The sails have been hoisted and the public is now welcome aboard the new Trader Joe’s in Orem.

Today’s opening of this specialty grocer culminates more than four years of vetting and searching by Trader Joe’s for the right location in Utah County.

For residents of Orem and Provo, it ends the twin city competition for the popular food retailer.

It’s the third Trader Joe’s location in Utah and is the largest at 13,000 square feet. The Salt Lake City store comes in second at 12,700 square feet and the Cottonwood Heights store is the smallest, at 9,800 square feet, according to information from Trader Joe’s.

“The people of Utah County have wanted Trader Joe’s to come down here for years,” said Orem Mayor Richard Brunst. “When they were looking, they looked at many cities.”

According to Brunst, the University Place location was a “marriage made in heaven.”

Brunst believes Trader Joe’s will be a draw for stores inside University Place and vice versa.

“We listened to our customers on when deciding where to build,” said Marjorie Huff, the captain (manager) of the Orem location. “The big thing was timing and number of customers.”

Huff, who transferred from the Cottonwood Trader Joe’s, said she is excited for the new store and bringing their customer service to Utah County locals.

“I think Trader Joe’s will do very well,” Brunst said. “My family is excited to have it here. This is a great business to have here.”

To make sure area residents feel welcomed, Trader Joe’s is displaying the school logos from every high school in Orem and Provo and from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University.

“We get to design our own displays,” Huff said. “We are individualized to our neighborhood.”

So, for those who like Trader Joe’s products, like their Joe-Joe’s Sandwich Cookies, “Just the Clusters” cereals or Speculoos Cookie Butter, look no further than end caps that lure customers further into the dried fruits aisle or to the seasonal goods.

But don’t expect to see any of the chain’s alcoholic options for a while. The liquor license for the store is pending and store employees said it may be a month or two before beers are available for purchase.

Trader Joe’s is well-known for its unique products in addition to its everyday items. Although it’s not a full service grocer, milk, eggs and toilet paper are still available, Huff said.

One of Huff’s favorite items is the dried mangos. She says she is also looking forward to September when the fall flavors hit, like pumpkin, spiced apple and other seasonal tastes.

According to Huff, almost every product under the Trader Joe’s trademark is void of artificial coloring, trans fats and is just intended to be healthier overall.

Out of the hundreds of people who applied for jobs at the store, Huff said about 80 started training around July 1. Employees started stocking shelves more than two weeks ago.

“I love having Trader Joe’s here and seeing the excitement from the people who work here,” Huff said. “There is a good mix of people and we take care of our customers.”

According to Huff, because Trader Joe’s buys right from the producer without any middleman, they can keep product costs lower than competitors.

“It cuts on costs and gives us better quality products,” Huff said.

In keeping with the nautical theme, oars with gold bells mounted on them are fixed at each register. If management is needed for something, crew members just ring the bell.

Trader Joe’s is located at 440 Park Ave. (just northwest of Macy’s at University Place). Store hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Open Sundays.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

A 32-year veteran of covering news in Utah County, Genelle covers Provo, Orem, Faith/Religion, including the LDS Church and general assignments.

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