The downtown Trader Joe’s is now open for business. Part of the huge Seaholm Power Plant development project, this new grocery store sits directly behind the old power plant building. There are some metering parking spaces just outside the main entrance on Third Street, and additional paid parking is available in an underground garage.
I walked over to the store on Friday, its official opening day. (I think the store had a “soft” opening a few days earlier.) Three or maybe four enthusiastic greeters welcomed me and draped a colorful plastic lieu over my shoulders. The beat of steel drums resonated throughout the store as I looked around and sampled fruit, crackers, and juices.
The new store felt spacious, although I’ve read that this 11,500 square-foot space is actually smaller than their other two Austin locations. The layout is similar to the other stores: flowers and produce inside the front entrance, checkout on the other side, fridges along the back wall, and freezers and shelves in the middle.
This new Trader Joe’s is decorated with large murals depicting our city’s landmarks and the Central Texas countryside. Customers can also take a selfie with laid-back local Matthew McConaughey.
With a limited selection and no eat-in cafe, this Trader Joe’s won’t be replacing the flagship Whole Foods on Lamar as a “destination” grocery store. I think that folks living or working nearby will be mostly likely to shop here. Who would want to fight traffic when there are two suburban TJ’s locations? But it’s nice to have another downtown option now for groceries.
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