Editor's note: There is absolutely nothing important in this post; just me musing.
For some reason, my parents didn't own a washing machine so that meant weekly trips to the Laundromat. If we were living in an apartment, which we did when we first came to Southern California from Indiana, and my mom was working, it was easier for her to haul everything to the local wash-a-teria and do it all at one time. This was agonizing because I got hauled along with the sheets.
In Culver City I remember a store next door to the Laundromat, it was a convenience store called "Pronto Market." Never did understand why they called them "convenience" stores when I was a kid but as an adult, on the way to a party, yes oh so convenient.
Bribing me with a buck allowed me to peruse the magazines and candy selections but because I was an odd kid I'd check out everything else. Who knows, maybe I was thinking of a party for some of my other ten-year-old friends and as I remember, it was a liquor store with a cold case of milk and soda and some odd snack/party items. Yup, they have those packages of little drink umbrellas, must remember those for my next soiree.
The store changed names, I can't be sure of the year, maybe in the 60s and it was an odd name, Trader Joe's. They added a few different items but still had that party theme. Buy a keg, bags of chips, case of beer, ice; that sort of fare. I'd forgotten about them until sometime in the 70s when we moved to Simi and seems like TJ's moved to the valley. Still a place to stock up with drinks for a party; nothing special.
Fast forward to the 90s--the 80s were a blur to me--working in Westlake I stopped in the store quite by accident. Someone raved about their wine selection and hey, they had a bigger store that carried quite a lot of wine and some other interesting items; fresh cheese for one. Cheese the regular markets didn't carry. I was hooked.
Now I carry my own shopping bags and in a Trader Joe's at least twice a week. I love all their dairy products including the cheese selection. Why are they cheaper than the big markets? The staff is always accommodating and they seem happy to be there, like it's a big party everyday. I look forward to April for the buck daffodils. The wine brought me in but the cheese made me a customer for life.Well, that and the fact they still carry those little paper drink umbrellas.