Joe Coulombe founded Trader Joe’s, and he had a certain vision for the type of customers that the store would attract. Those who are underpaid and overqualified would finally have a place to shop. Discount food shopping should not be the exclusive domain of stores that are only looking to provide discounted “junk” food.
Joe envisioned a world where journalists and classical musicians would be able to find their favorites. It is safe to say that he was able to realize that vision. Now that he has passed away at the age of 89, it is time for a true remembrance of this trailblazer. After he graduated from Stanford University, the San Diego native opened the first Trader Joe’s 53 years ago.
The initial location was in Pasadena, California. He was looking to cater to the consumer that wanted to spend a bit less on quality foods. Everyone does not have the money to spend big on groceries and Joe wanted to make sure that these shoppers were not forced to go without.
International goods were sold at price points that everyone could afford. This principle remained in place, even as the chain slowly started to expand throughout the country.
Good food at a good value was his primary objective. As anyone who shops at these stores today can tell you, he definitely succeeded when it came to this goal. Aldi Nord is the German grocer who decided to purchase the store from Joe once he was ready to step down as chief executive.
The focus on organic and natural foods still remains today. The stores have an inventory that is always changing. Even the inexpensive wines remain readily accessible. The store’s ethos is never going to change and we are sure that Joe is proud of what the brand has become. Who would have thought that this company would come so far in 50 short years?
Trader Joe’s workers are well compensated and receive full benefits, employee benefits being another area of emphasis Joe instilled. Rest in peace, sir. We are going to be tipping some of the classic “two-buck Chuck” in your honor!