The stores are small, the selection is uneven and the corporate culture can be described as dorky. But because its products are often not available anywhere else; because they mysteriously appear, disappear, then reappear on the shelves; or perhaps simply because they often taste very, very good, Trader Joe's has become tremendously popular among Americans who like to be entertained and educated by what they eat, as well as nourished by it.
There's also a section of the article where they acknowledge how Trader Joe's is helping thousands of people who hate cooking eat "home cooked meals". Trader Joe's call is "speed scratch" cooking, but I like to refer to it as Heating Up™. Plus that little ™ is just funnier.
Trader Joe's has also guided its customers into the world of prepared food and precut vegetables — what Mr. Rauch, the president, calls "speed scratch" cooking. "Trader Joe's customers are people who really care about cooking," he said, "but like everyone else in America, they don't feel like they have time to chop all the vegetables, cook the chicken and make the dessert — but they want to be in the kitchen." The stores stock lots of things like precut butternut squash and beets, "simmer sauces" that make quick stews, and marinated salmon fillets packaged with fresh herbs in oven-ready cooking bags. "We are very careful about marinades," Mr. Sloan said solemnly. "Dill can be very polarizing."Okay I'm dying that Mr. Sloan says that dill can be very polarizing. In market research we call anything polarizing if some people like it and some people hate it. Polarizing is becoming a non-word, just like edgy. Plus I think I'm going to have to immortalize Mr. Sloan's words in a banner. Plus he's talking about my favorite TJs item, the Salmon In A Bag (With The Polarizing Dill Sauce). I'm glad they decided to go with the dill sauce, who knew that dill was so polarizing? Although actually now that I type this, I think Paul doesn't really like dill at all. Seriously what's wrong with you people who don't like dill? It's a pretty bland spice but a very unique taste. I can't say enough about dill.
And the best part about the article, it mentions the first Trader Joe's on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. Oh yeah, I see a pilgramage in the future. Mayhaps the first Trader Joe's podcast will be recorded at the first Trader Joe's? Look for it in the near future folks!
And yes I will try to get an exclusive interview for my upcoming podcasts with my New York friend Gabe, who is familar with Trader Joe's because he's lived in California for a couple of years, on how the New York version of Trader Joe's is fairing.
You can read the whole article on NYT.com website here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/08/dining/08joes.html?8dpc (special thanks to Tia for pointing out the article!)