The Trader Joe’s Soho store (on Spring Street just west of Sixth Ave., so it’s technically in Hudson Square) opened this morning at 8 a.m., and if you go in the next few hours, you’ll get the rare opportunity to experience a Trader Joe’s Manhattan store without crowds. Also, you’ll get to hear a Caribbean band playing at the entrance and a free plastic lei placed over your head.
I’m not a Trader Joe’s expert—or even a fan, to be honest—so I can’t really say how it compares to the company’s other stores around here. My first thought was that it’s big, but I think it’s airy more than anything else; the aisles are generally wide (but of course they’ll seem tighter when the customers pour in). And in Trader Joe’s style, while some sections are clearly delineated, other items seem randomly placed—oatmeal raisin cookies on a shelf above frozen salmon, for instance. The atmosphere is bare-bones, with many of the products—or maybe most of them—Trader Joe’s proprietary brands. And the staff is as chipper as can be. It’s open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Trader Joe’s is at 233 Spring (between Sixth Ave. and Varick); 212-691-2721; traderjoes.com.