Trader Joe’s Gives Vague Opening Window as Build-Out Looks Nearly Complete

Last we heard, the new Trader Joe’s on Columbus between 92nd and 93rd Street was supposed to open in February. But with February nearly half-over, the company still hasn’t released an opening date.

Lately, there’s been more progress on the site, including a more complete build-out of the delivery area. But the actual opening date has remained a mystery. So we asked the company when will this thing ever open?!

“At this time we do not have a confirmed opening date, but we are hoping to open sometime in the first quarter,” wrote a Trader Joe’s rep. The good news is that means it should be here within the next six to seven weeks. The bad news is that word “hoping.”

The store is expected to be 20,000 square feet, the representative said.

Reporting by Noah Phillips. Photo by Victor Nicolescu.

NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 71 comments | permalink
    1. Alan Johnson says:

      Does anyone know if they will sell wine?

      • Bill says:

        Articles I have read in the past have stated that NYC law allows just one location to sell wine/spirits … and that location has been at the Union Square branch since it opened.

      • Minx says:

        I would like to hope they do, but I believe liquor licensing laws in the city prevent multiple branches/locations of liquor stores (correct me if Im wrong), so I think its unlikely.

      • MelTer says:

        No. They can only sell alcohol in one store in NY and since the Union Square store was the first, it is the only. I asked a long time ago when they built the one near me on W. 72nd.

      • CR says:

        Their website says that the store will sell beer, wines and spirits!

    2. Marcia says:

      Workers are absent from the job and thosevthere stand around smoking and texting.

    3. uwsmom says:

      What’s the square footage of the one at 72nd st? Will this be one level or 2 levels as well?

    4. Christine E says:

      Two weeks ago, an employee at the 72nd TJ told the Columbus Ave opening would be sometime in March. Fingers crossed!

    5. Sean says:

      Will I have to wait in a line?

      • Woody says:

        Yes, with a lot of the yentas who complain about the Fairway lines as soon as they walk in the store. The express lines are maybe 10-15 feet longer since WSM closed – is that really that big a deal with 10-12 cashiers? Then they plant someone as a placeholder on the checkout line because they’re more important than others who first shop then get on line. I can’t stand these creeps as well those who blatantly get on one line while their spouse, friend, or kid gets on another line to see who gets there first. If you’re going to be a dick, don’t announce it.

        • Winifred says:

          Or one partner stands in line as the other shops, but most ask the person behind them to hold their place as they pursue the one item they forgot. Like everything in New York it’s a love/hate thing depending if you are the observer or the actor. But TJs is great, why there is a line to begin with.

    6. Elizabeth M says:

      I live in that building and the taj mahal was built faster. It is ridiculous that it should take this long. Theses guys don’t know what they’re doing or something else is going on.

    7. UWS Resident says:

      I heard over the weekend it would open in April and that it is one level.

    8. Queen of the UWS says:

      Ugh, I’m hopeful this will open soon. I cannot deal with the throngs at the 72nd street Trader Joe’s any longer, nor with Whole Foods’ prices, nor with the filth of D’Agostino’s on 91st and Columbus (can someone explain to me how this supermarket stays in business?).

      • Gimme a (price) Break! says:

        Exactly what are you buying @WFM? They have the best prices in the neighborhood by far, if you know what you’re doing.

        Complain about the filth of D’Ags, but not the prices? D’Ags has the prices of Duane Reade with the hygiene of Barzini’s.

        D’Ags is literally 2x the price of my 10 staple items at WFM. And they never have items on sale any more since they got bailed out by Catsimitidis (Gristedes).

        • KittyHohllenbach says:

          Can you provide more detail on the hygiene of Barzini’s? I’ve been there in the past but haven’t noticed….

        • UWSHebrew says:

          Barzini’s is disgusting. I don’t understand the people who defend it and praise it. Their food rots (especially the cheeses and prepared foods), within 24 hours of purchase.

          • Winifred says:

            I once found bugs in crackers, located on the bottom shelf. The owners look at me like I am the bug when I returned the item. They are not cultured to “customer is first.” Stick with the high turnover items (fresh fruit and veggies), check expiration dates. They have great discounts on items approaching the expiration date. Overall very pricey on most packaged goods. I.e. oj for $2.99 at TJs is $5.00 or more at Barzinis.

        • Queen of the UWS says:

          If you only buy eggs and produce at Whole Foods it’s fine. But add organic meat or fish into the mix and it gets expensive. True of any supermarket although TJs has some really reasonably priced organic meats.

