Between a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods Place

United States
April 20, 2016 9:49am CST
It’s really interesting that property values soar if either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods sets up in a neighborhood. When I heard this information, it dawned on me that the reporters had it backwards. Both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s check the demographics in an area, and then set up where it fits their target market. I’m pretty lucky. My home is almost equidistant between two of them. Less than a ten minute drive on neighborhood streets gets me to my local Trader Joe’s. If I turn my car in the opposite direction, it takes about the same length of time to arrive in the Whole Foods parking lot. I shop at both of them. I like the produce at Trader Joe’s and several of their other food items, raisin bran, nuts, seeds, all sorts of healthy stuff. Whole Foods has a large variety of food, but what I buy there is single serving entrees made by Michael Angelo’s. I buy the four cheese lasagna, turkey meatballs with ziti, chicken parmigiana and eggplant parmigiana. Regular supermarkets don’t carry the varieties that I enjoy. They often only have the eggplant or beef lasagna (ick). This morning, however, there is a new store opening. As you can see from the photo above, Smart & Final Extra is opening today. It is going into a location that seems to have had hard luck lately. It was a Vons Supermarket when I moved here two years ago. I went there a few times to pick up yogurt, but they were often out of stock. This happened so often, and the store was so rundown, that I avoided going there at all. Then Haggen came to town, bought the location and set up shop. But they didn’t do much to improve the store itself. I went there once to check it out, and only returned when they had their going out of business 70% off sale. But now Smart & Final is opening. My sister swears that their prices are the best of all places to buy food, and household goods. I’ll check it out, and see if she is right. From the photo in the flyer, they have remodeled the store. It also says they sell lots of organic produce. Great. They will have to do something special to lure me away from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, but since it is super close, if the store is as nice as the ad, and my sister’s estimation of their prices is correct, I’m open to switching. Do you have any of these three stores near your home? What do you think about them?
26 people like this
27 responses
@Corbin5 (112941)
• United States
20 Apr 16
We have Whole Foods and Trader Joe's just minutes from home. Whole Foods had to pay a fine for overpricing so I do not go there. Trader Joe's is OK, but selection is limited in our store. The store that has the lowest prices here would be Aldi.
Whole Foods Market Inc. has agreed to pay $500,000 and enforce certain policies to settle allegations that its stores were overcharging customers for prepackaged foods, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs said Monday.
4 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
I know about this issue with Whole Foods. It's interesting to me. How can they tell if something is overpriced? I think almost everything sold in stores now is overpriced. I spent $80 this morning at the new Smart and Final, and these prices were significantly lower than those at Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons. I might buy some of my staples there, but I prefer Trader Joe's.
3 people like this
@puddleglum (1415)
• United States
20 Apr 16
When I lived in New York City, I was close to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. I prefer Whole Foods. I used to like eating lunch there. It should be nice to experience a new store. You might like Smart and Final. I've never heard of it.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
I went this morning. It is much nicer than the two stores that were in the space before. The prices were fantastic. I checked several items. But it was a pain to carry things to my car. I'm getting too old to lift and tote heavy bags of groceries.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace Did the Smart and Final carry traditional name brands, or were there more discount and generic product offerings?
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@puddleglum They were almost entirely name brands. But their selection was not as broad, not as many varieties. But then, they carried some things that other stores do not, like very large packages, for families or businesses that need them. As for me, a single, there was enough good stuff to return. The prices were so much lower that this would be wise, but carrying heavy bags was not fun at all.
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (60972)
• Los Angeles, California
20 Apr 16
I live in LA so these two stores have locations all over the place.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
L.A. ? That's my hometown, born and raised. When I was born, people in downtown looked like me. They don't now, of course. When I was little, my family moved to The Valley, which is, as you know, part of L.A.
2 people like this
@JohnRoberts (60972)
• Los Angeles, California
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace I live in the San Fernando Valley.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@JohnRoberts What a coincidence. When I was a small child, we were in Panorama City, but later is was Sepulveda (what is not North Hills West).
@Marcyaz (35620)
• United States
20 Apr 16
Nope we have none of those stores close to us. When I lived in AZ we had a Trader Joe's but I didn't go there often as they were a small store and very crowded all the time. The other stores I don't know anything about.
