These Are The Only States That Don't Have A Trader Joe's

Some supermarket chain behemoths may exhibit a more pretentious air, but Trader Joe's takes an entirely different approach. The neighborhood retailer is famed for its homey feel — thanks, in part, to its seemingly always smiling Hawaiin-shirt-clad crew members. It proudly boasts incredibly low prices, never offering discounts on its food because its products are already a steal, and forgoes the mega name-brand products in favor of its array of private-label goodies. What's more, the store has become all but royalty in the frozen food market, carrying delicious ready-made foods that can be heated up in a breeze. 

For many of these reasons, among many others, Trader Joe's has become a fan-favorite grocery shopping destination for loyalists across the country — at least in the states that have a TJ's presence. As it turns out, not every nook of the U.S. has a Trader Joe's. According to the data extraction service ScrapeHero, eight decidedly unlucky states are on the list of the have-nots, including Alaska, Mississippi, Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Montana. A quick perusal of Trader Joe's website indicates this is indeed true as the states are not shown on the company's list of U.S. locations.

The U.S. territories are also void of Trader Joe's

The aforementioned eight states aren't the only U.S. locations that can't readily get their hands on Trader Joe's products. The country's five main territories — including the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico — are also void of the supermarket chain. 

During a 2018 episode of the chain's "Inside Trader Joe's" podcast, the company's former chief executive officer, Dan Bane, who retired in July 2023, explained why opening Trader Joe's locations outside of the contiguous U.S. wouldn't be feasible. "Opening stores outside the 48 states requires us to solve unique logistical and operational problems, and we would only open stores where we are able to bring real value to our customers," he explained, per the Anchorage Daily News.

This explains why TJ's hasn't set up shop in the five major U.S. territories or states like Hawaii and Alaska. And, a recent Reddit post alludes to why the chain isn't available in some states within the contiguous U.S., such as South Dakota and Montana. Speaking about the latter, Reddit user @RiskizMax stated the reason why it hadn't opened in Bozeman, one of Montana's most populated cities, was "because it would require opening a Trader Joe's distribution warehouse nearby," something the user noted the company would only do if there were at least three TJ's locations open in that area. 

States with the most Trader Joe's locations

Some states may be completely free of Trader Joe's; however, others are simply teeming with them. In total, there are currently 571 Trader Joe's locations in the U.S., according to ScrapeHero, with new locations opening every year. California tops the list with 196 locations, which accounts for 34% of the chain's stores. The bustling metropolis of Los Angeles has the highest concentration, which should come as no surprise.

Rounding out the top three is New York, with 34 stores, leaving Washington and Florida tied for third place, each one containing 26 stores. Following closely behind in the top ten are Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, Arizona, and Virginia, each with 23, 22, 20, 19, 18, and 15 stores, respectively.

There is, however, a silver lining for anyone living in a U.S. state, territory, or even a city that doesn't provide ample access to the budget grocery chain. In true friendly fashion, Trader Joe's has a section on its website, called "Request a Trader Joe's in My City," where people can submit recommendations for a particular area they'd like to see a store opened in. "There are no guarantees, but being wanted matters to us," the company's website reads.