Trader Joe’s makes eating on a budget easy and affordable

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The Extended Opportunity Program and Services at Cosumnes River College is conducting a workshop series on Friday afternoons this Fall. They invited Trader Joe’s to speak on Friday October 7.

“Trader Joe’s is here to let people know that it’s not too expensive to shop at Trader Joe’s.” said EOPS counselor Jackie Mathis.

EOPS was started in the 1960’s to help college students. “EOPS is a program of the state of California and Community College districts to recruit and assist college students who show academic and financial need, considered educationally disadvantaged and/or academically under prepared,” according to the EOPS Facebook page.

Matt Garcia and Joshua Hammond, captains from the Elk Grove and San Jose Trader Joe’s stores, began the presentation with the disclaimer that though they are not licensed nutritionists, they hoped to show what healthy and economical options Trader Joe’s has to offer.

“We want to be part of the neighborhood, part of the community,” said Hammond. Trader Joe’s have tasters and buyers who listen to what their customers want.

“Buyers literally travel the globe looking for new products that fit into the model of naturally sourced products, no genetically modified organisms,” said Garcia. “You’re getting quality. “Customers vote with their dollar,” said Garcia in reference to the products Trader Joe’s carries. When products aren’t selling well company wide, they stop selling them. Trader Joe’s also adds ten to twelve new products each week, Garcia said.

“Trader Joe’s employees are taught and trained to help shoppers,” said Hammond. “If you want to feed dinner to a family of six on less than $12.99, we’ll help. If you have questions just stop at the Captain’s Desk.”

Donna Rogers, a 60-year-old early childhood development major at CRC said, “Trader Joe’s has such diversity in the employees; older, younger, all nationalities.” She said she enjoys the prepared meals from Trader Joe’s.

“There are bilingual employees at the store in Elk Grove,” said Garcia. “But anyone will do anything to help.”

Attendees tasted organic popcorn with sea salt, freeze dried blueberries, pomegranate limeade, organic trek mix, a dark chocolate covered fruit snack called Powerberries and two seasonal items, Halloween Joe Joes cookies and Pear Cinnamon Cider.

“These Powerberries are great!” said CRC President Debbie Travis who, along with everyone in attendance, snacked on the Trader Joe’s fare.

The Trader Joe’s captains pointed out the natural ingredients listed on the packaging.

The Trader Joe’s symbols that let customers know if the products are gluten-free, low in sodium, vegan, the prices of the items and where you could find them in their stores.

Trader Joe’s embraces diversity and competition and their culture even lets them send customers to other stores for better deals, said Garcia.

“I always credit who I have become because of Trader Joe’s,” said Hammond who has been with the company for more than a decade. “It’s more than just a grocery store, it’s an experience.”

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