If you have never been to a TJ's before, you first visit will be quite a surprise. DON'T BE INTIMIDATED! If you take the time to explore this store during several visits, you will become a fan!
On your first visit you will notice the store seems VERY BUSY and you may wonder about the checkout lines. DON'T WORRY - the lines move REALLY QUICKLY - I've never waited longer than 5 minutes here.
The brands are not "mainstream" brands that you will know from a store like Albertson's or Safeway's. But they do always carry the same products so once you find your favorites they will always be there.
This is a very ethical grocery store - there is a large emphasis on HEALTHY products as well as on organic products (healthy for our planet). When you start comparing the food to more conventional brands you will see that they are much lower in fat and calories, higher in fiber, etc. (Yet they still taste great!)
The store is small so some things can be hard to find, they are packed into every available nook and cranny. If you hear a friend talking about something they buy at TJ's be sure to ask WHERE in the store it is found. (Don't be surprised to get an answer that is something like "near the tortilla chips, and right down next to the floor.)
Everything here is also really well priced. Most everything here is what you would consider a "specialty" item at a store like Albertson's or Safeway. Yet the prices are CHEAPER than those more conventional brands. There will be brands that you can compare directly sometimes and these will also always be cheaper at Trader Joe's (Ex: Kettle Chips brand lightly-salted chips at now $5.99 at Albertson's, they're around $3.50 at TJ's.)
The store always is giving away free samples in the back corner. They also have a large selection of fresh-flowers, these make great hostess gifts when you are headed to a party (and, like everything else, are CHEAP). TJ's is famous for Charles Shaw wine, affectionately known as "2-buck Chuck".