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Trader Joe's Debuts Grab-and-Go Concept in Controversial Location

Trader Joe's Union Square

Trader Joe’s recently unveiled its one-off grab-and-go concept called Pronto in its former Wine Shop located near New York City’s Union Square.

The Wine store suddenly closed in 2022. The National Labor Relations Board alleged the closure was an act of retaliation against workers trying to unionize, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

A company spokesperson told SFA News Daily that Pronto is a unique offering that emphasizes a curated product assortment.

"Trader Joe's Pronto is a one-of-a-kind extension of our store in Union Square," said Trader Joe's spokesperson Nakia Rohde. "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."

A report from Timeout noted that the space allows locals to quickly grab items without having to wait in line alongside others shopping for the week. Additionally, the space may cater to college students in the area.

Susuky Zambrano, a manager at the traditional Trader Joe’s next to Pronto told local news source The Village Sun that the location has six cash registers and offers “sandwiches, fresh salads, soups, chips, cut fruit, beverages. Things you can pick up on your lunch hour.”

The UFCW, which represents 1.2 million workers in grocery calls the retailer’s decision to open Pronto inside the former wine store a “slap in the face.”

“We are disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that the space has been filled before reopening our [wine] shop. While management claims to be searching for a new location to move its successful wine store, they’ve been content to let its former location lay empty for almost 2 years as an alleged cost-saving measure,” said UFCW in a statement. “We believe Trader Joe’s is doing everything in its power to prevent a profitable unionized shop from reopening. We refuse to let Trader Joe’s continue to get away with their egregious and illegal union-busting tactics.”

In response, Rohde said that Trader Joe's is still looking to relocate its wine store.

"New York law allows us only one wine license, and we are actively looking for a location in New York, including sites outside of Manhattan, where we can sell wine. We are hoping to find a suitable location where we can offer our outstanding values on wine to the largest number of customers, and maximize our wine-sales potential," she said.

Additionally, she emphasized that every employee in the former wine store was paid for their scheduled hours and was offered a position at another Trader Joe's location of their choice.

Image: Trader Joe’s