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‘Trader Joe’s Pronto’: Company launches grab-and-go concept amid controversy

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MANHATTAN, N.Y. (WPIX) – Trader Joe’s has launched a grab-and-go concept in New York City called Trader Joe’s Pronto, opening the shop directly next to an existing Trader Joe’s store near Union Square.

The new Pronto store currently occupies a space that formerly housed the location’s adjacent wine shop, which closed in 2022 and prompted complaints from a labor group.

“Trader Joe’s Pronto is a one-of-a-kind extension of our store in Union Square,” a spokesperson for Trader Joe’s confirmed to Nexstar. “This additional space allows us to carry more of the products our customers in this neighborhood purchase daily.”

The Pronto shop offers a selection of sandwiches, salads, yogurts, beverages and other ready-to-eat snacks, as seen in videos shared to social media.

One TikTok user who documented her visit added that there were “basically no lines” at checkout, especially compared to the more traditional Trader Joe’s next door.

She also theorized that Trader Joe’s is probably planning to open more Pronto locations in the near future, though the company has since confirmed that not to be the case.

“We do not have plans to open additional Trader Joe’s Pronto markets in New York or elsewhere in the country,” a spokesperson said.

The wine shop that formerly occupied the Pronto space closed abruptly on Aug. 11, 2022, leaving New Yorkers confused as to why the affordable store shuttered its doors.

trader joe's
Passersby react to the closure of the Trader Joe’s Wine Shop on 14th St. in New York City on Aug. 11, 2022. (Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)

Shortly after its closure, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against Trader Joe’s, claiming the company shuttered the store to prevent workers from unionizing. In response, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) scheduled a hearing for later this year concerning the allegations and the possible reopening of the wine shop.

When the Pronto shop opened in the same space, however, the UFCW issued another statement, calling the new store “a giant slap in the face.”

“We believe Trader Joe’s is doing everything in its power to prevent a profitable unionized shop from reopening,” the statement read, in part. “We refuse to let Trader Joe’s continue to get away with their egregious and illegal union-busting tactics.”

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