Pirate Joe's Kitsilano

In case you hadn’t seen my tweets from a couple of weeks back, Pirate Joe’s has opened shop in Vancouver, on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano.

Having lived in California for nearly 20 years, I was always close to a Trader Joe’s (when I lived in West Hollywood, an enviable two blocks from one!).

Trader Joe's sign from Bellingham, WA store

Little did I realize how much I’d taken these beautifully-stocked stores for granted until I left for Europe, later returning to live in Vancity.

I spoke with Barry at the shop as I perused items now easily accessible without border lineups or several hours on the road.

All the products are bought on the up and up at the Bellingham TJ’s. Pirate Joes’ owner, Mike Hallatt, has a commerce license to bring these goodies to the 49th parallel without illegal bootlegging measures. The prices are higher to take into account costs incurred from gas, travel, and border waits.

They keep track of what items do well overall, focusing on these to bring over on a weekly basis.

I’m sure anyone who’s been to the Trader has their own favourites, so keep this shop in mind for the holidays and beyond. No, I haven’t been bribed with goods nor paid to write this post. I’m simply hoping that by spreading the word, that the shop will continue to exist let alone grow.

Ahoy, mates! Pirate Joe’s is located at 2348 West 4th Avenue. So far there’s no fixed opening hours sign, but if one gets put up, I’ll update this post. Pirate Joe’s is open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.

Trader Joe's stash from San Francisco
[My Himalayan pink salt crystal stash from a recent San Francisco Joe’s visit]


  • Comment by Morningstar — February 4, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

    Pirate joe’s sign was stolen from bellingham TJ’s ; and he does not have a commerce license ; what he is doing is illegal. He is breaking the law with his shop.

  • Comment by Bottle Rocket — February 4, 2013 @ 11:21 pm

    Yep, as a former employee of the Bellingham Trader Joe’s I know the artist who painted that sign, and it’d be a better story to know that the sign made its way back to its proper home, than that it was just stolen in the dark of night and spirited away to a shop in Kitsilano. I’m sure there are local artists who could paint him a sign all his own.
    *and corrections: these items are not bought “on the up-and-up”. The proprietor has been barred from the store in Bellingham, and now has to get supplies from Everett (aprox 70 miles south of Bellingham), and might be avoiding duties at the border.

  • Comment by arianec — February 5, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    Wow, the owner of the shop up here had me believe that it was gifted to him. I’m shaking my head as I listened to the story of their team’s heading over the border to get items each week, etc. all the while thinking that they were on the straight and narrow. I don’t know what to make of this (and Morningstar’s earlier) comments. Thanks for bringing it to light!

  • Comment by BC Dude — August 19, 2013 @ 6:25 pm

    Never piss with a 3 Billion Euro company

  • Comment by Salma — October 5, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

    I’ve only been across the border to Trader Joe’s once but it had so much great stuff. If I’m every in Kits, I’ll have to check it out.

  • Comment by Ariane Colenbrander — October 9, 2013 @ 3:12 pm

    It’s a tiny shop but fully stocked with a lot of what customers ask the owner to bring up. Lots of crackers, staple goods, canned and pre-prepared healthy meals. Love it!

  • Comment by Hmm — October 18, 2013 @ 12:17 am

    A well respected blogger not long ago wrote that TJs is for the most part for the lazy and for those who don’t want to cook. I think the blogger is spot on. Besides nobody knows where the items are made as well. TJs has also used GMO products. I dunno if they still do but it’s shameful and shows the lack of ethics with TJs. But as long as it’s trendy pop people will buy.

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