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A grab-and-go Trader Joe’s just opened near Union Square where the wine shop used to be

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The saga of the beloved Trader Joe’s Wine Shop in Union Square continues: just a few months after news about a potential reopening shocked locals (New Yorkers were just as panicked when they witnessed the shop’s sudden closure in 2022), the store reopened as a grab-and-go concept dubbed Trader Joe’s Pronto this past weekend. 

Open daily from 10am to 8pm, this is the first type of Trader Joe’s of its kind—and the only one currently in the works, according to a company spokesperson who released a statement to EV Grieve.

“Trader Joe’s Pronto is a one-of-a-kind extension of our store in Union Square,” the official said on the record. “This additional space allows us to carry more of the products our customers in this neighborhood purchase daily. We do not have plans to open additional Trader Joe’s Pronto markets in New York or elsewhere in the country.”

The idea is simple: New Yorkers in the area craving one of the chain’s foods will be able to quickly grab items without having to wait on line to pay alongside folks shopping for the week. 

Given the drama surrounding the closure of the wine shop, we imagine this to be the company’s attempt at utilizing the now vacant space in creative ways that will continue to service the public. 

Always a favorite among area college students shopping at the grocery store next door, Trader Joe’s Wine Shop closed in August of 2022. 

“We have been operating our small Wine Shop in the Union Square neighborhood for over 15 years, and we thank you for all the business and support throughout the years,” read a printed sign in the window of the shop back then. “It is now time for us to explore another location that will allow us to optimize the potential of our one and only license to sell wine in the state of New York.” 

Given the fact that no other wine shop actually opened since then, many began speculating about the real reasons behind the decision to close.

At the time, Patch reported that the National Labor Relations Board’s counsel accused Trader Joe’s of union busting.

Turns out that, at least according to sources that spoke to Patch, the restoration of the 14th Street wine shop would be “one of several remedies” for the accusations.

Fast-forward to today and it seems most locals are excited about the new iteration of the grocery giant—one reminiscent of the mini Whole Foods convenience stores that are opening around NYC. Both developments are an indication of a shifting grocery industry, one now focusing on downsizing while still offering customers the kinds of products that have become pantry staples.

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