'I'm a Trader Joe's groupie'

Hundreds waited in line for the store to open on Friday. (Richey Boyd/WCIV)

By Jon

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Grab your cash and your grocery bags.

Hundreds of people lined up before sunrise to be the first to shop at the brand new Trader Joe's in Mount Pleasant.

Decked out in Hawaiian shirts and smiles, Trader Joe's employees, eager customers and Mount Pleasant town leaders gathered at the new location just of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard to cut the ribbon on the specialty store.

"We're so happy to have it here," Loius Kaufman said.{} {}"We had to drive all the way to Charlotte just to get some of the items. We love the grapes and the fruit that they carry and the's all good."

Several people sat in lawn chairs for several hours just to be the first to walk through the doors, saying the excitement and selection{}were just too good to pass up.

Michelle Shaw was among the faithful.

{}"We are used to Trader Joe's," she said. "We love their foods and their snacks and interesting items you can't get at other stores."

{}"You have to shop here to understand it." Amanda Beagle said.{} She and her husband Roy recently re-located to Charleston from the West Coast and say Trader Joe's feels like home.

{}"It's a unique experience. It's always changing, always have new products, things you can't find other places," she said.{}

"My wife and I have been big fans of Trader Joe's for the past 10 years."

Others were a bit more fanatical in their approach like Mirella Abbo, who made signs and painted her face with the expression "I love Joe's."

"I am a Trader Joe's groupie," she admitted. I've been to about 40 Trader Joe's."

The supermarket chain offers specialty products, fresh produce and plenty of healthy vegan and vegetarian choices.

"We buy direct we have buyers from all over the world and we private label those products, store manager and captain Chris Spina said.{} "That means there are no preservatives, additives, MSG's, all clean ingredients and ingredients that you can pronounce."

Friday's grand opening attracted an almost cult-like following.

Many of the loyal customers, who waited just about an hour and a half in line, were greeted with a smile, a Hawaiian lai and low prices on some healthy food.

Young Alex Kelly wanted to be the first to make a sale, rushing through the door and grabbing the first thing he got his small hands on.

"Gingersnaps!" he exclaimed as he proudly showed off his receipt.

The opening is also provided a boost to the Lowcountry economy adding over 50 jobs.

While they are focused on the new opening, Trader Joe's representatives say based on the level of excitement at the Mount Pleasant location, they aren't ruling out expanding to more locations.

The Mount Pleasant store is located on the frontage road just off Highway 17.

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