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Trader Joe's Case Study

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Trader Joe’s is a privately owned American specialty grocery store chain that specializes in private labeling and providing a unique and fun shopping experience for their customers. The chain comes from humble beginnings as a convenience store in southern California. Joe Coulombe founded the first store in 1958, but at that time it was called Pronto Markets and it was a convenience store in the greater Los Angeles area. In 1967, the name was changed to what we know it as today by Joe himself. This is when he also decided to change the direction of the business away from convenience store products into more of a grocery supplier (“Our Story”). This change was sparked by the rise of the 7-11 convenience stores. Coulombe was worried that those stores would put him out of business so he decided to take a different route and venture into the world of the grocery store (Moskin). The store is known for its’ hawaiian shirt clad employees and the fun, beach and tiki theme that plays heavily into the decor of the store. Coulombe has said that he was inspired while he was sitting on the beach trying to decide how to best handle the new 7-11 competition (Seattlepi). That is where his ideas of tiki torches and hawaiian t-shirts were born. He changed the focus of the store towards low priced gourmet items without any frills to keep it simple. He made his stores small to help keep prices low (Seattlepi). The concept of making the shopping experience a fun and tropical adventure is where Joe created a competitive edge with his business. Instead of focusing on expanding the amount of products that the store carried, he made it a priority to only carry the best products, even if that made things limited. He even went deeper into the idea of a unique shopping experience by giving the products a description of where they came from and often fun, quirky names when possible...

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