First Impressions: Trader Joe’s

The Trader Joe’s Soho store (on Spring Street just west of Sixth Ave., so it’s technically in Hudson Square) opened this morning at 8 a.m., and if you go in the next few hours, you’ll get the rare opportunity to experience a Trader Joe’s Manhattan store without crowds. Also, you’ll get to hear a Caribbean band playing at the entrance and a free plastic lei placed over your head.

I’m not a Trader Joe’s expert—or even a fan, to be honest—so I can’t really say how it compares to the company’s other stores around here. My first thought was that it’s big, but I think it’s airy more than anything else; the aisles are generally wide (but of course they’ll seem tighter when the customers pour in). And in Trader Joe’s style, while some sections are clearly delineated, other items seem randomly placed—oatmeal raisin cookies on a shelf above frozen salmon, for instance. The atmosphere is bare-bones, with many of the products—or maybe most of them—Trader Joe’s proprietary brands. And the staff is as chipper as can be. It’s open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Trader Joe’s is at 233 Spring (between Sixth Ave. and Varick); 212-691-2721;

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  1. Looks good…And glad to see that sign about the donation policy.

  2. I, for one, am thrilled. I never have to go to Whole Foods again.

  3. TJs and his two-buck chuck got me through college, and their cheap and relatively healthy frozen meals got me through law school, so I’ll always have some brand loyalty. Maybe the aisles are as big as the ones in the suburbs, but I’ve shopped at many TJ’s and never seen aisles that big! So much open space. Assuming it’s as packed as some of the other ones, that’ll be really helpful.

    However, I’m wondering just what the foot traffic will be there. There’s not actually all that much residential property right near it, and I can’t see someone closer to Christopher Street trekking all the way down, nor someone south of Laight or so trekking up. And I feel like Sixth Avenue somehow makes it *feel* far from Soho. OTOH, I imagine their takeaway prepared meals will be a big hit for the lunch crowds in the office buildings nearby.

  4. It was glorious! Except they’re not going to serve coffee in this one. :(

  5. I’m in Northern Tribeca. This is the first time since I moved here in 1974 that there has been a sizable grocery store less then ten minutes away. Hallelujah!

  6. How does delivery work?

  7. Definitely a great addition.

  8. This is so exciting!

  9. How I wish we could swap Target and TJ. My little feet would tire from walking to Spring instead of Murray. And who needs discount detergent and basement shopping for candy when there is Amazon.

  10. Cookie butter and pretzels on opening day? Come on, demo team!

  11. Actually, it ISin SoHo.

    We who live north of Canal generally call the area to the west of the SoHo Historic district “SoHo” or “West SoHo”

    Only Trinity is pushing for Hudson Square, a marketing name they concocted in the 1990s.

    In truth, Hudson Square is in Tribeca, or used to be. it was a park in the 19th century where the Holland Tunnel Exit is now.
    Trinity Realty misappropriated the name.

    Trump SoHo is on Varick, most real estate projects in that area call it SoHo, SoHo Square is across the street, and numerous businesses there place themselves in SoHo, not Trinity’s chi-chi naming.

    Don’t be SQUARE:

    • “In truth, Hudson Square is in Tribeca, or used to be. it was a park in the 19th century where the Holland Tunnel Exit is now.”

      Trinity Church developed that park in Tribeca as Hudson Square starting in 1807. By the time they sold 99-year leaseholds to the homes surrounding the park (instead of selling outright it took 20 years to sell these leaseholds), people called the park “St. John’s Park” after the episcopal church located on its eastern side. So Trinity has a 200-year history of trying to foist the Hudson Square name on neighborhoods where it owns property.