The new Trader Joe’s store opens at 8 a.m. Friday, but we got a sneak peek the day before it opens.
The highly anticipated new store is in the Park Crossing shopping center at Friant Road and Fresno Street, near Sportsman’s Warehouse. The store is technically a move as the Blackstone Avenue location closes Thursday evening.
The new store is about 14,500 square feet – about 4,000 square feet bigger than the Blackstone store, said Matthew Parry, the store’s “captain.” They call him that instead of manager because Trader Joe’s is sailing “the culinary seas.”
“This store is huge,” he said. “You can drive a semi down the aisle.”
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Although the store still carries the same products, they are displaying more of them. Shelves are deeper and wider.
And there’s four large island displays of wine, for example. The Charles Shaw “two buck Chuck” (which now costs $2.99) has its own display.
At the Blackstone store, traffic jams would often happen in front of the cheese and in the produce section. The new store has room for plenty of carts to get through the produce section and the cheese display is on the far side of the store.
“It just feels more spacious,” Parry said.
The new store has two more cash registers and all the registers are spaced further apart.
Murals on the walls reflect images of the Fresno area: mountains, dairy cows, orchards and Tower Theatre. (A piece of trivia: look for the Trader Joe’s coffee can on metal stilts on the mural on the southern wall. That’s a nod to the Dale Brothers, the Fresno coffee company that has a sign that looks like a coffee can on its roof on H Street downtown).
Parry says he knows some customers are disappointed that the store is leaving central Fresno.
“It was just time to find a spot where we could give a better shopping experience for our customers,” he said.
The staff is the same and the store hired a handful of extra workers to handle the bigger space.
Customers are expected to line up as early as 5 a.m. Friday for the store opening. Each will get a Hawaiian lei, a reusable shopping bag and samples of products.