Trader Joe’s Shortens Hours As Stores Deal With Enormous Crowds

Photo by Keith.

Trader Joe’s has been inundated with crowds in the past week as people stock up for an extended home stay amid the coronavirus. And now the store is shortening hours of operation.

Both the 72nd and 93rd Street locations will now open at 9 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Usually the hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The sample section has also closed down due to concerns about spreading the virus.

The entire company is restricting hours to “support our Crew Members in taking care of one another and our customers.”

Here’s a recent line at the Columbus store, via Danny.

People have been waiting outside the stores even before they open in recent days.

Pro tip: Many bodegas and other supermarkets have similar supplies as Trader Joe’s and could use the sales!

Thanks to Sarah for the tip.

FOOD, NEWS | 37 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      I was there at 9:30 am and the line went down the block, and around the corner. I left. I saw the actress Elle Fanning waiting, nobody seemed to recognize her.

    2. Darwin says:

      Seriously, go to your local grocer. They have food & supplies.

    3. ben says:

      panic buying leads to more panic buying… what a pointless and vicious cycle

    4. The Don says:

      Mani Market had lots of things and you support local.

    5. lynn says:

      The line was still down the block at TJ’s when I came home today. I haven’t seen any delivery trucks so I wonder how much food they could possibly have stored away. The shelves at Walgreens are devoid of TP, cleaning supplies, OTC meds, yet Joseph’s is managing to keep their shelves stocked with necessities.

      OT, but does anyone know why there are several police cars and heavily armed (looks like SWAT) guards at the Museum of Natural History today?

    6. Zanarkand says:

      I just walked past Trader Joe’s on 93rd and the line was almost wrapped around the block…Do people know there are TWO other grocery stores within 2 blocks of it in either direction? It’s borderline asinine. You are waiting in line 2ft at most apart for probably an hour then you are gonna go into a cramped store and wait in line again close to one another for another 20-30 mins. For what? To save a few bucks? Your medical bill will be way more if you get sick…there’s no line o crowds at the other LOCAL supermarkets.

      • LiveOnUWS says:

        Trader Joes is cheaper by 2 to 5 times than ALL the other grocery stores in the neighborhood. That is probably one of the main reasons for the lines: Quality food, much better bang for the buck.

        • EdNY says:

          Can someone explain what 2 to 5 times cheaper means? I was a math major and it doesn’t make sense to me!

          • cma says:

            Box of Heritage Flakes cereal at TJs is 2.99. Same box at Natural Foods is 5.49. Also more $ (3.99+?)at Whole Fds. However, In reverse, Mani charging 5.99 or 5.49 for Oatly, and at NatFoods is 4.99.

      • Cato says:

        They’re waiting on line at Trader Joe’s because, because, because, well, because everyone *else* shops at Trader Joe’s.

        I like TJ’s too, but come on folks. Your friends will forgive you just this once if you buy your supplies somewhere else.

        “But the Emperor has nothing at all on!” said a little child.

    7. Natali says:

      How will less hours help with the long lines? More people will show up at the same time if there’s less time. Someone on the WSR fb page said that it could just be to give the staff more time to re-stock which I guess makes sense but does anyone have any other ideas?

      • UWSHebrew says:

        some customers are verbally abusing TJ employees. they probably cut hours so they can recover, rest, and come back to work with full strength.

    8. Young Sally says:

      The photo reminds me of an experience at Ole & Steen last week — woman walked in and walked out about 20 seconds later loudly grumbling that “No samples until further notice!”

    9. Ellen Massey says:

      I mostly abandoned the service-oriented, and well-priced Mani Market on Columbus and 94th St. when Trader Joe’s opened down the block almost 2 years ago. Recently, as the lines at Trader Joe’s have extended around the corner, I went back to Mani Market, feeling embarrassed and even guilty. I have come full circle, and Mani is where I will mostly stay.

      • West 90th Street Jeff says:

        Ellen, you are spot on. Mani Market has somehow managed to keep their head above water, and due to the current situation, customers are rediscovering how well stocked and friendly their employees are. As an added bonus, their prices are extremely reasonable – always have been. If you live closer to 90th street, D’Agostino has also recently become a go-to market to find all those items that you’re afraid you’ll run out of. Just go easy on the eggs, please. Yesterday, the egg section looked like the biblical locusts had descended upon them.

    10. Juan says:

      Perhaps Trader Joe’s can manage the increased demand by hiring more employees. I’m sure there are plenty of people who have lost their jobs in the last week who would be happy to work there and make some money.

