I grew up in a small Idaho town; population 2,000. My family moved there in 1976. After a few dubious experiences with local dentists and doctors, my mom decided it made more sense to drive to the closest big city a few times a year.
To get to Boise, we kids would endure a 2 hour car drive (one way) down a winding canyon road with freqent construction and bad weather. And we got carsick. Yuck. But once we hit the capital…boy! Not only did we get our eyes examined and our teeth cleaned, we got to go to McDonald’s (at first) and then, as our tastebuds matured, The Olive Garden.
We visited bookstores. We shopped at Fred Meyers for items in cases and cans. We bought hunting equipment for my dad and it was always a special treat for my mom to go to the quilt store.
When you live in a tiny remote town, that used to be what you did. I imagine the Internet has made much of what we used to do irrelevant, but some in-person shopping will always be necessary.
This week, a Trader Joe’s will open in Spokane The city has been anticipating the California chain’s arrival for some years now and even created a Facebook page to convince company executives to build here.
Here’s a comment from the story in our local newspaper, The Spokane Spokesman-Review:
Some scoffed when we suggested in a note to readers last month that fans of the California-based chain were trekking to [Seattle] and beyond to stock up on their favorite Trader Joe’s staples. But more than two dozen sent notes with the details of their cross-state runs, the extra bags they stow on trips to see family in a Trader Joe’s ZIP code and the other shenanigans the beloved store has inspired.
I don’t get it: Who doesn’t believe people do this? Doesn’t everybody make a special trip to their favorite store when they go on vacation? I have friends that always visit IKEA in Seattle or Edmonton when they leave Spokane. Powell’s (independent) City of Books in Portland is another huge destination for the Spokane community.
I haven’t been to Trader Joe’s, but a few friends always bring me special treats from their store: Swedish salty licorice fish, for example.
Some TJ fans quoted in the article above mentioned receiving personal, quirky, hand-written notes from TJ staff and management. Others like their newsletter. Trader Joe’s started in 1958 in the Los Angeles area and has grown to more than 360 stores in 31 states.
What do you think? Are you a fan of Trader Joe’s? What is the one store you just have to go to when you get the chance?