Hawaiian shirts make everyone happy. It's not a statement, but pure fact. Up on the wall at Trader Joe's hangs a list of the top reasons why everyone shops at the venerable supermarket chain. And while waiting in line to just eavesdrop on any number of checkout conversations does merit consideration on the big board, the shirts are nice … very nice.

Adorned by the friendly staff who love their job (maybe it's because of the good pay and benefits), the staff give you the organic eating, wild salmon munching consumer the tender love and care you richly deserve. If you still crave for even more attention grab a box of TLC near the snack aisle, no helpful advice here, just some Tasty Little Crackers. There's plenty to eat.

Named after founder Joe Coulombe, the Trader Joe's chain was established in 1958, first starting in the greater Los Angeles area as a chain of “Pronto Market” convience stores similar to that of late night munchie store 7-Eleven.

Feeling that competition against 7-Eleven would prove to a disaster, Coulombe set sail on a new concept. Inspired by his trip to Tahiti, the South Seas motif and plethora of tiki shirts adorned by all store employees was born.

The first Trader Joe's opened in Pasadena, Calif. (Arroyo Parkway) in 1966. Coulombe realized that as more Americans traveled and tried new cuisine, they came home knowing that such products were not sold in their everyday supermarkets. Facing a wave of strong competition from 7-Eleven, the chain began to differentiate in 1967, unique products (no slurpees) were sold in the store and floor space doubled.

Nowadays picking up a nice cut of sirloin would be a breeze, pick it up in its nicely sealed package and throw it in the basket but back in the early years of operation it meant having a little chit chat with the butcher, as the store offered fresh meats provided by butchers who leased space in the store. Sandwich shops, freshly cut cheese and fresh squeezed orange were also original staples. After 40 years of operation the results are still as strong as ever, in its October 2006 issue, Consumer Reports ranked Trader Joe's as the second best national supermarket chain in the U.S.

The number two has had a prominent spot within the aisles over the years. Sure, the nut aisle is outstanding and the wall of pasta from farfalle to rigatoni is superb but what makes them keep coming and coming is the Two Buck Chuck. Charles Shaw where have you been all our lives.

California Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot – they're all there. At $1.99, its no doubt a bargain, the chalkboard sign above the nicely stacked bottles says it all, 240 million bottles sold and if there's to be any number of cheese parties or just excuses to relax after a hard work week, the figure looks to approach a steady climb for a long time to come.

Don't fret drinkers, enjoy some nice cider as you peruse through the aisles. Pick up a cup or two at the manned station, a tiki hut no less.

Trader Joe's has over 120 locations in California. For more information, visit www.traderjoes.com .