      Though the flip side of it is – is part of the reason for these long lines Trader Joe’s limiting the number of people in the store more than usual so that people aren’t on top of each other? Or is it the usual crowds?

      • Angela says:

        Yes. I was there today and they let people in groups of 10 in at a time I think to keep the total number in store lower. Maybe only 100 or so people in the store. Otherwise it’s usually jam packed. I got there at 10:30a and waited on line at most 15 minutes. Just picked up a few items I cannot get anywhere else really.

    11. Dawn Moore says:

      This is why the founders built a republic instead of a democracy…the horde mentality where the majority thinks it knows best…we are sheep.

    12. Lauren says:

      I was there at around 11:00am today, and it was very calm and uncrowded (not empty, but nothing compared to what it was). Everyone who walks in is getting a squirt of hand sanitizer, and the shopping cards appeared to all be getting a thorough wipe-down as soon as they are returned. The store was very well-stocked. I spoke to an employee who said that, while shopping hours are reduced, none of their hours have been cut, which is great news.

    13. BJK says:

      They are shortening the lines because more people want to get in? Shouldn’t they be extending hours since they have supply? Shortening the hours seems to be a disservice to the community.

    14. Matt says:

      If anyone who works at Trader Joe’s is reading this, we appreciate all your hard work!!

    15. Mike says:

      I wish the WSR would stop already with the TJ stories and pictures of lines around the block. We were out of town last week and those stories left us with the impression that NYC was a wasteland for groceries and rationing would start soon. Obviously that is far from the case. How about sharing some stories and pictures that are more balanced towards what is actually happening beyond the doors of TJs? Instead of burying a pro tip in yet another “look at the lines TJs” piece, how about actually highlighting the stores that are well stocked? This is ridiculous.

    16. Lyriclark says:

      Trader Jo is the worst absolute worst thing to happen to my neighborhood. The crowds, the dirty streets, the “homeless” kids hanging out. Lines around the block for what? The fruit is moldy, the baked goods are awful, there is nothing appealing to buy. I refuse to wait on chaotic lines for inedible food. From the beginning we wanted them gone. Why can’t we get a decent market here? Westside Market is sorely missed. So it’s back to Zabars etc.

      • jhminnyc says:

        My, my, my, your description of Trader Joe’s is full of vitriol and hyperbole and a far cry from my own experience with this great store chain.

        • Lyriclark says:

          You probably haven’t experienced the T.J. at 72nd/Bway. Not vitriol just truthful. An awful experience all around. Truth is important.

      • Shirley Z says:

        Agree 100+%

    17. Jill says:

      TJs at 72nd, Even limiting the number of shoppers inside I have often looked at it as a potential death trap. Especially if you’re on the lower level … how on earth would you ever get out in a panic situation

    18. I took a long walk up to my 93rd & Amsterdam 99cent store last night, then down to Westerly Natural Market on 54th & Broadway last night for the exercise and stress release (gym closed) and saw that Key Food on Amsterdam & 86th was closed with a sign saying: “Closed early; Received no food delivery today”. It’s eerie how quiet it is out there; even the guy who usually screams at the traffic on 79th & Broadway was doing more pacing than screaming. And Westerly was closing early last night as well.

      It’s hard to imagine all the damage quietly taking place all around me while at the same time my net worth has dropped with the speed of a safe hurtling out of a window… I’m stunned but I’m guessing that despondency will probably be the next stop on this emotional whirling carousel ride we’re on.

      The only real question remains, what’s next?

      Will hundreds of victims start to drop all around us, or will this whole thing just fade away like a desert mirage as evening falls?

    19. woodcider says:

      I was wondering why there wasn’t a line at the Dagostino‘s across the block from the 93rd St. Trader Joe’s. Then I went inside and saw that their Fantastik had a 114% markup over Target. That’s why they still had bottles on the shelf.
      This illustrates that this is less panic buying than strategic acquisition.

    20. Ellen Schreiber says:

      The great TJ should be extending hours not shortening them: making a time slot for seniors to shop and hiring more people so staff is not overburdened. They are making a killing right now because people see long lines and think there is some food emergency–there isn’t.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        seniors should not be shopping. their family members, friends under 60 and and neighbors under 60 should shop for them. they are most at risk for getting coronavirus and dying.

    21. Ann Jauregui says:

      Why isn’t TJ instituting senior shopping hours like Safeway & Albertson’s??