Loyal TJ Fan: I Was the First Customer at Trader Joe’s!

Trader Joe's at midnight!

Trader Joe’s at midnight!

We are already setting up our next estate sale (coming in Tarrytown soon) but in between I HAVE to share with you all my experience being the first customer at the new Trader Joe’s in Austin!

On my phone, I captured the evening of Sept. 19, the night before the Trader Joe’s grand opening in Westlake where I was the Loyal FAN waiting all night in front of the store. It was a fun adventure! Hope you enjoy.

It was close to midnight and my palms were sweaty and almost sticking to the steering wheel as I pulled into the shopping center at the new Trader Joe’s in Westlake. I had packed the car much like an overnight camping trip, bringing all my gear for me and my chihuahua, Venus.

i-vGkh3Q8-MHere’s what I brought:

  • Lawn chair
  • Cooler with fresh juice
  • Water and dog food
  • Dog bed
  • Radio, flashlight, toothbrush, etc.

I had wondered as I drove from South Austin if I would be the first in line. Okay so it’s not an IKEA grand opening! But I certainly couldn’t be the only one who has been waiting and waiting for Trader Joe’s to come to Austin. I guess I was the only one who thought it might be fun to make it an overnight adventure!

It was over a year ago when I first heard it announced that Austin would receive its own Trader Joe’s. I recall at that time,  I blurted out “I will be the first customer!”

Not even sure where that came from! Somewhere deep inside of me, I knew it was something I really wanted to do.

Although  I was the only one in line overnight, there are other die hard followers of TJ’s.

i-x7Tr9sr-MIn fact my very dear and close friend, Tiziana, started an e-petition five years ago and was interviewed in the Statesman for her efforts to make contact with the Trader Joe’s management and present a case for opening a store in Austin.

Yes to state that TJ’s has a bit of a following is probably an understatement. Her petition had over 4200 signatures the last time I looked.

As I was getting dressed, I wondered, “What does a TJ fan look like? Like me I suppose.”

Homemade TJ tattoo.

Homemade TJ tattoo.

Tonight I am wearing my Trader Joe’s T-shirt. I’ve brought my Trader Joe’s thermal insulated shopping bags and I even had a self-made tattoo for the occasion. (Sharpie tatt)

I set up camp at the front of the store and a few minutes later the assistant manager came out to introduce himself.

He asked me what my favorite products were and I told him that Venus was here for the rawhides that are wrapped with chicken breast.  This is the thing  she loves the most. Usually brought to us by a visiting friends from out of town.


A few minutes later he returned with a package of the rawhide treats and some chocolate covered espresso beans, no doubt to help me stay awake through the night.

What a pleasant surprise! Venus and I are very happy.


About 10 minutes later all of the staff came out and introduced themselves and we took a group photograph.

Many of them have relocated from the Bay Area to Austin to work here at the Trader Joe’s. They all seemed really happy and excited about the opening and about moving to Austin.

The Westlake police officer on patrol stopped by and couldn’t believe I was really waiting in line for the store to open in the morning. I replied to his question, “Eight hours is nothing! I’ve been waiting 8 years.” He said, “Very well,” and he would be back to check on me throughout his shift.

The shopping center sits up on a hill off Bee Cave Road and there’s a nice breeze, which is rare during a hot September in Austin. Venus is on my lap and has already devoured one chicken breast raw hide and is very content.

Now I am getting sleepy, I put Venus in her crate and break out my sleeping bag. I am the lone FAN that night until early the next morning when the GRAND OPENING starts to happen.

Me, Venus, and the Trader Joe's staff.

Me, Venus, and the Trader Joe’s staff.


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