The hiring sign is up, and the aisles are being stocked.
The much-anticipated opening of Trader Joe's in Mount Pleasant is set for 8 a.m. July 29 with a ceremonial lei-cutting, keeping in tradition with its Hawaiian-inspired elements, company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki said Thursday.
The California-based, German-owned chain took over the former Hungryneck Antique Mall at 401 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., and has been renovating the 14,700-square-foot building since acquiring it last winter.
The second Trader Joe's in South Carolina -- the other is near Greenville -- is opening just around the corner from Whole Foods, a high-end grocer that Trader Joe's likes to shadow.
Trader Joe's carries foods and beverages from the exotic to the basic, including an inexpensive line of Charles Shaw wines from California called "Two Buck Chuck." About 80 percent of its products from around the globe carry the Trader Joe's label.
The opening celebration will include food demonstrations and stickers for children throughout the day.
Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., the store will feature festive decor, mixing the company's traditional cedar-covered walls with local inspiration.
The store's walls will include hand-painted murals of the Morris Island Lighthouse, Rainbow Row, the Arthur
Ravenel Jr. Bridge, boats sailing near Patriots Point and other views of metro Charleston.
The company's practice is not to offer sales, fancy promotions or discount cards. Its strategy is to change prices only when costs change, Mochizuki said. It also purchases from manufacturers and not distributors, helping to keep costs down.
Trader Joe's will take a name-brand product, remove preservatives and artificial colors and ingredients and sell it under its own label at a discount, Mochizuki said.
To keep a sense of adventure in the store, the company adds about a dozen new items every week. That also means an equal number of items are removed.
Owned by German retail giant Aldi Group, the store allows employees to wear brightly colored, Hawaiian-style shirts to add a light-hearted flair to the shopping experience. They also ring bells instead of using an intercom system for workers to communicate.
The new store manager, or captain as the company prefers, is Chris Spina, who comes from Trader Joe's in Atlanta with 12 years of experience. The assistant manager, or first mate, is Brian Travers from the store in New York City's Union Square, where he worked for two years.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524.
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