if anyone mentioned it, but they have a pretty big wine selection. the store often has a quirky, islandy feel (trader joe's, trade winds, etc.)--often lots of orchids for sale, sometimes hibiscus prints on bags for sale. i really like it. it's fun with inexpensive and unusual dried and frozen foods.

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We made the stores bigger (if you can imagine)...Most importantly, we started putting innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods in 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... How do we do it?

* We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you.

* If an item doesn't pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.

* We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices.

* Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices... so we don't do it.

* We keep our costs low — because every penny we save is a penny you save.

This sounds awfully similar to another retailer I've read about. The name escapes me at the moment.

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This sounds awfully similar to another retailer I've read about. The name escapes me at the moment.

Does it, Red?

"Coulombe also wanted to make sure his employees were paid fairly, instituting a policy in the 1960s that full-time employees had to make at least the median household income for their communities—an average of $7,000 a year at the time, $48,000 today. Store captains, almost all of whom are promoted from within, can make six figures annually. Trader Joe's also allows part-timers to earn health-care benefits, a feature that makes the store a haven for artists, musicians, and other creative types who wouldn't normally seek supermarket jobs."

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_09/b4073058455307.htm

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i can see one in montrose

Possible. There's a lot on the NW corner of Westheimer and Hazard (which, intriguingly, has a brand new For Sale sign) that is an appropriate size. But seriously, how many grocery stores does one area need? Between HEB & Whole foods, the two Krogers, Randall's & the Fiesta.....seems more than enough, even if the latter does take the fall.

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The soon to be vacant Fiesta site on 14th and Studewood?

I'm sure it's on their radar if they are serious about looking here. Lot might even be on the big side but that's a good problem to have here.

Edited by sidegate
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There's a Trader Joe's on Boylston St. in Boston's Back Bay. It does a banging business with students from Northeastern, BU, Emerson, and Suffolk plus the tourists staying near the Pru Center.

There's also one along the Cambridge side of the river that has a huge parking lot and doesn't rely on foot traffic at all.

Honestly, the place is ok, but I never quite understood the hype. Produce is lacking. Essentials like toilet paper can't be found. However, if you want to pick up frozen berries, packaged guacamole, some bananas, $3 wine, and bulk nuts, then you're in luck.

It's a specialty store with a niche ala Spec's but Spec's is local, and the one in Midtown blows any Trader Joe's I've been in out of the water...

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Honestly, the place is ok, but I never quite understood the hype. Produce is lacking. Essentials like toilet paper can't be found. However, if you want to pick up frozen berries, packaged guacamole, some bananas, $3 wine, and bulk nuts, then you're in luck.

It's a specialty store with a niche ala Spec's but Spec's is local, and the one in Midtown blows any Trader Joe's I've been in out of the water...

Dude, they wear Hawaiian shirts! There from California!

Seriously, Houstonians would never believe that a local store could be as good or better than a California one. Part of being hip and cool is trashing anything about Houston, while simultaneously pining for anything from Cali, Austin, or other cool places. It is the self-loathing gene that is in every Houstonian's DNA.

Reading about the place, I keep hearing that you cannot complete your shopping in one trip. As you say, toilet paper is not stocked. This sounds like a store that I would not miss if it wasn't in my neighborhood. But, for the sanity of my brand-needy Heights friends, I hope they put one here to assuage their pain over Wallyworld coming to town.

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I don't get the hype of this place. I've been in them a few times and fail to see how it is better than places we already have.

I can see it being attractive to people who transplanted from somewhere else where they had them though, for a bit of familiarity.

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Dude, they wear Hawaiian shirts! There from California!

Seriously, Houstonians would never believe that a local store could be as good or better than a California one. Part of being hip and cool is trashing anything about Houston, while simultaneously pining for anything from Cali, Austin, or other cool places. It is the self-loathing gene that is in every Houstonian's DNA.

Are people trashing Houston in this discussion? Or are people simply excited for a retailer with a *very* strong following to come to the state (bringing well paying jobs - did you bother to read my response on the previous page?)? Take a deep breath, Red - relax. Try it for once. Nobody is bashing anybody, nobody is saying Californians are superior to Houstonians/Texans. If you don't like TJ's, don't shop there, and don't insult people who do (again, sound familiar?)

Reading about the place, I keep hearing that you cannot complete your shopping in one trip. As you say, toilet paper is not stocked.

So, what you're saying is that any store that doesn't have 100% of the items you need to maintain your household isn't worth going to? Even for you, Red, that's quite a stretch of logic.

