Move Over 22nd Street, There’s a New Trader Joe’s In Town

If you’ve ever been to Trader Joe’s at 22nd and Market, you know that the experience involves tripping over other customers, frequent shortages, and on most weekends, a check-out line that wraps all the way to the produce section. Luckily, Trader Joe’s responded with a new location at 13th and Arch.

As a Trader Joe’s enthusiast, I couldn’t wait to visit the new location, which opened in October. Here’s how it compares to the old one on 22nd Street.

Comparable Location

Distance-wise, this Trader Joe’s is a bit farther from campus. If you Uber, the new Trader Joe’s is 15 to 20 minutes away, compared to 10 to 15 minutes for the old one. On public transit, the two locations are about the same, since the Market-Frankford Line to 13th Street is approximately as fast as the trolley to 22nd Street. 

While old Trader Joe’s is a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square, the new Trader Joe’s is close to City Hall. Personally, I prefer the new location since I can combine a Trader’s Joe run with a stop in Reading Terminal Market.

Roomier Aisles

One of the toughest parts of city grocery shopping is the hoards of people trying to find everything they need. Regardless of the time of day, shoppers share the store with dozens of other patrons. Luckily, better lol Trader Joe’s has extremely wide aisles–I would guess double the width of the old ones. When I visited the store, these wide aisles meant that three or four people could pass each other. I no longer felt guilty when I stopped for more than three seconds. It’s the little things.

Speedy Checkout

As opposed to old Trader Joe’s, this location provides a much quicker checkout. For one, the line is shorter, probably because it’s a new location and people haven’t yet discovered it. Second, although old Trader Joe’s has lots of cash registers, the new location somehow has even more. No more lines wrapping around the store.

Bigger Selection

From my quick glance around the store, this Trader Joe’s had a larger selection of products than the old one. The store store is bigger, so there are more hidden gems to be discovered, namely some mystery desserts in the bakery section. If you’re looking to discover the newest and most obscure brainchildren of the Trader Joe’s gods, this is the location for you. Matcha mints, anyone?

More Spread Out

To me, the biggest downside of this location was that the store is more spread out.  This made finding products I need a bit of a hassle. While produce was at the front-left, dairy was on the right wall, and bread was just before checkout. To get the bare essentials, I had to walk around the entire store. 

Customer Service

22nd Street Trader Joe’s makes up for its lackluster selection and crowds with generally good customer service. This Trader Joe’s, while the staff was still friendly, was noticeably worse on customer service. However, they may close the gap over time as the staff becomes more experienced. Regardless, the customer service is still better than average; Trader Joe’s is no FroGro.

The Verdict

The new Trader Joe’s is still nowhere on the level of its suburban cousins, but it is significantly roomier, less crowded, and stocked better than the one on 22nd Street. If you haven’t yet been, give it a try.

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