Trader Joe’s Noah Stevens, store captain, talks about the new store in Germantown. Memphis Commercial Appeal
Nine registers sat unused Tuesday, but only for a few days more. Trader Joe’s in Germantown Collection opens its doors Friday at 8 a.m.
The grocery store’s shelves are filling up. The crew members are being trained, and Noah Stevens, Germantown’s store captain, is excited for customers to see the shop’s offerings.
“People have been waiting four years or more. We can’t wait to let them in,” Stevens said.
Customers can walk through the balloon archway in the store after a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
Here are some tips and tricks to know before visiting the long-awaited grocery store:
Times to shop
The store will likely be crowded the first couple of weeks as people across the Mid-South are excited about the grocery chain’s opening. The weekdays tend to be the best days to shop. Experts say the middle of the day, opening times and shortly before close are ideal. The store will be open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Try before you buy
Will you like Trader Joe’s famous cookie butter or sweet sriracha bacon jerky? Trader Joe’s will let you sample anything in the store and then decide if you want to purchase. The only things customers cannot try are raw or frozen foods and alcohol.
Trader Joe’s brand
Most of Trader Joe’s items are the store’s own branded products. While some products might be found at other health food stores, the grocery chain has strict guidelines before it puts its label on an item. The food must not have genetically modified organisms or hydrogenated oils. It also must be free of MSG, artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives.
The store does not have coupons for Trader Joe’s branded products or a member rewards system. However, it will accept coupons for products it sells.
The store has a generous return policy. If you didn’t try your granola bars before you bought them and you get home and don’t like them, they will let you return them for a full refund or exchange.
For the kids
Each store has a hidden stuffed animal that kids try to locate. If the kids can locate and tell someone at the captain’s desk or the cashier at checkout, they get a prize — usually a lollipop or sticker.
The Germantown pet is a horse, to pay respect to the city’s horse heritage. The horse is not yet named, and kids will get to recommend names.
The nearly 15,000-square-foot store has four artists on staff. Artwork and murals and decorations around the store honor Memphis landmarks and Germantown’s history.
“We spent a couple months picking out the murals, and it looks better than I imagined it,” Stevens said, adding that it’s unique to Germantown.
“A lot of times you go in stores, you don’t know what part of town you’re in,” he said. “When I close my eyes and open them and look around, I know I’m in Germantown,” he said.
The walls are also decorated with local sports gear.
While some Trader Joe’s have a strict “bring your own bag” policy, the Germantown store has some bags. However, shoppers are encouraged to bring reusable bags. If shoppers bring their own bags, they get entered in a monthly raffle. Customers also can ask to have bags carried to their cars.
The store has a smaller stock room than most grocery chains. What’s on the shelf is what’s in stock most of the time. The store gets deliveries multiple times a day, and the items on the shelf are fresh, according to Stevens.
Items the store does not sell by the expiration date are donated to local food pantries. Stevens said the store has talked to 25 pantries in the area.
In addition to food
Trader Joe’s offers several items besides groceries, including fresh flowers, 99-cent greeting cards, beauty products and household items.
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