On February 28, Joe Coulombe, businessman and founder of Trader Joe’s, passed away from an unspecified illness. Coulombe was 89 years old, and spent his life bringing unique and delicious foods to shoppers all across the United States.
Coulombe originally founded Trader Joe’s in 1967 in Pasadena, California. He always had the customers’ best interests in mind, and wanted to ensure that they were not only getting the best customer service possible, but the best products and ingredients as well.
Coulombe’s son, whose name is also Joe, told the Associated Press that his father “wanted to make sure whatever was sold in our store was of good value.”
Many people who have shopped at Trader Joe’s have probably noticed the creative packaging, pleasant design, and bright Hawaiian shirts worn by workers. These all contribute to the overall cheerful and delightful Trader Joe’s atmosphere that is so loved by its customers.
There are multiple reasons why the chain is so popular with shoppers.
“[Trader Joe’s] has cultivated a broad customer base with its low prices, unique offerings, and charming store features,” Shoshy Ciment of Business Insider said.
Coulombe not only cared about the customers, but also about the employees at Trader Joe’s, which is a testament to how great of a person he really was. Many Trader Joe’s workers have spoken out about how they are treated with kindness and respect.
“I like it here. Most retail jobs are strict, they’re flexible with schedules,” Trader Joe’s worker Will Seay told The Huffington Post.
The way Trader Joe’s workers are treated is due to Coulombe’s strong moral character. He made it clear from the very start that his intention with opening the Trader Joe’s market chain was to spread joy and quality products to all, including his workers.
Coulombe also cared for the environment. In 1977, Trader Joe’s began to use reusable bags, known as “Save-A-Tree” bags, which were canvas and made out of reusable and recyclable paper, as opposed to plastics. The fact that Coulombe approved and initiated this decision back in the 1970’s, which was a time when most businesses cared more about saving money than taking care of the environment, further goes to show what a compassionate person he was.
The company was officially sold to a German grocery retailer in 1979, but they still endeavored to run the company in the considerate way Coulombe first established. His good-willed and ethical mindset will forever be used to run the company.
“Trader Joe’s has always been my favorite place to shop, not only because I love their food, but because of the overall good vibes both the workers and shoppers have,” junior Sarah Daks said.
Joe Coulombe was a kind-hearted person who wanted to bring a pleasant shopping experience for Americans to enjoy. Coulombe will be truly missed by many, but his spirit will live on through his beloved stores.