He put the “Joe” in Trader Joe’s and created the specialty discount store we know and love. Joseph Coulombe, the founder of Trader Joe’s, passed away at the age of 89. He founded the first store in 1958 in Pasadena, California.
The New York Times states, “[he] died on Friday at his home in Pasadena, Calif. He was 89. The death was confirmed by his son, Joseph.”
Coulombe initially opened Trader Joe’s as a store for those who were more educated and wanted better products, but on a budget. He specifically wanted to feature international products and alcohol.
What began as a journey to differentiate his business from the masses, soon turned into the popular store we know and love today. Coulombe actually owned a small chain of stores before Trader Joe’s – When he realized he couldn’t keep up with the regular market, the idea for Trader Joe’s was born.
According to Deadline, “Coulombe sold Trader Joe’s to German supermarket company Aldi in 1979, but remained CEO until 1988.”
Despite stepping down from the role of CEO over 30 years ago, Trader Joe’s caters to the same needs and values as the day it opened.
RIP Joe Coulombe. Your legacy is living on!