After years of longing by folks tired of having to drag dark chocolate, orange chicken, chili lime chicken burgers, and bottles of Two-Buck Chuck from downtown Boise, Trader Joe’s has finally landed in Meridian.
More than 100 people braved the morning traffic and light sprinkles to queue up for the store’s 8:30 a.m. opening Thursday. As they entered the sliding glass doors, they were greeted by a double column of cheering employees, some in Hawaiian shirts, handing out shopping bags and dispensing cups hot cider.
“We opened the doors a half hour early,” said Store Captain Tom Mueth.
The store is located in part of the former Rosauers at 2986 N. Eagle Road. Like all Trader Joe’s stores, it has a nautical theme. The manager is the captain. Employees are crew members.
Check-out lines were backed up to the end of the 16,000-square-foot store, but shoppers didn’t seem to mind.
“I’m very excited because I normally drive to downtown Boise, so I’m ready to shop,” said Lois Lange, a Meridian resident who had just plucked a pumpkin from a display box outside the store. She especially liked the ample parking available.
On the shore shelves, the fall line-up was heavily pumpkin, but also includes caramel apple, maple, butternut squash and the like.
At the sample station in the back of the store, crew members served pumpkin-flavored cinnamon rolls festooned with bacon. “The sampling area is the first place that people go,” winked crew member Dawn Huff.
Murals and art line the walls with scenes depicting the industries, flora and fauna of the Treasure Valley.
The store employs 75 people, according to Mueth. Fifteen to 20 crew members transferred from the Boise store, Idaho’s first, which opened in 2014.
He doesn’t expect the new location to ding any of the Downtown stores sales. Indeed, parking probably “will open up some” on the other side of town, said Mueth, who moved to Meridian from the Redding, California, Trader Joe’s.
Eighty percent of Trader Joe’s products are in-house, meaning that customers can’t get them anywhere else and the grocer can sell them at lower prices, according to Business Insider. Trader Joe’s brought in $13.3 billion during its 2017 fiscal year, according to Supermarket News.