Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

    I shopped at Trader Joe’s in the Midwest and New York City. The prices were the same, but the experiences couldn’t have been more different.

    The author at Trader Joe’s in New York City.

    I visited two Trader Joe’s stores, one in Wisconsin and one in New York, to see how they compared.The prices for most items were the same at both locations.The Trader Joe’s in New York was much more crowded and featured two stories of groceries.

    Since moving from Wisconsin to New York City over 10 years ago, I’ve become a die-hard Trader Joe’s fan because of the store’s low prices and quirky items.

    During a recent visit to my Wisconsin hometown, I visited the local Trader Joe’s store to compare the prices, items, and experiences with one of the chain’s busiest locations on 72nd Street in Manhattan.

    Take a look inside both stores.

    I went to my hometown Trader Joe’s store in Milwaukee — one of just three stores in the state — on a Friday afternoon in November.
    Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    A sign outside advertised that shopping carts would be collected from the adjacent parking garage.
    Shopping carts at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    Inside the store, a welcome sign was painted onto a wall facing the entrance.
    A welcome sign at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    Another mural chronicled the opening of Trader Joe’s locations in the Midwest.
    A mural at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    The 12,000-square-foot store felt spacious, but its compact aisles were piled high with products.
    Produce at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    The flower section was decorated with butterflies and whimsical chalkboard signs.
    Flowers at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    In the produce section, hanging signs displayed prices of apples at 69 cents per pound.
    Apples at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    Seasonal signs advertised fall produce with smiley faces.
    A festive sign at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    In addition to grocery items, Trader Joe’s in Milwaukee sold housewares like baskets made from recycled paper.
    Baskets at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    The store was full of decor that paid homage to the city of Milwaukee.
    A sign at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    The artwork highlighted landmarks like the Milwaukee Art Museum.
    A mural of the Milwaukee Art Museum at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    There was also a painting of a Wisconsin license plate.
    A Wisconsin license plate at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    The beer section featured local brews like New Glarus Brewing Company based in New Glarus, Wisconsin.
    Beer at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    Trader Joe’s also sold Wisconsin sharp cheddar for $4.99 per pound.
    Wisconsin cheese at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    Lines at the checkout counters were only a few people deep and moved quickly.
    Checkout counters at Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    While shopping at Trader Joe’s in my hometown, I enjoyed the tributes to Milwaukee, the variety of local items, and the short lines.
    The author outside Trader Joe’s in Wisconsin.
    When I returned to New York City, I visited the Trader Joe’s store on 72nd Street, one of nine locations in Manhattan.
    Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Unlike the store in the Midwest, an escalator leads down to the first level of aisles.
    Escalators at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Immediately, I noticed New York City themes throughout the store, like King Kong hanging off the Empire State Building.
    A King Kong display at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    The store was packed when I visited on a Tuesday afternoon in November. I could barely move without bumping into someone, which made my shopping experience feel stressful.
    The checkout line at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    The produce section didn’t feature the same hanging signs as the Milwaukee store, but the apples cost the same at 69 cents per pound.
    A section of produce at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Both the Wisconsin and New York City stores featured gourd-related puns.
    A fall-themed sign at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    The Trader Joe’s brand of Wisconsin sharp cheddar was also sold in New York for the same price of $4.99 per pound.
    Wisconsin cheese at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Whereas the Milwaukee store was just one level, at this New York City location another escalator took shoppers deeper underground to a second level of the store.
    Shopping cart escalators at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    It was a little less crowded without the long line, though I noticed I didn’t have cell phone reception that far underground.
    The lower level of the Trader Joe’s store in New York City.
    The New York store featured a much smaller wine section than the one in Milwaukee.
    Wine at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    In the beer section, products from breweries in Brooklyn and the Bronx lined the shelves.
    Beer at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    The lower level of the store featured more New York-themed artwork, such as a mural of Central Park.
    A mural of Central Park at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Like the Wisconsin license plate in the Midwest, a New York license plate adorned the wall.
    A New York license plate painting at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    Back upstairs, a Trader Joe’s employee stood at the back of the long line with a sign indicating where to enter it.
    The checkout line at Trader Joe’s in New York City.
    From the numerous escalators to the crowded aisles, shopping at Trader Joe’s in New York City was a frenetic experience that made me long for the Midwest.
    The author leaves Trader Joe’s in New York City.

    Correction: December 25, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated the size of the Trader Joe’s location in Wisconsin that the author visited. It’s 12,000 square feet, not 12 square feet.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

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