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Atlantic Avenue Trader Joe's

During the outbreak of COVID we lived right across the street from one of the most popular branches of Trader Joe's, in Brooklyn Heights, which frequently had long lines to get in. What began as a silly distraction during those tense days turned into a full-blown community movement.

I created TraderJoesLine as a very basic Twitter account where I would literally look out my window and tweet how many people were on line at any given time. Remember those early days when people were hoarding food, scared to go outside? My simple updates would help people plan their day and provide a little joy during very stressful times. I think media loved covering what I was doing because it was a rare "feel-good" story during otherwise harrowing times.

Eventually the account grew into a movement, with followers banding together to buy groceries for emergency workers and sharing other important, hyper-local community news. Spin-off accounts inspired by mine started popping up, including those tracking lines for COVID vaccines, which I was very happy to promote.

For me this represents another example of how winning ideas can be very simple and accomplished with basic human effort. Not everything has to be complex and high tech. Sometimes, just touching on a bit of humanity can provide significant value, even if wrapped in a silly package.

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