In 2006, near the height of the nation’s recent real estate bubble, Trader Joe’s opened its first store in Manhattan near Union Square, where it would compete in a symbiotic foodie arena that included the big city’s most active greenmarket, a three-story Whole Foods location, and local chains Balducci’s and Garden of Eden. Area bloggers rejoiced. How could the Monrovia, Calif.-based chain not soon take over New York? Hundreds of fans were waiting outside in ...

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