3 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 16
Trader Joe's starts with a small store in an area. Once they build up a clientele, they expand the footprint. Makes good sense.
2 people like this
@Marcyaz (35620)
• United States
20 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace Hmmm I didn't know that but it is an interesting concept.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@Marcyaz I have seen them do this three times. I makes sense to start small and see if the income justifies building a larger space.
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8714)
• United States
20 Apr 16
We have a Whole Foods but I've never been there. When the HyVee is in walking distance there's no need.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
What is a HyVee? Is it a supermarket or a store like Target, with a section full of food?
@fishtiger58 (30320)
• Momence, Illinois
20 Apr 16
I don't know where there is even a Trader Joe.s and the closest Whole Foods is about 30 miles away. I have been there a few times. Never heard of Smart and Final, but I like the name. Hope it's all that and a bag of chips as the kids say lol.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 16
I guess your demographics don't fit their target market. I'm pretty lucky. I have a choice in which Trader Joe's I visit since there are several around here. Just one Whole Foods, though.
3 people like this
@fishtiger58 (30320)
• Momence, Illinois
20 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace No I'm in a small town of 3000 surrounded by corn and chive fields. I guess we just don't stack up.
6 people like this
• United States
20 Apr 16
@fishtiger58 No. I'm sure they need a much larger population to support any of the three stores. Where do you get your supplies?
2 people like this
@pgntwo (21928)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
20 Apr 16
No, no and no. What's good nearby? Two Spar stores and a Supervalu that is undergoing a "business as usual" refurbishment.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
Of course, I don't know your stores any more than you know mine. Are Spar stores supermarkets, or are they small department stores with a food section, like Target?
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (21928)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace Spar is a convenience store, one that is open till late and on Sundays for newspapers and stuff (apparently this decision is based on the establishment's floorspace). In fact, the other Spar nearby is on a gas station forecourt. The Supervalu is a supermarket, with an in-store butcher, and is about 8 times larger than either Spar. All 3 of these are on the same half-mile stretch of road. The nearest large supermarket or department store is about 9 miles away.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@pgntwo Okay.Thanks. So Spar is like a 7-eleven store. I guess this is all regional.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Apr 16
Yes! I have all 3 near me. I shop more at Whole Foods - I like the fresh sliced deli section, dessert section and chickens, soups, salad bar offered. I also read on the news alike back that if you have those stores nearby your homes are worth more too! Also there was a controverisity that Trader Joes is bankrupt and closing in 2017? I'm not sure how true that is. There is a Smart and Finals nearby and they are opening up a Extra soon in replacement of Haggens. Haggens was quite expensive! Didn't last very long.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
That rumor about Trader Joe's was an April Fools Joke. I bet they didn't find it funny at all.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace Yes! I don't think it's funny either. [u][/u]
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@infatuatedbby Some jokes should be avoided, because they cause damage when people do not realize that they are not true.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
21 Apr 16
Not in the UK I think
2 people like this
• United States
2 May 16
I think that Trader Joe's is owned by someone in the German family that owns Aldi.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
2 May 16
@ElizabethWallace cool, hopefully similar
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 16
@arthurchappell I have heard that Aldi rotates what they supply. That would make me crazy. Once I find something I like, then I don't want to keep experimenting. So, I'm glad that Trader Joe's doesn't do that.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (39591)
• United States
20 Apr 16
I have never heard of Smart and Final at all. We have a whole foods about 15 miles from us but it is at least 60 miles to the nearest Trader Joe's so I have never shopped there.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
Trader Joe's is cozy, friendly and has more personality. It is smaller than Whole Foods, and the prices are much lower.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (39591)
• United States
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace I will have to give one a try there is one in Danbury between our home and cottage. I have always been curious about them.but we usually have the dogs with us so hubs will have to stay in the car with them.lol
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@BelleStarr That's a new one, leaving the husband in the car with the dogs. Isn't that akin to leaving a child in there?
