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After months of secrecy, Trader Joe’s has announced it will open its first Buffalo-area store Oct. 11.

The store with a passionate following – 400 people lined up outside a new Trader Joe’s near Albany when it opened last October, and 300 lined up outside a new Pittsford store last October – has been under construction beside the Barnes & Noble store on Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst.

Known for its wide variety of “adventurous” specialty and gourmet items that are often organic and free of artificial colors and preservatives, about 80 percent of its products are sold under the Trader Joe’s label.

The store enters a highly competitive supermarket landscape in Western New York, among Wegmans, Tops, ALDI (Trader Joe’s sister store), Dash’s, Budwey’s and several others.

Many are tailoring their offerings to the kinds of specialty products Trader Joe’s offers.

In fact, Tops recently launched a separate arm of gourmet stores called Orchard Fresh that caters to the same educated, affluent, quality-focused shoppers that Trader Joe’s serves.

“Amherst is a wonderful community filled with foodies, and we are looking forward to being part of the neighborhood,” said Alison Mochizuki, a spokeswoman for Trader Joe’s.

Trader Joe’s regularly lands near the top of Consumer Reports’ annual supermarket rankings in terms of customer satisfaction. This year, it came in at number one, followed by Wegmans.

One of the chain’s most popular offerings, Charles Shaw wine, will not be available here because New York State prohibits wine sales in grocery stores. Nicknamed “two-buck Chuck,” the private-label wine is inexpensive, yet highly rated.

The 12,000-square-foot store is adjacent to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Boulevard Consumer Square, on the site of the former Famous Footwear store, which has relocated to 1701 Niagara Falls Blvd.

Trader Joe’s will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Trader Joe’s is also noted for its generous employee compensation and high job satisfaction among employees.

The company offers medical, dental and vision coverage to eligible full- and part-time workers, and contributes to employee retirement plans.

The Amherst store has yet to begin staffing. Those interested can obtain applications online on the Trader Joe’s website and should apply in person at the store beginning Sept. 3 at 10 a.m. The company declined to disclose how many workers it will hire.

Trader Joe’s is a privately held chain of grocery stores that, like Aldi’s, is owned by Germany’s Albrecht family.

It is headquartered in Monrovia, Calif., and has more than 400 stores in 35 states.

email: schristmann@buffnews.com