There are devoted Trader Joe’s fans, such as the ones who camped out overnight after seeing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” so they could be first in the doors of the Leawood store at 8 a.m. Friday.
Then there are really devoted fans, such as an Olathe woman who was able to delay the birth of her child so she could make the opening.
It’s been a long wait for Trader Joe’s fans who flocked Friday to the two new stores at Ward Parkway Center, 8600 Ward Parkway, and One Nineteen, 4201 W. 119th St. in Leawood.
About 100 shoppers waited for the doors to open at Ward Parkway, and about 300 early birds perched in Leawood. Parking was tight but available most of the day both places.
Katie Hendrickson of Brookside was the first in line at 3:30 a.m. at the Ward Parkway Center store. She brought her iPad, watched a little bit of a movie and talked to security personnel before other shoppers joined her about 4 a.m.
“I’m a little bit competitive,” Hendrickson said.
As customers entered the stores, they were greeted by cheering employees who gave them high-fives and draped plastic leis over their shoulders. Some customers handed strangers their cameras and posed in the perishables aisle as if they were visiting the Grand Canyon.
Anna Geilman has had a difficult pregnancy, so this winter her mantra was “if I can just make it until Trader Joe’s opens.” It would give her two things to celebrate — a healthy birth and the opening of one of her favorite stores.
She said she “waddled” down the aisles of the Leawood store Friday morning.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to think I put my baby at risk to have some really yummy snack food,” Geilman said. “This was my way of celebrating.”