@mom210 (6779)
• Atlanta, Georgia
20 Apr 16
I think there is a trader Joes in atlanta but none are near me, I have not heard of the other two stores. We have limited shopping where I am I have to drive about 30 miles to get to anything with real choices. We have a dollar general near us, if we are desperate we go there, but it is tiny. I pick a day each week and just get all the shopping done at once.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
Are you able to do bit time shopping online and have it delivered? It must be tough to be far away from things you need to sustain life.
2 people like this
@mom210 (6779)
• Atlanta, Georgia
21 Apr 16
@ElizabethWallace I am used to it, we just plan the outings & stack them up. Makes me make really good shopping lists. I have had to run back to town for something I missed, kicking myself the whole way.
3 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
@mom210 List make life much easier, and help keep us sane.
1 person likes this
@marlina (76603)
• Canada
22 Apr 16
I live in Ontario, Canada and I am not aware of any of these stores around here.
2 people like this
• United States
2 May 16
Sorry. What do you have?
@TheHorse (70831)
• Pleasant Hill, California
21 Apr 16
When I read your first sentence, I thought "correlation does not imply causation," and word "demographics" came to mind. When I read your second and third sentences, I thought, "Great minds think alike." I live in a middle to upper-class neighborhood, and I have a Trader Joe's about 1/2 mile away. I don't know if there's a Whole Foods nearby, though.
2 people like this
• United States
2 May 16
It's also a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the the values get an additional bump after they open.
@fawkes62 (1291)
• United States
20 Apr 16
I've never heard of Smart & Final before. I have heard of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, but we don't have either of those near us. We do have a Natural Grocers that just opened up last summer and many people were thrilled when they heard about it. Most would have preferred either Trader Joe's or Whole Foods though. I've never shopped at either, though I've heard there are some in a larger city about 4 hours away.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
Smart and Final is like a discount membership store that sells to retailers and the public, but does not charge for membership. It is open to anyone who walks in, like I did this morning.
2 people like this
@Dena91 (4507)
• United States
20 Apr 16
There are Trader Joe's about 50 miles from us in 3 different directions. I've heard mixed reviews on it. Not sure about the Whole Foods, perhaps near the Trader Joe's but no one I know has mentioned going to it. Hope the newer store has what you like at decent prices. Have a blessed day
2 people like this
• United States
21 Apr 16
The new store has much lower prices, I checked. But it was torture loading everything into my car. I am spoiled by having the bulk of my shopping needs delivered into my kitchen. I don't know if saving a few dollars is worth the pain. But I will go there when I run out of the odd item.
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (69069)
• Roseburg, Oregon
28 Apr 16
Trader Joe was in Colorado when I lived there. None of those stores are here in Oregon.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 16
Interesting, since Trader Joe's seems to be very Oregon in philosophy.
@jstory07 (69069)
• Roseburg, Oregon
25 Apr 16
If that store is good you will have three stores that you can go to. I hope it works out for you.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 16
Bought a big bag of apples. Had to throw several away. Never had to do that at Trader Joe's.
@Rollo1 (16686)
• Boston, Massachusetts
25 Apr 16
I think you are right. Both companies know that only higher income people shop there regularly and so they open stores in higher-income neighborhoods. I don't go to special stores for special items, so I don't frequent either store - there is one in my town and the other is in a swankier town nearby. I can't imagine either has anything special enough to cause me to feel compelled to make the trip. I like my local supermarket, it has the lowest prices anywhere and quality produce.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 16
Our supermarkets stink. The shelves often have items missing. They do not stock the same things over and over. It's annoying. At Trader Joe's I always find what I want.
@DianneN (82048)
• United States
23 Apr 16
We have Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and an independent Natural and organic store that has been around before any of the others were even a dream. I prefer Whole Foods over Trader Joe's for fresh produce, meats, and organic fish. We also have two farm markets which are closer to me, that I visit in season.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 May 16
I heard there is a farm market closeby, but I haven't visited it yet. I will once I am feeling better.
1 person likes this
@Elizaby (3806)
• Pensacola, Florida
22 Apr 16
The closest I have of any of those stores is about 45 miles away in FT Walton Beach and the have both a Whole Foods and Trader Joes. We do have a Fresh Market which is similar to those in town trying to compete with Everman's which is a local organic co-op
1 person likes this