Trader Joe’s is officially open for business in College Park
By Elana Mutnick
November 14, 2022
Image Credit: Eve LaForte
Noises of barcode scanners fill the air as customers of all ages purchase endless products from the continuously stocked aisles. Trader Joe's is officially open for business in College Park.
Hundreds of people lined up around 4429 Calvert Rd. on Oct. 27, waiting for the grocery store's official opening. Sophomore psychology major, Arielle Solomon, set her alarm for 6:30 a.m. to ensure she would be one of the first in line before the store's 8 a.m. official opening.
"I honestly couldn't believe it when I found out Trader Joe's was coming to College Park," Solomon said. "I go there all the time when I'm back home, so when I found out there was going to be one so close to me, I mentally prepared myself for how much money I'm going to blow through this semester."
The store manager, Joseph Martorella, initiated the official opening by cutting a ribbon with scissors decorated with the Trader Joe's logo. Nakia Rohde, the public relations manager at Trader Joe's, said she feels the community and location are a perfect fit for the new grocery store.
"We have an awesome Crew that is ready to serve and welcome our customers," Rohde said. "We've been really fortunate to receive such a warm welcome from the neighborhood."
Martorella hired over 100 people for the new location, according to Crew Member Jacob Orlando. Orlando walks to work and said the location being so close to campus is great and benefits the community, especially students at the University of Maryland.
"I love seeing my friends walk in right after class for a quick snack or just to see what new food has come in," Orlando said. "A fan favorite now seems to be the Cauliflower Gnocchi."
Crew Member Kasey Coonan started working at Trader Joe's at the end of September before the store opened. After her interview, Coonan trained in Silver Spring before the College Park opening. Coonan said the constant customers make the 11,000-square-foot store feel much smaller than it is.
"I wouldn't say there is any specific crowd of people coming in," Coonan said. "There are definitely a lot of college students, but just as many local families and individuals come in the shop."
Catherine Plaisant, a Research Scientist Emerita at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, said this new addition in College Park is long overdue. She said the food quality is incredible for the prices, and college students are raving about how many quick meal options are now available.
"You can't just be eating at Target all the time," Plaisant said.
Sophomore criminal justice major, Danielle Reynolds, has her car on campus. She said the location isn't just convenient for people living on campus, and she had no trouble finding parking. Orlando said a two-level parking garage is available on Calvert Road, and free street parking in front of the store.
Coonan said Trader Joe's is unique compared to other stores. For example, crew members use terminology to coincide with the nautical theme and ring bells to communicate. Trader Joe's also donates all unsold products to local charities through its shares program, according to Coonan.
"Walking into Trader Joe's instantly puts me in a good mood," Solomon said. "It doesn't feel like I'm in a grocery store."