D.C. is filled with architecturally interesting public spaces. To get an idea of how people are using these spaces, Curbed writers are spending twenty minutes in a given location and taking note of what they see. Want to nominate a place for this series? Hit up our tipline. Here's what happened today between 2:00-2:20 p.m. at the Trader Joe's that just opened on 14th & U.
2:00 p.m. — Taking a quick look at Racked DC's take on the grand opening before entering. Well, here we go.
2:01 p.m. — Two young women walk past carrying very full Trader Joe's bags.
2:02 p.m. — A sign sits over top of the entryway saying "The Flyer Has Landed." A arc of red and white balloons adorn the interior lobby area between the sidewalk and the rest of the store.
2:04 p.m. — The light blue paint and driftwood suggests the beachy appeal of the Trader Joe's brand. That said, the mural of people in front of turreted row homes suggests a nod to the people that actually live in the neighborhood. Pretty sure I've seen both that guy with the fedora and yellow pants and the guy with the groomed magician mustache before.
2:06 p.m. — There are trombones on the wall welcoming people to the store, seemingly as a nod to the neighborhood's musical tradition.
2:07 p.m. — A bell rings. Upon asking an employee counting fruit inventory, it is revealed that this bell is a system for people at the register asking for help. The bell rings two more times. It's an interesting non-digitized way of asking for assistance, but the store seems small enough that this can be possible.
2:08 p.m. — A young man in a hat and a navy blue Trader Joe's hoodie high-fives coworkers in decked in leis, Hawaiian shirts and red t-shirts as he leaves the store. Extra props to the guy with a bright orange lei around his neck and the young woman whose pink lei is in her hair.
2:09 p.m. — An employee comes up and asks, "Would you like a cookie?" He smiles and says, "Don't say no to cookies." He makes a valid point.
2:10 p.m. — There's another woman next to the roving cookie man handing out popcorn in a more stationary space. There seem to be only five aisles in the store, although those aisles are rather spacious and thus far, no bumping into everyone has occurred a la Sunday at Union Market.
2:12 p.m. — At the check out, the painted light blue walls are replaced with exposed brick. There are saxophones on the wall with something inside them. A staff member indicates that the "something" is Trader Joes bags folded and cut to look like flowers. Whoa.
2:13 p.m. — There's a sign that says "Trader Joe's" in different fonts behind the registers. All of the fonts being used look awfully familiar and probably tie into the neighborhood in some way. Not at all succeeding in figuring out why they look so familiar. Any guesses, Curbed readers?
2:15 p.m. — There's another mural on the back wall over the milk and orange juice that gives a nod to the neighborhood. Silhouettes of jazz musicians play their instruments as rather accurate representations of famous neighborhood buildings are painted in between. However, the Howard Theatre, Lincoln Theatre, Bohemian Caverns and Ben's Chili Bowl each have one a hibiscus flower or three painted somewhere on the facade. On Ben's Chili Bowl, it's on the left exterior wall where the mural of famous patrons currently sits. What would Bill Cosby think?
2:17 p.m. — The back of the store seems abnormally packed. Then again they are offering free samples of four cheese pizza and coffee.
2:19 p.m. — These fonts probably don't have any underlying neighborhood meaning and just kind of look like magazine cutouts.
2:20 p.m. — An employee talks about the size of this Trader Joe's. She cannot confirm that this is the largest one in the area, but in reference to the one in Clarendon she says, "This one is bigger." If not, it certainly appears larger due to the store layout.