      • Sue says:

        So funny that you said this – Just today I went to a D’Agostino’s today for the first time in ages!

        (86th and Broadway)

        They didn’t have what I was looking for – so I left – wondering how a store that filthy can stay in business.

        • B.W. says:

          That’s interesting, because there is no D’Agostino’s at 86th and Broadway. Not even close. There is one at 91st and Columbus, but you would be hard-pressed to convince me that one could easily confuse the two locations.

      • Casey says:

        Not to mention the surly checkers who could care less about service!!

      • Bob says:

        They get a ton of business from the school right next door.

      • Ground Control says:

        Since Amazon bought Whole Foods the prices have dropped dramatically. It looks likely that they wish to take on Trader Joe’s. Let’s not forget our small family owned grocery stores that are part of our community for years.

      • I know how to shop at Whole Foods says:

        Ummm, clearly you do not know how to shop at Whole Foods. I have spent hours price comparing (why my husband refuses to grocery shop with me, haha!) and WF has some of the best prices in town. You just need to know what to buy there and what NOT to buy. The 365 brand is awesome and so affordable.

      • Nonny says:

        They were suppose to close and a Keyfood was suppose open there. I guess they found away to stay open.

    9. Eve Adams says:

      Will they accept Apple Pay?

    10. Eln says:

      There will be lines at the new location too. I live between 72 & 92 location. So, when I do errands downtown, I will go to 72 & uptown at 92. 🙂

    11. eric says:

      hooray looking forward to it. will be worth it i’m sure

    12. carol mills says:

      It will open eventually at least we have something to look forward to.

    13. 92nd Street says:

      HOORAY!

      A solid Grocery for the UWS

      So long Dag Dag Dag

    14. kc says:

      Will that Wegmans in Brooklyn ever open? Why do these grocery stores take so long?

    15. Sonia Garcia says:

      Looking forward to its opening whenever it is. My comments are not based on fact but rather as an observer and shopper on the UWS. No one should think that this Trader Joe’s is going to be any different from 72nd Street. I believe there will long lines and many shoppers. It’s just that kind of great store. Based on what I see at that 93 Street site, there probably won’t sell wine. I believe in NYS wine selling would have to be in an adjacent store (like Whole Foods) and Costco’s liquor store. Seems like the adjacent store will be or is occupied by another vendor.

      • Winifred says:

        There’ve been long lines at every TJs in NYC: 14th St, 6th Ave, 72nd St, Court St (Brooklyn) and expected at 93rd. Long lines mean high turnover of food, a good thing. I began my TJ adventure when 14th St first opened and I suggested they open up one on the UWS. Now we will have 2 on the UWS!! I am sure TJs expansion was not my letter, but rather the good food, good prices, and friendly staff. It’s similar to JetBlues entry versus the older consolidated airlines.

    16. robert says:

      This should tell you something about the longevity and prognoses for the company remaining in biz. There is no reason why this build out of the store should have taken this long. Makes one wonder how they really run their finances. Their contracted builder has blown way past the projected opening date last year.

      • Woody says:

        You try to come off like an expert. I’d love to know how you came to this assessment of Trader Joe’s long-term viability without any facts. You base this on the build-out timeframe of this single location?

      • Christine E says:

        From my few/brief discussions with TJ staff @ 72, they had many construction problems at the Columbus Ave site. The selected contractor lacked grocery store experience (odd since TJs has already built out a few stores in NYC, so why not just use the same companies). They also had to raise the floor to street level (it used to be a sub half level, inexplicably) so that people could roll in/out with their strollers, walkers, carts, feet. And other problems I am sure.

    17. John Elari says:

      Let’s just hope that some shopping at W.72 will now shop uptown so there’ll be fewer downtown. I read somewhere that W 72 is the busiest in the entire chain of close to 500. I believe it.

    18. wombatnyc says:

      TJ’s needs to up their customer service game . I find the folks working at 72nd street have lost their friendliness to the point I feel like I’m bothering them when I need assistance . They will practically run you over when they are trying to move product around the store as well. Hopefully the new store will be a fresh start

    19. Marcia says:

      D’Agostino’s and Gristedes both price gouge and are floundering. Gristedes Mia treats their employees refusing to hire anyone even part time to avoid having to pay genifits!! The staff are really nice and deserve better. At D’Agostino’s the staff are transferred around like crazy to other stores. Prices are insulting. They wanted $7.99 for a bag of cut fresh string beans around Christmas. Mani’s On 94th was selling same brand 2 for $5. I don’t think the 91st Columbus ave store will be around very long after Trader Joe’s opens.

