Every time you leave Trader Joe’s with your brown paper bags filled with groceries you scored at a bargain price, you might be wishing there was someone you could thank on your way out. You’re in luck; Trader Joe is an actual person! Well, sadly his name isn’t actually Trader Joe—it’s Joe Coulombe. (Want even better deals on groceries? Try this online grocery store where everything costs only $3.)
Joe Coulombe is still alive today after opening his first Trader Joe’s store in 1967. After graduating from Stanford with his MBA, he took a job with a popular pharmacy company, Rexall. Rexall launched five convenient stores and Coulombe was put in charge of one of them.
They were opened to compete with stores like 7-Eleven, but didn’t end up doing that well so Rexall shut them down. Instead of letting the store go, Coulombe decided to buy it from Rexall and rebrand.
At the time, the Tiki trend was very popular so Coulombe decided to base the name off of the popular Tiki restaurant chain, Trader Vic’s. Employees wore Hawaiian grass skirts and the store gave customers unique foods that regular supermarkets didn’t carry. It was an instant hit.
In 1979, Coulombe sold the company to Theo Albrecht, but stayed on as the chief executive until he retired. The Albrecht family still owns the company today.
Haven’t you also always wondered what CVS stands for? Here’s the answer.
[Source: The Daily Meal]