AMHERST, NY - Trader Joe's opened its first location in Western New York Friday morning, but today 2 On Your Side got a preview of what shoppers will see inside. Channel Two's Heather Ly got a peek at what's in store for those heading to tomorrow's grand opening.
Click for a photo gallery of the new store.
Employees spent the day Thursday stocking the last of the shelves as they prepared for the long-awaited grand opening of the store on Niagara Falls Boulevard.
"If you've never been to a Trader Joe's before, it's a little bit tropical, a little nautical and, at this particular location, plenty of nods to Western New York," said Store Captain Joe Gaytan, "like Niagara Falls and a Nik Wallenda look-alike ... in a Hawaiian shirt ... no tether."
The 12,000-square-foot store carries thousands of items, most of which are Trader Joe's brand. Each week the store introduces about a dozen brand new products.
"Anything that is under the Trader Joe's label is free from artificial colors, preservatives and flavors," said Gaytan. "You're going to find your basics that you'll find every day at another grocery retailer, and also exotics like cookie butter."
Yes, cookie butter. Think of it as peanut butter's less healthy but super-tasty cousin.
The chain's popular and inexpensive wine, known as "Two Buck Chuck," won't be on store shelves due to New York state law, but Trader Joe's will carry beer.
Management wouldn't say how many people are employed at the new store.
"What I can share is that 90 percent of the crew that we hired is from the surrounding neighborhoods," Gaytan told us.
Back in January, when the retailer announced that it would be coming to Amherst, there was some concern over whether there would be enough parking at the location. But the store has 180 parking spots which they say will accommodate their customers.
As for opening day and opening weekend, security guards and Amherst Police will be helping out with what store owners hope will be enormous crowds.