People gave us a lot of static for our enthusiasm about the entry of Trader Joe’s into our market. For years, we found ourselves making monthly treks to Gainesville or Sarasota to get our fix of habañero-lime tortillas, simmer sauces and roasted seaweed snacks. Now we have but to fight a little traffic battle on Orlando Avenue (and brave the insane competition for spots in the way-too-small parking lot) to get to our cookie butter and inexpensive dry goods. And lest you think Trader Joe’s is just another overpriced gourmet grocery store, you’d do well to stop in one day when you have some free time (we recommend Tuesday mornings before 11 a.m.). You’ll discover, just as we have, that the place is stocked with reasonably priced frozen foods, dairy products, organic goods and wine – lots and lots of wine. Seriously – Trader Joe’s is not the place to go if you’re looking for a bottle of Clorox, a six-pack of Coke or a package of Charmin, but it gives Publix a run for its money when it comes to produce, organic goods and the yummy treats that make our lives complete.
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