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Grand Opening Extravaganza

Forget the iPhone 5: Foodie shoppers line up for first dibs at new Trader Joe's Montrose store

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Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening
Trader Joe's announced its Grand Opening Extravaganza on the movie marquee. Photo by Whitney Radley
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening_Greg Paquet_David Fuller
Store manager David Fuller, left, and regional vice president Greg Paquet cut the lei ribbon on the chain's newest store.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening
Devotees lined up outside of the old Alabama Theatre, some as early as 6:45 a.m.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening
Employees handed out leis and goodie bags to the first customers of the day.  Photo by Whitney Radley
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening_Greg Paquet_David Fuller
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening
Trader Joe's_Alabama Theater_store opening

Devotees queued up in front of Trader Joe's new West Alabama store on Friday morning — some as early as 6:45 a.m. — just for a first glimpse at the converted theater and first dibs on the grocer's trademark products. 

Tropical steel drum tunes and smiling Hawaiian-shirted employees welcomed the crowd, a few hundred that had lined up outside of the building for the store's Grand Opening Extravaganza (as announced by the movie marquee). 

 The line had wrapped around the building at 8:05 a.m. and Paquet walked along the sidewalk, joking that the guests were in the wrong line if they were waiting to snag an iPhone 5

 "I'm just here for the experience," said Gordon Bynum, a resident of the area. 

Bynum formerly watched films at the old Alabama Theatre and perused the shelves at the Bookstop after the space's conversion in the mid-'80s. He stopped by on Friday morning to see the building's most recent incarnation as a budget grocery store. "I may buy something," he mused. 

After a few short remarks and a lei-cutting by Trader Joe's regional vice president Greg Paquet and store manager David Fuller, eager shoppers were let into the bright new store, where staffers passed out leis and goodie bags for the first customers. 

The line had wrapped around the building at 8:05 a.m. and Paquet walked along the sidewalk, joking that the guests were in the wrong line if they were waiting to snag an iPhone 5

By then, employees had opened the back doors of the building; shoppers were filing in, as if it was just an ordinary trip to the grocery store. 

Will you check out the Trader Joe's during its opening weekend? Or are you letting the hype die down before your first trip? 

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