So here’s some big USC news that you’re probably not hearing about elsewhere. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened on campus for a long time, and it’s well worth noting. As of today (4th August, when I wrote this), there’s a Trader Joe’s on campus!
It opened (relatively quietly) today and I stopped by on my way home to pick up a few things – something I’ve fantasized about doing for some time. It’s a simple thing but it’s also a major thing in my opinion. Leaving aside the fact that I can now sometimes get groceries on the way home (with a subway stop just a couple of blocks away) – and also now more easily stock up my office with long workday essentials like Scottish shortbread and sardines in olive oil, there’s another reason this is big news. This part of the city (and points south) simply don’t have as many good options (when it comes to healthy food) as other parts of the city. It is still big news when a grocery store like this opens south the 10 freeway. In fact, away from over on the West side (where the demographic changes significantly), there were *no* Trader Joe’s stores south of the 10 until this one opened today**. (Yes, in 2017 – I can wait while you check your calendar.) I consider this at least as significant (if not more) as the Whole Foods opening in downtown at 8th and Grand not long ago, which was a big deal. Some of you old-timers might recall also the fanfare when the Ralphs’ opened at 9th and Flower back in 2007.
The TJs was not full of students (there were some, but the bulk will come in a few weeks) but instead had lots of people (and families) from the neighbourhood doing their shopping and examining the various items on offer. It was really great to see. Also pleasing was chatting to the woman working at the checkout I went to. She was delighted with the whole day, and the fact that she (who lives in the neighbourhood) has a new job as a result of this store opening.
There’s a Target Express (with a CVS) next door, also newly opened, and the grand opening of the newly constructed University Village (in which these are all located) is in two weeks.
What a great and positive start to a new era for the campus and the whole neighbourhood!
**Today here means Friday 4th August (I’m a day late posting).