Trader Joe’s Opens in U Street NW Neighborhood

Trader Joe’s, known for its low prices and healthy food choices, took on a new name in D.C.–convenience.

Trader Joe’s opened its second D.C. location on 14th and U streets NW. Curious to learn what the store offered, customers flocked to it on the opening day. Many residents interviewed at the opening said they chose to come to Trader Joe’s because it was close, and there are few alternatives for groceries in the area.

“It’s close because I live on R Street so it’s really convenient for me,” said 41-year-old D.C. resident Cindy Riale. “It’s like walking distance from my house, so I’m sure it’s going to be great.”     

Trader Joe’s not only benefits the residents living in the area, but also helps Howard University students as well. For many college students, Trader Joe’s is closer to campus and offers lower prices. For example, bananas at Trader Joe’s cost about 19 cents each while at Giant they cost 39 cents each.  

“I think that a lot of students don’t know what Trader Joe’s is, however, if students spread the word that it is less expensive than Target, Walmart, Giant, etc. then they will start shopping there instead,” said sophomore political science and philosophy major Donesha Evans, who is 20. . “I also believe it will create employment for more students who aren’t fortunate enough to have work study.”

During the first hours of opening on March 21, large crowds filled the store and experienced the products and atmosphere that Trader Joe’s offered. Employees said, “Welcome to Trader Joe’s” as each customer entered the store. Employees wore red shirts with leis around their necks instead of their signature Hawaiian print shirts. They continuously asked if customers needed help. As customers walked by, each employee smiled and spoke, even if they were busy tidying up the shelves.

One of the first features that customers could see were the walls adorned with artwork. Each painting varies and has different people doing everyday tasks while somehow incorporating Trader Joe’s within each of them. One painting showed prominent locations in D.C., including the Lincoln Theater and Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Songs like “My Girl” by the Temptations played in the background, which kept the store with a lively atmosphere.

Besides the atmosphere, customers experienced the real reason they had stopped by Trader Joe’s in the first place- the groceries. Employees gave free samples of cookies, pizza and organic popcorn with olive oil as a way to prompt customers to buy a particular product.  The store carries a lot of its own privately labeled products. Each item with a Trader Joe’s label guarantees to be free of genetically modified ingredients or artificial trans-fats. Many products offered are organic, gluten free and non-dairy.

“I am so excited because [Trader Joe’s] has super affordable prices. All the stuff doesn’t have preservatives in it and it doesn’t have artificial coloring so it’s really healthy for you,” said Trader Joe’s employee Tiffany Malone.

Located at 1914 14th St. NW, Trader Joe’s opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. daily.