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If you don't like TJ's, don't shop there, and don't insult people who do (again, sound familiar?)

What, you mean from the Wal-Mart thread? No. That was different. People who lobbed insults at Wal-Mart shoppers suggested that the best practice was to disallow Wal-Mart from their community, the implication being that such undesirables would then congregate elsewhere or otherwise manage to evade society's attention.

Here, Red is merely observing a tendency about Trader Joe's afficionadoes and leaving it at that. He is not advocating that anybody who wants to shop there be denied that option.

Big difference.

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Soon to be vacant? I know the property was listed for sale in 2009, but I hadn't heard anything ever happened...

I "heard" that Weingarten wasn't going to re-up their lease. Can't vouch for the accuracy of that though.

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Just picked some stuff up from there yesterday in LA near Manhattan Beach. Location was by a bunch of box stores, relied on car traffic only. Its a smaller store then I'm used to, but got my truffles and other little unique stuff I like to bring home for the fam. I would love to have one in Houston.

I agree you can't do all your shopping there, but I usually don't do that anyways (mix between HEB/Kroger and occasionally Target). I go to Whole Foods randomly to get specialty items when I'm in the mood. I can't afford to shop their regularly for all my groceries, and there is no way I would ever by toilet paper there. I don't even want to know how much organic TP costs...

I would love to have a Trader Joe's and probably would hit it up once every few weeks. The selection is quite different from Specs, and much cheaper than Whole Foods.

Before I saw this thread I did a random search for "Trader Joe's Houston" to see if anything was up and found this:

Trader Joe's cease and desist to HEB Joe V's store concept

Not sure what happened there, never heard of Joe Vs...

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Just picked some stuff up from there yesterday in LA near Manhattan Beach. Location was by a bunch of box stores, relied on car traffic only. Its a smaller store then I'm used to, but got my truffles and other little unique stuff I like to bring home for the fam. I would love to have one in Houston.

I agree you can't do all your shopping there, but I usually don't do that anyways (mix between HEB/Kroger and occasionally Target). I go to Whole Foods randomly to get specialty items when I'm in the mood. I can't afford to shop their regularly for all my groceries, and there is no way I would ever by toilet paper there. I don't even want to know how much organic TP costs...

I would love to have a Trader Joe's and probably would hit it up once every few weeks. The selection is quite different from Specs, and much cheaper than Whole Foods.

Before I saw this thread I did a random search for "Trader Joe's Houston" to see if anything was up and found this:

Trader Joe's cease and desist to HEB Joe V's store concept

Not sure what happened there, never heard of Joe Vs...

Never heard of Joe V's til today. Their website lists two stores, one on Antoine near 249 and on on Uvalde near the east beltway.

http://joevsmartshop.com/

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So, what you're saying is that any store that doesn't have 100% of the items you need to maintain your household isn't worth going to? Even for you, Red, that's quite a stretch of logic.

That is correct. I do not live to shop. If I cannot get by TP, windex, toothpaste, produce AND 3 minute pizza at the same store, I will go to the one where I can. However, I admit that I have to go to a separate store for my liquor, and once a month I go to PetSmart for dog food, neither of which is likely carried at Trader Joe's.

Shocking, I know.

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People in Houston and/or Texas don't realize how good we have it here. Spec's in Midtown is a booze/foodie dream. Central Market is redonk. We still have a somewhat thriving local grocery chain (Rice), wildly successful Texas-based chains (H.E.B. and Whole Foods) and national brands as well (Kroger).

I always thought the only reason Trader Joe's was so popular in Boston was because the grocery shopping in the city SUCKED. That, and the transient student population that dug being able to score $3 wine and $1 crackers while listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain as some dude in a Hawaiian shirt rings them up.

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Instead of TJ's, it's time to recruit Aldi's. Those grocery stores are so cheap and efficient. Very nice. I hope they expand into Houston soon, like they have in DFW.

From the reviews I've read, Aldi stores in the U.S. mainly appeal to people who want the most food they can get for the least amount of money. Quality and selection get low marks from people who enjoy good food and like to cook.

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the best part of trader joe's is they're the exclusive distributor for Two Buck Chuck, the best cheap wine you can get :)

I'm pretty sure it has gone to Three Buck Chuck but a great value none the less.

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  • 2 months later...

trader joe's is considering a woodlands location. i'm not sure if it's one or the other. culturemap seems to think it is a choice between the two locations (alabama theater or the woodlands). i'd rather see the alabama theater space saved (if that's the intention) rather than have a trader joe's here in the woods. (my grocery needs are small.)

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