Mark your calendars Trader Joe’s fans, the grocer plans to open its first location in San Antonio at 8 a.m. Oct. 19. And one fan already has planned to camp out to ensure he’s the first in line.
Chuck Hernandez, who is the owner of an organic catering service in San Antonio called Arugula Catering, said that he became familiar with Trader Joe’s while studying in California. He said that a tight-knit community exists among people who are familiar with the grocer.
“These are my people at Trader Joe’s. It’s what I grew up with. If you see people with a Trader Joe’s tote, you’re going to stop and talk to them. It’s a strong community of people.”
And when the store opens, Hernandez already has plans to be the first one there.
“I’m going to be the first in line with the first dollar,” he said. “I’m camping out.”
The 11,000-square-foot store will be located at the former West Elm furniture store at the Quarry Village and construction is expected to start sometime this month, said Alison Mochizuki, spokeswoman for the California-based grocery chain.
The San Antonio opening is part of the company’s aggressive expansion into Texas. Trader Joe’s signed the lease for the store at the Quarry Village in March. Other locations the grocer has announced for the Lone Star state are in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Plano and The Woodlands, according to the company’s website.
“Trader Joe’s is very excited to open a new location in San Antonio. It’s a wonderful community filled with foodies,” Mochizuki said.
The locations at The Woodlands and Fort Worth are slated to open Friday, according to the company’s website. The Austin location, which was the most recent store announced, is set to open in 2014.
Hiring for general staff at the San Antonio store is anticipated to start sometime closer to September. How many people the grocer is looking to hire hasn’t been released, but already Trader Joe’s is accepting applications for management positions for the San Antonio store.
Trader Joe’s got its start in 1958 and has more than 360 stores in 32 states. The chain is known for its specialty foods, private labels and quirky atmosphere, which includes employees who wear brightly colored Hawaiian shirts.
It has amassed a cult following, especially in areas where it’s absent. A Facebook group page called San Antonio Needs a Trader Joe’s has more than 620 members.
When it was reported that the grocer had plans for a store in the Alamo City several expressed pleasure about the news.
Some posted, “Yippee!” and “Hallelujah!” Others claimed to do the happy dance.