The best stores are temples to belief systems.
They’re places to enter into a fantasy world, practice our religion, worship objects of devotion, experience products that inspire fervor, humbly walk in reverie, soak up the ambiance, kibbutz with people who share our worldview, take refuge from everyday life, seek shelter from the winds of the world and feel something closer to love than simple convenience.
Which sounds like hyperbole, until you walk into a place like Trader Joe’s.
For the past thirty years, they’ve mastered the art of creating an atmosphere worth coming to, a second home where customers just happen to shop, an entire universe that people can become a part of, a place that feeds the heart and soul of everyone who comes into contact with it.
Is it any surprise that they have the highest sales per square foot of any grocer in the country? Is it any surprise that they have the friendliest, happiest and most helpful employees on the planet? Is it any surprise their customers are so loyal that many routinely travel to other cities to shop there?
Not in the slightest.
Because they’re not just a store that displays and sells groceries to people, they’re a temple that creates and holds a whole meaning system for people.