Trader Joe's brings change to Columbia grocery scene - DatelineCarolina

Trader Joe's Brings excitement, change to Columbia grocery scene

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Janice Burton is thankful she can shop at Trader Joe's in Columbia now, instead of trekking to Charlotte. Janice Burton is thankful she can shop at Trader Joe's in Columbia now, instead of trekking to Charlotte.
Trader Joe's brand products promise to contain natural flavors without any genetically modified ingredients. Trader Joe's brand products promise to contain natural flavors without any genetically modified ingredients.

By Jenni Knight

A new store is shaking up the grocery scene in Columbia. Trader Joe's, a grocery chain with an almost cult-like following, opened up Friday on Forest Drive. 

Shoppers started lining up early Friday morning for the 8 a.m. lei cutting and grand opening. One customer said she's happy to have a Trader Joe's nearby.

"I'm very excited. I really got tired of going to Charlotte to go to Trader Joe's," said Janice Burton.

Manager Anthony Benson and his family moved from Atlanta to open up the new store. His wife, Suzanne, said she thinks Columbia will really benefit from Trader Joe's.

"I think Columbia's really ready for a store like this. I'm so happy so many people are already familiar with it," said Suzanne Benson.

Trader Joe's website promises to provide products without artificial flavors, genetically modified ingredients, MSG or added trans fats. Customers also say they're attracted to the store because it offers competitive prices for high-quality, organic food.

"I love to buy their 100 percent juices without any artificial flavors or extra sugars," said Burton. "The prices are cheaper than any other whole foods store."

Carolina News put Burton's claim to the test. A half-gallon of Trader Joe's brand skim milk and a loaf of Trader Joe's organic wheat bread are both cheaper than Whole Foods' brand of those same items. 

Trader Joe's milk was also cheaper than Publix brand milk. But, Publix brand bread was cheaper. However, their bread was not labeled "organic."

Gloria Beaver works two doors up from Trader Joe's. She's excited about the economic opportunities the store will bring to the neighborhood.

"This will provide us with an opportunity to bring our clients down here and experience the wonderful things Trader Joe's offers," said Beaver. "Their prices are phenomenally cheaper than the places I go to shop which means I get to save some extra dollars too."

Trader Joe's joins Publix, Piggly Wiggly, Kroger and Walmart on Forest Drive.

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