Trader Joe’s in Maine: Update

On the way to Portland International Jetport (airport) to pick up a friend, I decided to stop by Trader Joe’s and see what all the excitement is about here in Maine.  Turns out it’s the largest Trader Joe’s in the eastern United States in terms of square footage; it was the biggest and best-attended grand opening in TJ’s history; and it’s one of their busiest and most lucrative stores to date.

Yes, the store is a whole lot bigger than any other TJ’s I’ve visited – they have to compete with a ginormous Whole Foods not far away – but I can’t say I noticed all that many more products on the shelves, just wider aisles and lots more elbow room in general. The good news for me personally is that they stock the same kosher products as in my home town, including fresh Empire chicken in a variety of cuts, Empire ground turkey, kosher Tillamook cheddar cheese (chalav stam) and chalav yisrael Feta cheese from Israel.  That will definitely cut down on the number of foods we find it necessary to pack in the car in coolers on our long driving trips from our home town to our place in Maine.

Is it worth the 1 hour 20 minute drive from my house in the woods? I can see myself making the drive every 6 weeks or so and really stocking up. I wish I could say the store’s employees were uniquely exemplary as they are in my home town – they truly were nice – but honestly, they reflect the helpful customer service and pleasant demeanor that is not limited only to Trader Joe’s, but so prevalent throughout Maine. I’m getting spoiled!

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