It seems once people enter the doors of one of these places, they feel compelled to come back over and over again. Not everyone is a believer but the people who attend on a regular basis can't say enough about it.

They become obsessed with the place. They tell their friend in trying to convert them into becoming a devotee of their "happy place". They feel a sense of euphoria when they're there that lasts until they go back.

What is this cult that so many people in New Jersey belong to?

It's Trader Joe's!

Google Maps
Google Maps

I don't completely understand it and I'm a foodie. Yeah, they have stuff that nobody else has and all of their stuff is their own brand. By selling almost all of its products under its own labels, Trader Joe's "skips the middleman" and buys directly from both local and international vendors. While a typical grocery store may carry 50,000 items, Trader Joe's stocks about 4,000 items, 80% of which bear one of its brand names.

There are unique foods, some of the healthy variety, some not so much. But it seems once people go there and find some unique thing that they can't find anywhere else, they are drawn back by some supernatural force. Products include gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian foods, frozen foods, imported foods, and "alternative" food items, such as vegan and vegetarian options.

The chain may be fairly new to some of us here in New Jersey, mainly because they're not as many of them as a regular supermarket or big box store. But they started in 1958 as a Los Angeles area convenience store. The founder Joe Coulombe sought to distinguish himself from competition like 7-11 so he expanded the idea and came up with a winning formula that people fell in love with.

They now have 560 stores in 42 states, including 18 here in New Jersey. Monmouth County has two of the newest locations in Freehold and Shrewsbury. If you want to temp your fate and expose yourself to being lured into the cult, here is a list of all of the New Jersey locations.

Most popular grocery stores in America

The most popular grocery stores in America, from corporate chains to family-owned enterprises. Stacker ranked them using consumer ratings sourced from YouGov polls.

LOOK: Food and Personal Care Shortages We Could See In 2023

Learn about the 13 potential shortages that could impact stores in 2023, from produce and meat to snacks and beverages.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

You can now listen to Dennis & Judi — On Demand! Hear New Jersey’s favorite best friends anytime, anywhere and any day of the week. Download the Dennis & Judi show wherever you get podcasts, on our free app, or listen right now.

Report a correction 👈 | 👉 Contact our newsroom

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM