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Fans swarm new Trader Joe’s stores in KC, Leawood

Trader Joe’s opened two locations on Friday — one in Leawood and the other at 8600 Ward Parkway (pictured). People who showed up on the first day waited up to an hour to checkout. See photo galleries and video of the opening on KansasCity.com.

Trader Joe’s

What: A beloved California-based chain of specialty grocery stores that sells high-quality, hard-to-find foods for low prices.

Where: 8600 Ward Parkway in Kansas City’s Ward Parkway Center and 4201 W. 119th St. in Leawood’s One Nineteen shopping center.

Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily

Info: 816.333.5322 (Kansas City) or 913.327.7209 (Leawood)

Trader Joe’s on Fidget

Trader Joe’s, the California-based grocery store chain known for affordable gourmet food and fanatical customers, opened its first two Kansas City-area stores on July 15. Clearly Kansas Citians were starved for $2 wine and peanut butter-filled pretzels, because customers at the Ward Parkway location started lining up at 3:30 a.m. on opening day. Which made us wonder: Which Trader Joe’s product is worth losing that much sleep over?

Go to fidget.kansascity.com to rate and tell us about the best Trader Joe’s product.

the kansas city star

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.”


  1. 4 years, 2 months ago

    You know, I’ve been waiting for these stores since rumors surfaced a year ago. While I can appreciate the variety and fresh food selection, we were at the Leawood location last weekend. It was smaller than I expected, and they were completely out of testers for coffee. Seemed a bit disorganized and helter skelter. I did see some new items I will consider purchasing, as I cannot find them locally. Like, the 9 ounce can of crab meat - lump crap meat was gone, but they did have claw crab. Almost bought that, but the check out lines were FOREVER long. I know where the Ward Parkway store is. Perhaps I’ll cruise over there and check it out. Hope it’s bigger. I’ve been reading great reviews on your frozen food entrees. Yummy. Welcome to the heartland!!

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