Where To Shop Now That Beloved WeHo Trader Joe's Is Closing
By now, you've probably heard that The Best Trader Joe's (at least the one with the biggest, most accessible open-air parking lot) is closing August 31 after 28 years and will make way for a mixed-use
monstrosity complex. And if you hadn't heard, here's a TJ's tissue. It's there when you're sad, you know.
The Movietown Plaza on Santa Monica Boulevard where the first Trader Joe's opened in 1985 has been slated for the wrecking ball for years, but the high-rise project stalled out, until now. Under threat of destruction, nearly all the other business vacated the shopping complex years ago. That meant you could always find a parking spot since there's 150 glorious, easy-access spots, all free. And you could occasionally spot a celeb, like Martin Landau in the juice aisle or (okay, this only happened once) have a chat with Timothy Dalton in line.
TJ's might come back as an anchor store in the new retail space but that'll take years. The 70 or so employees at this location will be reassigned to area stores, so you'll probably see their friendly faces again. I've been shopping here since I moved to L.A. in 2000. I will miss having a TJ's in walking distance and because it was my Trader Joe's. (Yeah, I know. #firstworldproblems)
So where do you shop now, if you are used to shopping at this West Hollywood staple? There are several other TJ's in the immediate area, but none boast that amazing parking.
Here's what you need to know about the neighboring locations.
La Brea Trader Joe's
263 S. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, (323) 965-1989
Parking: Free lot, but so tiny it's not worth the hassle
TJ's fans hate, hate, HATE, the parking here, calling it "horrific", "a nervous breakdown waiting to happen" and "an absolute clusterfuck." It also gets negative marks for narrow aisles and potholes. Brittany B. wrote "If I had a nickel for every tantrum I've had circling the parking lots and surrounding streets of this Trader Joe's location, I would have enough money to buy a lifetime supply of Trader Joe's delicious marshmallow rice crispy treats." There is a spillover lot, but it's equally nightmarish. One reviewer noted that the parking has improved since the new store opened on Fairfax. As for me, I'd still rather shop at the Ralphs across the street and avoid the agony. At least their parking lot doesn't make you want to kill anyone.
Fairfax Trader Joe's (aka "Gilmore Station")
175 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles (323) 931-4012
Parking: Paid, TJ's validates, 115-120 spots
The newest TJ's in the area (right across from The Grove) offers a perk the other stores don't: Wine tasting. "This is too good to be true. Not only do they stock inexpensive and (usually) tasty wines, but you can try them before you buy them?" noted one Google User. It's also nice and roomy compared to some of its sister stores. Dings for the more than usually obnoxious canvassers outside this location and the occasional moldy produce.
Hollywood Trader Joe's
1600 Vine Street, Los Angeles, (323) 856-0689
Parking: One hour free in the parking structure, TJ's validates
Google users can't seem to agree if this place is "packed constantly, day or night" or "never too busy." But they do agree that it's "larger than most Trader Joe's" and has a "great layout." It's in the middle of Hollywood, so validated parking is a definite perk.
Boystown Trader Joe's
8611 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, (310) 657-0152 ·
Parking: Shared, tiny lot, free with one hour validation, approximately 45 spaces
An employee described this store as "bigger and more spacious than the others" with "nice, wide aisles," although she'd never been to the Movietown Plaza store. Unlike its sister store down the street, this location demos juices as well as coffee. This small lot is hard to maneuver in and it's on a dead-on street off of busy SMB, so you've got to take a right when you exit, so avoid during rush hour by all means.
Sunset Trader Joe's
8000 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 822-7663
Parking: 5-level parking structure, TJ's validates 90 minutes
"It's the most rockin' Trader Joe's around," boasts one employee, citing the record labels lining the elevator (a la Amoeba Music). "It's one of the newer TJ's in the area, so it's a little slower," he says, but adds that this location is "excited about getting more business" once the Movietown Plaza store closes. Not only do they sample juices all day, "We just made slushies out of Dixie Peach Juice," he said. And you can grind your coffee here before you buy it. Added perk, that rock n' roll elevator is dedicated just to Trader Joe's, just park on the third level.
Don't have a car? You could still walk to the Smart and Final at Vista and Fountain, the Ralphs at Fountain and La Brea or the "Rock 'n' Roll Ralphs" on Sunset. There's also the Target at Santa Monica and La Brea, which put in (a very limited selection of) produce recently. The other neighborhood store with tons of old-fashioned parking, the Jon's at Fountain and La Brea, was already bulldozed and work is underway on its own massive mixed-use project. Or there's always Yummy. They deliver. And the Whole Foods at Santa Monica and Fairfax isn't too far away.