Happy Trails to Trader Joe’s Midtown

TJ Midtown

Three years ago we were in a pickle.

We had started 2009 with the mantra “On the BeltLine in ‘09!” I wanted to relocate to a BeltLine neighborhood and focus my real estate career on what I saw as the evolution of Atlanta. By Thanksgiving we had relocated to the Old Fourth Ward, but my real estate business had virtually flat lined due to the financial aftershocks of 2008. Then we decided that my wife couldn’t continue her employment in a toxic work environment at a southside nursing home. She said she felt like she was aiding and abetting a crime, so we had to make the hard choice, even though it seemed the timing couldn’t be worse.

I needed a job, and quick!

But what to do? I had just experienced the second bursting bubble of my working life. The first had been almost a decade earlier when the dot com/tel com bubble went pop! and my technology headhunting career disappeared. Even though the technology sector had begun a recovery, I wanted to go high touch instead of high tech and focus on the local economy instead of the tech-fueled global enterprise. Now I was on the hunt for something local and bike-able, preferably on the soon-to-be-completed Eastside Trail.

That’s how I ended up working at Trader Joe’s.

By this time we were shopping at Trader Joe’s three times a week. My wife describes herself as a social shopper and enjoyed the vibe and energy of the Trader Joe’s shopping experience, not to mention the great prices on amazing products. A casual conversation with the store’s Captain (what TJ’s calls their managers), and the next thing I knew I was working at Trader Joe’s Midtown.

So I had a decent wage for a part time job with health benefits that normally come with a full time gig and a 10% discount on groceries. Soon my wife was also working and bicycle commuting to Trader Joe’s. Even though my wife has moved on to an activities coordinator position at a local senior living facility and I have scaled back to even fewer part time hours, it’s thanks to Trader Joe’s that we were able to make it through a rough patch, financially.

BurkeLine Badge

My register ID badge

After the Eastside Trail was finished, transportation to work was an easy 2 mile bicycle ride on the O4W-to-Midtown path of least resistance. Riding to my early morning shifts at 3:45 a.m., I usually had the trail all to myself (my very own bicycle superhighway!) and could make it to work faster than driving a car. I was so enthusiastic about the arrangement that my co-workers began calling the corridor the “BurkeLine.”

There are few shopping experiences more highly coveted by a community than a Trader Joe’s Neighborhood Grocery. If you don’t believe it, look at all the “Bring Trader Joe’s to _________” facebook pages on the interwebs. Just behold the frenzy when it is announced that a TJ’s is coming to town! What a blessing that the BeltLine community has one!

It’s so fitting that a grocery chain that has healthier food, including 20 different kinds of trail mix, would be trailside to what has quickly become one of the most popular rail trails in the country. In fact, the easy access and proximity to the Eastside Trail helps to alleviate the only complaint you’ll ever hear about the Midtown location: parking. It is not uncommon to see cyclists and walkers on the BeltLine with bags of groceries from Trader Joe’s. Several of the crew members use the trail to bicycle commute to work which also frees up parking for the customers.

Whatever you do, resist the temptation to use parking at Trader Joe’s so you can walk on the BeltLine or to Piedmont Park. Dozens of drivers do and get booted every weekend.

You can follow Trader Joe’s Midtown on twitter at http://twitter.com/tradermojo and find them on facebook here.

Image courtesy of WalkScore.

Not all products portrayed in video are available at TJ’s Midtown.

About Burke Sisco

Burke Sisco is an Associate Broker of First United Realty with 20 years of experience in the Atlanta real estate market. He calls the surging infra-culture around the BeltLine both home and business territory and is the founder and managing editor of BeltLandia.com. He has helped a number of satisfied clients buy and sell property in BeltLandia. Those interested in living the BeltLandia Lifestyle can reach Burke at 404.421.9968 or by email at burke@burkesisco.com.

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