[2], Coulombe served on the corporate boards of Cost Plus World Market, Bristol Farms, True Religion, and Imperial Bank. In addition to his son, Mr. Coulombe is survived by his wife, Alice (Steere) Coulombe, whom he met when both were students at Stanford and married in 1952; two daughters, Charlotte Schoenmann and Madeleine Coulombe; and six grandchildren. To compete with 7-Eleven, he was given the task to create a group of stores thus he even worked on grocery stores without even getting paid just for the sake to understand it. Whatever the description, for Mr. Coulombe the key was keeping the focus on the target group he originally envisioned, those “overeducated, underpaid” consumers eager for healthy products at a good price. “Equal parts gourmet shop, discount warehouse and Tiki trading post,” his stores caught on in Southern California and, eventually, beyond. [9][10] They had three children, Joe, Charlotte, and Madeleine. Coulombe continued with Trader Joe’s as chief executive until retiring in 1988. In 1958, he was asked to test the launch of Pronto Markets, a store brand to compete against 7-Eleven. He was 89. He also served a year in the Air Force. His son recalled learning to count by counting parking spaces at potential sites. Born on June 3, 1930, Coulombe was raised on an … He led the chain to success and sold it in 1979 to German billionaire Theo Albrecht, co-founder of the Aldi supermarket chain.

She served on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles Opera. He started his career at Rexall. [4], On February 28, 2020, Coulombe died at his home in Pasadena. “They were so huge, I decided I’d better get the hell out of convenience-store retailing,” he told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1987. Alice served on the board and is a life trustee of the Los Angeles Opera. Joseph Coulombe, who in 1967 parsed a few cultural trends, added his retail instincts and created Trader Joe’s, the popular grocery chain known for unusual foods, a … Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. His father, also named Joseph, was an engineer at Convair, an aircraft manufacturer, and his mother, Carmelita (Hardin) Coulombe, was a teacher. He gave it a South Seas motif, had employees wear tropical shirts and be extra friendly, and included exotic cheeses and foods from afar among the stock for the adventurous palate. Joseph Coulombe opened his first Trader Joe’s store in Pasadena, Calif. Mr. Coulombe, in an undated photo. He was a graduate of Stanford Business School and was a …

He also read somewhere that the more education people had, the more alcohol they drank. Soon he was emphasizing natural foods, organic foods and other “green” trends and had launched Trader Joe’s own label for numerous products, many of them at low prices. In 1967, Coulombe changed the name Pronto Markets to Trader Joe's. The chain’s distinctive spot in the grocery landscape is evident from the way Mr. Coulombe’s creation has been described over the years. He served on the Boards of Directors of Cost Plus and True Religion Apparel.

He successfully created six stores named “Pronto Markets” in Los Angeles and surrounding areas but Rexall officials informed him to shut it down. Thus with the complete new mindset and different approach, he launched a new chain called Trader Joe’s with the first store in Pasadena, California. Career. Often it was Mr. Coulombe himself. Although he would make his mark with stores known for interesting, healthy foods, the cuisine of his childhood, he told Los Angeles Magazine, was dominated by New England boiled dinners, a legacy of his paternal grandmother, and bacon-fat-heavy “Southern suicide cuisine” from his mother’s side of the family. When the first Trader Joe’s opened in New York City in 2006, it was the 253rd. He founded the grocery store chain Trader Joe’s in 1967. Joseph Hardin Coulombe was born on June 3, 1930, in San Diego. Joe Coulombe Bio, Wiki. [4][8], In 1952, Coulombe married Alice Steere, whom he met at a party while they were students at Stanford. “I must sample about 4,000 wines a year,” he told The New York Times in 1987. He founded the grocery store chain Trader Joe's in 1967 and ran it until his retirement in 1988. [4], Coulombe was a board member of the Huntington Library,[11] the Colburn School, and the Los Angeles Opera.

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