Trader Joe’s brings adventurous, appetizing appeal to Palm Beach Gardens By Amy Woods

Logo_staticJudging from the look of its new store at 2560 PGA Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens, one would think Trader Joe’s was founded in South Florida.

In fact, its roots are planted in West Coast soil and date to 1958.

Anyone who enters the doors of the irreverently spirited grocery chain might be fooled.

One of the first things you’ll see when walking inside is a colorful mural of the signature city’s beloved banyan tree. Beyond that are a popping painting of a red royal Poinciana and purple jacaranda tree, two native beauties.

Local scenery fills every wall and includes the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park beachfront boardwalk, sunrise at the Juno Beach Pier and an illuminated Jupiter Lighthouse. There are images of golfing in paradise and whimsical water birds, as well as Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue and its charmingly picturesque vias.

“The vision we had for this store was to kind of pull off the vibe of Palm Beach County,” said Daniel Kelleher, store captain. “We are the neighborhood store and very much a part of the community.”

Foodies will delight in the imported items, identified by clever and often comical signs. Cookie butter. Cowboy caviar. Dark-chocolate-covered “powerberries.” Gluten-free macaroni and cheese. Quinoa- and black-bean-infused tortilla chips. Roasted Gorgonzola-flavored oven-crisp crackers. Truffle Gouda.

A beverage offering coined “Three-buck Chuck” is a $2.99 bottle of Charles Shaw-labeled wine available in Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and Pinot Grigio.

They also sell decadent deserts – both fresh and frozen – exotically flavored Greek yogurts, ready-to-eat lunch salads and more.

“We travel the culinary seas for great products,” Kelleher said.

It’s true. Trader Joe’s’ buyers circle the globe looking for new items to stock on their shelves. Everything is sampled by a tasting panel before it is brought to market.

“We want to have great, exciting things for our customers,” Kelleher said.

The grand opening in Palm Beach Gardens took place Sept. 19 and featured a fitting lei-cutting ceremony, as the dress code for employees – called crew members and first mates – in Hawaiian shirts. The celebration continued throughout the day with food demonstrations, giveaways, live music, nibbling stations and a warm welcome.

Residents will start receiving the famous “Fearless Flyer” newsletter in the mail. The newsletter, described as a cross between Consumer Reports and Mad Magazine, tells of the store’s newest finds.

“Each edition highlights a selection of Trader Joe’s products that the company buyers believe are worthy of customer interest, from comfort foods to items that are organic or boast other special attributes,” company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said.

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