Trader Joe’s opens in seven days |

Trader Joe’s opens in seven days

by Sharlene Irete
Nevada Appeal News Service

INDIAN HILLS – Where a typical grocery store jam packs soy-vitamins-granola-biodegradable paper products-fertile eggs into segregated areas, a new store here devotes its shelves to all of these products and more.

Trader Joe’s is holding its grand opening at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at Carson Valley Plaza.

Trader Joe’s has been called a gourmet and natural foods store. It features items from around the world and food products without artificial ingredients.

Store manager Sam West said the grocer can’t really be compared to regular grocery stores and “all natural” is a misconception. Private label products can be vegetarian, Kosher, organic and decadent but all have minimally processed ingredients.

“We’re value-driven where can you buy high-quality products that represent a great value to customers,” West said.

“Where else can you buy vitamins with normal mark-up like a regular grocery item? But we’re not a health food store – we have great junk food too.”

Trader Joe’s carries dried fruits and nuts, chips and salsa, cheese crunchies, peanut butter pretzels, chocolate truffles, coffees, wines, beer and some liquor.

They buy directly from suppliers whenever possible to keep costs low and pass savings on to buyers.

“We found our niche and that’s where we excelled,” he said. “We have buyers do an amazing job of finding people and those suppliers want to do business with us.”

A corner of the store is devoted to a demonstration station allowing customers to sample Trader Joe’s products.

“Sometimes we’ll put together two to three items and show customers how to create a gourmet meal in 10 minutes. Like a dinner for four for under $10.”

Michelle Palmer, former executive chef at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City and High Sierra Chef’s Association chef of the year in 2000, is a Trader Joe’s customer turned demonstration chef.

“I took the job because I believe in the products they sell,” Palmer said. “There’s no MSG in anything in the store, which is policy. They have great products and they’re so affordable. A lot of chefs shop here, but you don’t have to be a chef to shop here.”

Keeping with Trader Joe’s Hawaiian theme, the store’s official grand opening begins with a lei-cutting ceremony a week from today at 9 a.m. The staff has special events throughout the day like food tasting, product demonstrations, giveaways, activities for children so they can help decorate the store for the holidays, face painting, clowns and dancers.

Trader Joe’s is at 3790 Highway 395 in the Clear Creek shopping center and will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For information, call 267-2513 or go to

Trader Joe’s favorites

• Charles Shaw wines – $1.99

Lovingly nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck,” these California wines combine low price and great taste. Contrary to urban legend, these super-value wines began as the result of an oversupply of wine and a great relationship with a valued supplier.

• Trader Giotto’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – $5.99/one-liter bottle

This is premium olive oil, cold-pressed from olives grown in some of Europe’s finest olive groves. It has a delicate flavor that makes it ideal for salad dressings and drizzling over grilled vegetables.

• Trader Joe’s “Pound Plus” Chocolate Bars From Belgium – $3.49/17.6 ounces

The bars are made from top-quality imported Belgian chocolate. Trader Joe’s has heard from their customers that nothing but Pound Plus Bars will do when the chocolate craving strikes.

• Trader Joe’s Italian Pastas – 69 cents/pound

All 69-cent Italian semolina pasta is available in spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, penne, capellini and fusilli.

• Trader Joe’s Complete Caesar Salad Kit – $3.59/13 ounces

Makes salad preparation quick and easy with fresh, pre-washed greens. The lettuce in the outer bag and all of the other salad fixings in individual packets inside will serve three generously.

• Trader Joe’s Dark French Roast Coffee – $4.99/13 ounces and $8.99/26 ounces

The coffee is a blend of beans selected from the mountain soils of Central American rain forests.