The founder of Trader Joe’s, Joe Coulombe, has died

Sad news today for avid Trader Joe’s fans. The popular unconventional grocery store chain’s founder, Joe Coulombe has died at 89-years-old.

Coulombe started the chain in 1967 targeting conscious consumers he described as over-educated but underpaid. Coulombe himself was highly educated, graduating from Stanford University with a degree in economics in 1952 and a master’s degree in business from the same prestigious institution two years later.

The first Trader Joe’s store opened in 1967 in Pasadena, California. The original store still stands. That original store had a nautical theme and workers there were described as “traders on the high seas.”


According to a statement released by his family, Coulombe died as a result of a prolonged illness. Coulombe leaves behind his wife of 67 years Alice, their three children and six grandchildren.

Trader Joe’s has 7 locations in Georgia.

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