TAMPA - It is one of the most anticipated food store openings in the City of Tampa.
Employees at Trader Joe's finally opened the store to shoppers at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning. The store is located on Swann Avenue in what used to be the Shapes for Women Fitness Center.
The iconic California-based market chain is most noted for its upscale goods, low prices and nautical nomenclature:
"So it's not an employee, it's a crew member, and then our assistant store manager is a mate and then I'm the Captain," explained Aimee Pawalek, who wore the requisite Hawaiian shirt. She showed me around the place, with its stocked-to-the-brim shelves and those little local touches.
"We really themed the store so that you can come in and know that you're in a Tampa Trader Joe's," she said.
The one thing you'll notice is that most of the items here aren't name brands, unless you count Trader Joe's as a name brand. Captain Aimee says that's one way the items here are remarkably reasonable and unique, like the rosemary-infused almonds she insisted I try.
"Put them on a cheese tray and sprinkle these on top, maybe half the bag," she told me, ripping the bag open to offer a sample -- something that any customer can do, at almost any time.
It's little wonder that those who are familiar with Trader Joe's can't wait for the Tampa store to open.
"This is like Christmas Eve," said Marianne Staebler.
Marianne and Her husband used to drive 30 minutes each way to get to a Trader Joe's in Danbury CT. But now, they're within walking distance of this new one and its grand opening.
"And we will be here tomorrow morning for it," she said, her voice full of anticipation.
And so will we -- on ABC Action News.