ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The Winter Park Trader Joe's store will hold its grand opening Friday morning and store officials are anticipating quite a turnout.
The company has hired three Winter Park police officers to help control traffic into and out of the store's parking lot, which sits on busy U.S. 17/92.
Channel 9's Karla Ray said she has received a number of tweets and Facebook comments from people telling her that they would be at the store Friday.
The national chain has a huge following, including a Facebook page that had 4,100 people lobbying for a store in Winter Park.
Ray got a sneak peek at the store, just ahead of the grand opening.
Store manager Tim Weaver, who goes by "Captain" in the tiki-themed store, said people have been stopping by for weeks to see if the place is open.
"Probably what we're most known for is our Charles Shaw wine. It's $2.99, there are seven varietals and our customers call it the 'two buck chuck,'" said Shaw.
The store is stocked with items bearing Trader Joe's labels. Weaver said 80 percent of the 12,500-square-foot store holds items sold only by Trader Joe's.
But even though the store has a lot of buzz around it and its specialty items, it won't have as many items as shoppers might expect. Officials with Trader Joe's said the average Trader Joe's store carries around 4,000 products, compared to a typical grocery store with around 50,000.
The store seems to be an object of affection for many people.
"We really let our customers vote with their dollars, so if an item's not selling we'll discontinue that item and bring something brand new in," said Weaver.
Trader Joe's has built a large following and devoted base of shoppers despite doing very little advertising – it doesn't even have a Twitter feed or official Facebook page.
"We do some radio advertising and then our main feature is a Fearless Flyer," said Weaver.
Economics professor Sean Snaith said that while the store is smaller than a typical anchor store, it has a strong enough following that it should help support the other businesses in the new plaza where it sits.
"I think it's a good sign about the health of our local economy and how companies see it going forward," said Snaith.
Weaver said the excitement over the store is a testament to the brand he's selling.
"Value is how I would describe that. Sometimes inexpensive means cheap to some people, but we like to have great quality at great value," said Weaver.