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The city of Dallas finally, after a long period of patient waiting, has its very own Trader Joe’s.

Friday morning, the food store located on Lower Greenville Ave. was unmistakably buzzing, between the DJ welcoming folks with bumpin' tunes, TJ's employees bestowing colorful leis upon incoming customers and patrons sauntering up and down the aisles of their newest grocer.

It was a party, y’all.

There was face-painting and celebratory cake to be enjoyed by customers as they poured in by the dozens to shop for fresh artisan bread, a variety of meats and unusual food items.

At the Trader Joe’s kickoff Friday morning, the shelves were beautifully stocked, the floors were pristine and the Hawaiian-shirt wearing employees were eager to serve patrons and answer questions.

For those who aren’t familiar with the greatness that is Trader Joe’s, the excitement is baffling. It’s just a grocery store, right? Wrong.

Besides the carts and check-out counters, practically all the fixtures found in a Trader Joe’s are unrecognizable to outsiders. They don’t carry your typical brands – they offer their own brand, plus some hand-chosen products. 

Nothing with a Trader Joe’s label on it contains genetically modified ingredients, artificial preservatives, MSG or synthetic colors. 

The other thing that may seem odd about Trader Joe’s is that they don’t have sales. They don’t print coupons or have “member cards.” Their claim is that they search for affordable products to sell at low prices, so there’s no need for discounts.

Trader Joe’s “Star Captain” Karen Campbell has been with the company for 13 years and moved to the Greenville store from the Plano TJ’s. She also recently helped open the Fort Worth store.

Campbell said, “This neighborhood is a great fit for Trader Joe’s.” She said the store has a neighborhood feel because it's smaller than a typical grocer. TJ's will add to the Lakewood “shopping landscape,” she said. 

When I asked Campbell why all the employees wear Hawaiian shirts to work, she answered simply.

“We’re adventurers and travelers to bring you products,” she said. Even the management team wears the festive tops to remind customers that TJ's workers are “traders on the culinary seas,” she added.

Kate Hall has been living in Lakewood for three years and was looking forward to the store opening based on its positive reputation on the West Coast (TJ's is based in California).

“We have lots of friends in California who love Trader Joes,” Hall said. She plans to frequent the store for more specialty items, like wine and fine cheeses, as well as their unique frozen food offerings.

Before this morning, I hadn't been to a TJ's since my brief stint in NYC. Since then, I've heard great things about the Speculoos Cookie Butter, Two-Buck Chuck (literally a bottle of Charles Shaw wine for $2.49), and TJ's Frozen Mac 'n Cheese.

And Trader Joe's is about to get more popular in the Dallas area. There's one moving into Inwood Village sometime in 2014, replacing Cantina Laredo, and a TJ's will be included in the upcoming Preston Hollow Village, a dining/shopping complex being built at the corner of Walnut Hill Lane and North Central Expressway.

Just for fun: what are your favorite Trader Joe's products? If you're a Lakewood resident, what will you shop for?

And if you're from Park Cities, Preston Hollow or Lake Highlands, will you travel to Lower Greenville for your TJ's fix?

Trader Joe's is located at 2001 Greenville Ave.