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Old 06-27-2010, 02:03 AM
 
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Is Whole Foods just bigger and have nicer products? It seemed that way to me. Whole Foods also seems to be in areas with a significant amount of upper middle suburban neighborhoods. California has alot of boutique towns with upper middle class neighborhoods and then larger cities with some neighborhoods.
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Yes, Whole Foods is pretty pricey. In fact, around here we call it "Whole Pay Check" because that is how much it would be if I bought a lot there. They have more products than Trader Joe's but you can find things there that TJ's doesn't carry- especially a lot of Gluten Free ingredients and other specialty items like that.

I actually shop at local grocery store the most but buy specialty items at WF's (Gluten free items, vitamins...) and more everyday specialty at TJ's (frozen veggies, wine, chips, rice pasta...)
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Old 06-30-2010, 12:28 AM
 
Location: Portlandia "burbs"
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Trader Joe's has almost all I need, at much better prices than Whole Foods. I don't do the Whole Foods-Four Seasons stores because they are out of my budget. I also buy my vitamins at Trader's (and Costco).

I also tend to like smaller-sized stores. Trader's is compact and I feel like I can get out of there quicker ~ although it can get backed up with long lines.
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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I worked at Whole Foods Market for many many years, but now we live in a city where we do not have a Whole Foods but we do have a Trader Joe's. I shop at TJ's occassionally... but honestly I'm not a big fan. I think it's more a brand loyalty thing with both stores, to be honest, than the quality of the products or the customer service. People hear TJ's or Whole Foods Market and it's like a status quo thing... like saying you drive a hybrid or something in certain circles.

When I first started working at Whole Foods, there were only 7 stores. The company started in Texas and I worked in the 4th store that was ever opened. Back then the ego was practically non-existant, the quality of goods was very high, customer service meant something, and it was all around a great company. We felt like a great big community, or even a family at times. Even with our customers, most of whom were regulars. My feeling is that they should have stayed small. Same story goes with Starbuck's. These unique places get too big and it ruins the appeal. It becomes about the brand, not about the substance.

Is there a difference between the two? Years ago I would have said yes. Now? One is very big and pricey and one is small and can be more affordable. That's about it. Makes me sad.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:08 AM
 
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TJ's carries very few brand name items (although like most "generic" items they're probably from well-known companies but distributed under TJ's private label). Prices are decent, the setup is very similar to a typical European grocery store...not surprising since it's owned by one of the Aldi brothers, whose discount supermarket business model made them the richest men in Germany. Whole Foods has a far larger selection but is incredibly expensive. I tend to avoid WF in favor of smaller regional chains like Sunflower & Sprouts which seem to have more reasonable prices & are IMO more pleasant places to shop (smaller, easier to navigate, plus WF stores always feel dark & kind of gloomy to me).
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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WF & TJ are different types of stores. They may both sell same types of products but their store composition are not similar.
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Old 06-30-2010, 11:39 PM
 
Location: home...finally, home .
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Trader Joe's has cool samples.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:35 PM
 
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I LOVE Trader Joe's!!! Having lived on the west coast for 10 years it was on a very short list of places I would shop. The other two were Mother's (a small chain of stores in southern california. Each one a gem in it's own right), and Whole Foods, which by the way is not the same on the east coast.

Trader Joe's, however, was my absolute favorite of all. They produce and package under their own label much of their inventory. They were constantly changing foods based on sales. What that means is you may go to a store today, and see a product you've seen many times before, and the following week it's been replaced with a new tantalizing option. There are so many unique and interesting foods, and other things you just don't expect to see. The employees are super cool (they actually like working there.......no, seriously, they do) and I could always count on T.J.'s to surprise me. I actually called the headquarters for Trader Joe's when I was trying to decide whether to move back to Miami. I knew they weren't there, but wanted to know how long it was going to be!! Yes, I did. Pitiful, huh?

So here I am, in Miami, still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Trader Joe's. Hopefully soon. Otherwise I may feel my eyes looking west, again! Oh, I almost forgot. Trader Joe's is not like Whole Foods or Wild Oats. Trader Joe's is unique unto itself. I've been shopping Whole Foods and Wild Oats for years. Great stores, but not T.J.'s.
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Old 08-06-2010, 10:00 PM
 
14,459 posts, read 24,609,671 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1cat2gofar View Post
So here I am, in Miami, still anxiously awaiting the arrival of Trader Joe's. Hopefully soon. Otherwise I may feel my eyes looking west, again! Oh, I almost forgot. Trader Joe's is not like Whole Foods or Wild Oats. Trader Joe's is unique unto itself. I've been shopping Whole Foods and Wild Oats for years. Great stores, but not T.J.'s.
As much as I like Trader Joe's in California, the ones in the Midwest have been disappointing. Same good groceries but the fresh food is sourced differently and is not as good as you get in the West.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:19 AM
 
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Some people haven't heard that a lot of Whole Foods "organic" produce is not locally grown even in season. It comes from China. Trader Joe's has had well publicized problems misrepresenting their products' origin. You can't trust anyone anymore, you have to go online and do your due diligence research.

I used to shop at the original WF in Austin, Texas 20 years ago and loved it. Nothing beats those WF smoothies before heading to Antone's for some world class blues when the central TX summer temp is 104 degrees and the humidity is off the Gulf. Here in Massachusetts they bought out our local Bread & Circus stores, and it's gone downhill ever since. Trader Joe's is 200 yards from WF on Rte 9, Hadley. The selection at that TJ is miniscule, some of the prices are lower but the quality is lower IMO, I can't find what I want there and don't bother going in but once a year.

I don't appreciate the founder of WF's extreme right wing anti-worker, anti-union policies. Employee morale in the Hadley store is obviously impaired, though everyone is super nice to me personally and all the customers still get great service. People were picketing outside the Hadley store after his strong editorials against national health care. It was pathetic when he got caught trolling message boards under his teen daughter's screen name. The political overlay affects my feelings about shopping there even though he was forced out. I've found other alternatives locally, farmer's markets, farm stands, co-ops.
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