Yesterday, Trader Joe’s Bridgemarket opened with packed crowds, later than many hoped, but well worth the wait. Its immediate impact brought new life to the intersection at 59th Street and 1st Avenue.
By David Stone
When Trader Joe’s Bridgemarket Opened, Shoppers Were Waiting
At first glance, the new shopping experience surprised because traffic was light at the entrance. We’d come ready for a line. But first impressions are not always right, as we soon discovered. Reality, in fact, was beautiful.
Visually, the store was even more attractive than the architectural renderings projected. The legendary vaulted tile ceilings, perfectly accented by lighting, were never more graceful. Over a century old, they played like historic artwork seen for the first time lit to perfection.
The Bridgemarket opened with shelves fully stocked with fresh produce, an abundance of frozen, ready to microwave meals and TJ branded commodities. By late afternoon, most baked goods had been wiped out. And my wife snagged the last of two bags of fresh frozen shrimp, a high demand item in our house.
But in spite of huge, opening day crowds and goods rolling in high volume out the doors, Trader Joe’s hallmark efficiency stood out. Maneuvering through aisles that kept shoppers shoulder to shoulder – sometimes, shoulder against shoulder – well-trained staff restocked emptying shelves. As seasoned TJ’s shoppers expect, the staff was friendly, helpful and courteous in what could easily have been stressful conditions.
Where the shopping carts meet the road…
The most astonishing thing about shopping at Trader Joe’s is how well they handle heavy traffic. I’ve been in lines that wrap around a store, all the way back to the produce-filled entrance. But amazingly, I’ve never waited long before moving up to a cashier.
Line management is a key to TJ’s successful shopping experience, and the most critical element is plenty of efficient, friendlier than anywhere else cashiers. Bridgemarket opened with a well prepared staff and a plan flowing smoothly with them.
I won’t rave about the products and prices we love. That’s Trader Joe’s job. But I’ll admit I was hesitant about going there on opening day at a passionately anticipated store. Not to worry, though. TJ’s was ready. The experience was pure Trader Joe’s but surprising in how well they blended an attractive historical setting with a very modern commitment to healthy foods and shopping as smooth and seamless as it gets.
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