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Gearing up for Two Buck Chuck, new Wheatsville

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

It’s a big week for those of us who love grocery stores.

Trader Joe’s is opening its first Austin store on Friday, and Wheatsville Food Co-op is opening its long-awaited second location sometime this week.

In anticipation of Trader Joe’s Austin debut, I headed down to the store in San Antonio for a refresher in all things TJ, a store I hadn’t shopped at since the last time I was in California a few years ago. It’s easy to see why the grocer has built up such a cult following, and in today’s paper, I outline 10 things that Austinites need to know about the company before it opens on Friday.

You might already be familiar with Two Buck Chuck and Cookie Butter (check out this recipe for chocolate cookie butter cupcakes from Statesman baker extraordinaire Melissa Martinez), but did you know the company has no official Twitter or Facebook accounts? That’s a stark contrast to the social media savvy competitors already established here, including Whole Foods Market and HEB.

How will Trader Joe’s shake up the grocery scene here? Why has it taken so long for Wheatsville to open a location south of Lady Bird Lake? Should Central Market or Sprouts be worried about losing business to its new neighbor? Now that the Texas Retailers Association has dropped its lawsuit against the city of Austin for its bag ban, will more cities jump on board?

To talk about some of these issues and more, we’re hosting a Google+ Hangout at noon Friday at Austin360.com and on our Austin360 Google+ page. William Burdette, a local podcaster who covers food, culture and media, and food stylist/recipe developer Meghan Erwin will chime in on the discussion about the evolving grocery store scene and what it means for your shopping list. I hope you’ll join us to share your thoughts.

In the meantime, what changes are you most excited about? Is in.gredients your new favorite place to buy food? Should more supermarkets add in-store wine bars or eateries? Would you rather get your local vegetables from a neighborhood farmers’ market or through a produce-delivery service like Greenling or Farmhouse?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comments, and we’ll address some of them in the chat on Friday.