Neighbors in the vicinity of the new, very much anticipated, long-delayed Trader Joe's at Fulton and Laguna streets in Hayes Valley have been noticing some very well-stocked shelves and refrigerator cases in recent days. And now we have the official word on the opening.

Last we knew, Trader Joe's was aiming for a June debut in its new digs at 555 Fulton. But it's happening a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Those who have walked by in recent days have seen big bins of fresh melons by the front door and refrigerator cases full of perishable goods along a back wall, indicating that an opening was probably imminent.

Trader Joe's corporate confirmed the news Tuesday afternoon that the store will open Friday, May 17, at 9 am — with a ceremonial ribbon cutting taking place at 8:55 am.

Photo: Jay Barmann/SFNews

The 12,874-square-foot store has a front door is on Laguna Street, and there is underground parking with an entrance on Fulton Street. Interior murals depict local landmarks like City Hall and the Davies Symphony Hall.

The store's hours will be 9 am to 9 pm, seven days a week. And you can expect the full array of TJ's products, pre-made salads and frozen meals, as well as wine, beer, and other alcohol.

Like at other locations, the company will donate 100% of expiring products that go unsold but remain fit to enjoy to a range of non-profit, community-based organizations each day.

"As a neighborhood grocery store, Trader Joe’s prides itself on hiring where our store is located," the company says in a release. "More than seventy new Crew Members will be hired for this store from surrounding local neighborhoods."

Hiring is still underway, and anyone interested in applying can visit traderjoes.com/careers for more information.

The story of this retail space dates back a full decade now, when the new residential building at 555 Fulton was first proposed. A Trader Joe's was among the first tenants proposed for the largest retail space in the building, but it ran up against the neighborhood's formula retail ban, was replaced in the plan by a Portland-based grocer with fewer locations who later backed out, and then a few months before the pandemic began Trader Joe's won a formula-retail exception from the city's Planning Commission, allowing them to move forward with the store.

It's now been five years — the building also got mired in that Mohammed Nuru bribery scandal in between — and now the neighborhood will finally get its long awaited grocery store and one-stop shop for snack foods and shrink-wrapped produce.

In a year's time, this could end up being the only grocery store serving this end of the Western Addition as well — with the planned closure of the Safeway at Webster and Geary already in the works.

Trader Joe's - 788 Laguna Street at Fulton, opening Friday, May 17 at 9 am

Previously: Construction Is Actually Happening Inside the Forever-Delayed Trader Joe's In Hayes Valley