Trader Joe's location
Here's Why Trader Joe's Parking Lots Are So Annoyingly Small
By Alli Neal
Most grocery stores have large parking lots, but Trader Joe's is infamous for its tiny, packed, and cramped lots. Finding a space on your first loop is like winning the lottery.
To offer lower prices, a Trader Joe's store is generally 10,000 square feet — versus a 50,000 to 70,000 square foot supermarket — so the parking lots are much smaller.
Trader Joe's addressed it on the official store podcast. Matt Sloan, their culture and innovation guy, says they know parking can be challenging, but that isn't the intention.
"We don't open stores with the world's most ridiculous parking lot on purpose," Matt Sloan said in the podcast. U.S. parking parameters are dictated by municipalities' zoning laws.
All building and zoning codes define how much space can be allotted for parking based on the building's occupancy capacity. A smaller store gets a smaller parking lot.
If Trader Joe's stores had massive parking lots, there would be way too many customers shopping at the same time, resulting in cramped aisles and long, slow checkout lines.