Food - Drink
Trader Joe's Wasn't Originally A Grocery Store
By Katherine Beck
Shopping at a Trader Joe's store is like traveling around the world in a dozen or so aisles. From the Caramel Washed Gouda created in the Netherlands to Korean-inspired Kimchi & Tofu Soup, it's easy to get lost in the abundance of flavors and unique items sold at the national chain — but did you know it wasn't always a grocery store?
It may be hard to believe that Trader Joe's actually started out as a re-branded convenience store bought by founder Joe Coulombe in 1967. Coulombe stuck with the convenience store style for a short time, but began to redevelop the business as a health food store combined with a gourmet food and liquor store.
In 1977, Trader Joe's evolved into the store we know today when Coulombe decided to stop carrying household basics and cleaning items in order to focus on food items and creating private labels. This led to Trader Joe's mostly carrying its own affordable in-house brands, rather than selling other name-brand products.