Last summer, we mentioned rumors that the extremely popular and often overcrowded Trader Joe’s at 22nd & Market would be undergoing renovations and an expansion. And when we stopped by to pick up some essentials the other day, we discovered that the much-anticipated renovations have been completed. A new front flower display was unveiled five days ago, and just yesterday TJ’s revealed the first big changes to the store since it opened in 2003.

New entryway

Flowers and prepared foods on the right

All seems the same from the usually-jammed parking lot, but as you enter into what used to be an enclosed foyer of mixed bouquets and cinnamon brooms you now face doors for cart traffic in and out, and an open expanse of the bright store. The flower market leads you in and to the right, which is all new space taken from what was previously offices along 22nd Street. Your fresh meats, tortellinis and prepared foods are at the ready, along with a baker’s shelf full of fresh bread. Fruit stands are open and accessible by the snacks and chips, and your neatly wrapped produce and cheeses remain in the same spot at the back of the store in the refrigerators lining the walls, but with a wide open floor plan to navigate more easily. Muralists were working during the lunchtime rush to get Philly scenes and some springtime onto the bare walls.

Much more space to walk around near the produce

Murals being added

But still a heck of a wait to check out... for now

The rest of the store remains the same. You can still expect to squeeze down the aisles at someone else’s pace, line up to the ice cream case to check out, and enjoy small talk about the lobster raviolis with your cashier. But more changes are reportedly on the way. According to TJ employee Cric (pronounced “C-Rick”), the next phase of changes will include new flooring throughout, fresh wall mouldings, and…MORE CASH REGISTERS. One would hope they spread out the aisles now that they have a little more room with which to work. No confirmation on when, but hopefully the success of this facelift will lead to further upgrades very soon. We’ll keep a lookout.

–Lauren Summers