The Reason Trader Joe's Parking Lots Are So Small

Storefront of Trader Joe's in Los Angeles.
Storefront of Trader Joe's in Los Angeles. / Amanda Edwards/GettyImages

One thing more frustrating than navigating the aisles in Trader Joe’s is making it through the parking lot. Dedicated parking at the cult grocery chain is limited compared to traditional supermarkets, which can make finding a spot as stressful as nabbing the last jar of Cookie Butter. If you’re desperate for your local store to add more room for cars, keep waiting. Trader Joe’s parking lots are small for a reason, and that’s not likely to change anytime soon. 

As Food & Wine reports, the source of customers’ parking woes was recently explained on the brand’s official podcast “Inside Trader Joe’s.” The size of most Trader Joe’s parking lots can be traced to the layout of the stores. The buildings themselves are smaller than most supermarkets. While big box grocery chains are often built with ample room for parking, Trader Joe’s properties come with a smaller footprint overall. 

So if the number of parking spaces complements the square footage of the store, why does it feel insufficient? The reason may have to do with the high traffic Trader Joe’s pulls in on a daily basis. The aisles are busy throughout the day, leading to a crowded, hectic shopping experience. This energy often carries over to the parking lot outside. New shoppers always seem to be arriving, so competition for parking spots is high. Luckily employees know how to get customers in and out fast, and if you’re patient new spaces will clear up quickly. 

“Inside Trader Joe’s” provides a wealth of information for Trader Joe’s fans who want the inside scoop on their favorite grocery chain. They recently revealed why the brand doesn’t offer online orders or deliveries. You can check out our summary of the explanation here