MIAMI (CBS4) – The wait is over.

South Florida’s first Trader Joe’s, an extremely popular specialty grocery store, opened its doors at 8 a.m. in Pinecrest.

“It was like a madhouse, a lot of people grabbing everything,” said customer Ellie Robbins.

The grocery store chain has a cult following across the country.

“We truly are a unique neighborhood grocery store. We carry everything from the exotics to the basics,” said Trader Joe’s Jodi McClough. “Eighty percent of our products fall under the private Trader Joe label which means it’s free of artificial colors flavors ingredients preservatives.”

“I’m so excited for this. I think we need something like that in this neighborhood,” said Elenor Scheno.

The 13,500 square foot store is on South Dixie Highway just south of Dadeland Blvd. It’s located in the 9200 block of South Dixie Highway, where a Borders bookstore used to be located.

About two dozen people lined up before dawn to be the first to check it out on opening day.

Mel Lipton showed up at 5:30 a.m.

“It’s going to be a fun thing. I think that, I’ve been looking forward to this, I live right around the neighborhood and I’m about five minutes from here. My friend Karen and I told a lot of people we were going to be here and they thought we were nuts but I thought it would be a lot of fun,” said Lipton.

The stores 89 designated parking spots were not enough for the influx of shoppers.

“There was nothing, we went that way found a spot then he was afraid he was gonna get towed so then he went some place.” said customer Betty Berson.

“We were here at 8 o’clock and there was no parking, people are parking all over,” added Michael Cornley.

Tow trucks showed up to remove cars from surrounding parking lots.

“The customers are using everyone’s parking spots they don’t have parking for their customers making it hard for them to conduct biz so were out here fixing all those problems,” said Carmelo Gonzalez with Whitts Tow Away Inc.

This is the fifth Trader Joe’s to open in Florida. Other stores are located in Naples, Sarasota, Gainesville and Tallahassee.

In you plan to check it out be advised there may be a parking issue – the store has only 89 spaces.


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