    20. TJs shopper says:

      An employee told me it’s a problem with the freight elevator and the landlord delaying repairs on it.

    21. BillyNYC says:

      We need a Trader Joe’s “Satellite“ at Broadway at 80th St.

    22. ST says:

      72nd Street store told me April. And agree, construction workers at Columbus Ave build out are all standing around outside most of the time. One told me there are “issues.” I’d say.

      • Woody says:

        Who at the 72nd St store told you it would open in April…the guy restocking yams or someone from the cheese department? I would take their information to the bank.

    23. Adam Smith says:

      Local corruption. TJ opens stores all across the country, quickly. They are not happy about paying Manhattan rent on 20,000 ft, and not getting any revenue.
      Is there no local politician who wants to take credit for cutting through the thicket of regs, or is ongoing bribery just too damned lucrative?
      And that other thing – no wine? What possible benefit could there be in the one location rule? I get it, it’s a state law. And the law can’t possibly be changed, because the legislature only meets in alternate years for a 90-day session. No, wait, that’s Nebraska. We have a legislature that is full time, and could fix this anytime. But they are WAY too busy, working on designing new packaging for Tide pods.
      We deserve our God-damned government.

      • eric says:

        re the wine “one location” rule, my wine class instructor (an industry figure) a couple of years ago said it was meant to product the mom ‘n pop wine stores from big chains. that was the “benefit” to us consumers

      • David says:

        Omg if you want wine, go to a liquor store. If everyone’s beef is that booze can be sold at only one location, rent a car and go shopping elsewhere, or move out of the city. If you Cry babies expect one-stop shopping, ask your mommy to bring you everything. Jeez, enough already.

    24. jane pressman says:

      I do most my shopping at Mani’s Columbus 94th. Great prices & Mani is the best! (first time i shopped there got to register and didn’t have my wallet. Was going to leave – Mani happened to be there and said ‘just drop off the money later’) Really feels like/ is a neighborhood gem.

      i’m hoping that TJ doesn’t take shoppers away from Mani, or, more likely, drive them to it!

      I’m not a fan of TJ – can’t STAND the lines) 🙂

    25. Lyri Clark says:

      Hope it opens very soon.So the hoards can leave here… TJ invaded my neighborhood on 72nd and we’ve never been the same. I would much rather have a regular supermarket (wow look at wonderful Publix)..Why can’t NYC have that? TJ has brought dirt, crowds, pretend homeless teens with dogs (hey it’s a job of sorts) etc. Don’t like their food and produce can be moldy etc. The line is ridiculous. I stay away.

    26. Robert says:

      Did I hear that a prior version of this story quoted a Trader Joe’s spokesman categorically denying any correlation between their 6-week delayed opening and Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow?

    27. ursus arctos says:

      “The efforts to curtail interstate shipping, many retailers believe, are a result of heavy lobbying by wine and spirits wholesalers, supported by generous campaign contributions to state legislators and other elected officials. In New York State, for example, wholesalers have given $2.7 million to candidates for office, compared with $678,000 donated by retailers, according to the Nation Institute on Money in State Politics.”

      From https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/dining/drinks/interstate-wine-sales-shipping-laws.html

    28. Ronald Solomon says:

      But will there be wine?

    29. Mark Moore says:

      There’s been a lot of activity there the last few weeks. Lots of construction noises including on weekends with the lights on late at night. Word in my building is March so we’ll see.

    30. bob says:

      As I understand it, it will open in April. As can be expected in NYC, there have been issues with the building infrastructure and permits (e.g. elevators), so its been delayed. But, I expect it to be as crowded as the 72nd street location when it does open.

    31. Jake Rabinowitz says:

      It’s my understanding that a large part of the delay is due to the fact that they had to raise the entire floor a few inches to accommodate some type of code or accessibility for deliveries.

      As for the size of the store, this location will be 20,000 square feet vs. the 72nd Street location, which is about 12,500 sq. feet (I believe)… so maybe just as populated, but hopefully less crowded.

    32. MaxGTV says:

      Wish they would hurry up and put Dag out of business : ) Sorry not sorry

    33. ES says:

      Can they open stand alone liquor store right beside it?

    34. J says:

      Another TJ store – the suburbanization of the UWS is complete.

    35. Momof4 says:

      Several employees at 72nd told me looks like April/May. The reason is the murals are all hand drawn and that takes time. We can do without the murals is that’s the reason!