Joseph Hardin Coulombe (June 3, 1930 – February 28, 2020)[1] was an American entrepreneur. He founded the grocery store chain Trader Joe's in 1967 and ran it until his retirement in 1988.[2]

Joe Coulombe
Coulombe in 1986
Joseph Hardin Coulombe

(1930-06-03)June 3, 1930
San Diego, California, U.S.
DiedFebruary 28, 2020(2020-02-28) (aged 89)
Alma materStanford University (BA, MBA)
Known forFounder and CEO of Trader Joe's
SpouseAlice Steere

Early life and education Edit

Coulombe was born in San Diego, California, and grew up on an avocado farm in nearby Del Mar.[3][4] After serving a year in the U.S. Air Force, he attended Stanford University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1952 and a Master of Business Administration degree in 1954.[4][5] Coulombe was a member of Alpha Kappa Lambda.[6]

Career Edit

Coulombe started his career at Rexall, a chain of American drugstores. In 1958, he was asked to test the launch of Pronto Markets, a store brand to compete against 7-Eleven. After running six Pronto Markets in the Los Angeles area, Rexall asked Coulombe to liquidate them; he decided to buy them out instead.[2] In 1967, Coulombe changed the name Pronto Markets to Trader Joe's. He led the chain to success and sold it in 1979 to German billionaire Theo Albrecht, co-founder of the Aldi supermarket chain.[2][7] Coulombe continued with Trader Joe's as chief executive officer until retiring in 1988.[2]

Coulombe served on the corporate boards of Cost Plus World Market, Bristol Farms, True Religion, and Imperial Bank.[4][8]

Personal life and death Edit

In 1952, Coulombe married Alice Steere, whom he met at a party while they were students at Stanford. Alice served on the board and is a life trustee of the Los Angeles Opera.[9][10] They had three children, Joe, Charlotte, and Madeleine. Coulombe and his family lived in Pasadena, California.[4]

Coulombe was a board member of the Huntington Library,[11] the Colburn School, and the Los Angeles Opera.[4]

On February 28, 2020, Coulombe died at his home in Pasadena, at age 89.[12][4][1]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b McLellan, Dennis (February 29, 2020). "Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe's, dies at 89". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d He Brought Trader Joe's to Main Street Archived August 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine February 2006
  3. ^ Rogers, John (March 1, 2020). "Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe's grocery chain, dies at 89". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Smith, Kevin (February 29, 2020). "Trader Joe's Founder Joe Coulombe dies at age 89". Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  5. ^ "Trader Joe's founder Joe Coulumbe dies at 89". KTLA. Associated Press. February 28, 2020. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Alpha Kappa Lambda and Its Connection to Trader Joe's". April 23, 2015. Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  7. ^ Kowitt, Beth (August 23, 2010). "Inside the secret world of Trader Joe's". Fortune Magazine. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014 – via
  8. ^ Kowitt, Beth (August 23, 2010). "Meet the original Joe". Fortune Magazine. Archived from the original on February 7, 2017. Retrieved August 27, 2010 – via
  9. ^ Haithman, Diane (October 8, 2006). "Holding onto a high note". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ "Our Board". Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  11. ^ "Trustees and Governors". Retrieved February 29, 2020.
  12. ^ "Trader Joe's founder dies at age 89". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. February 29, 2020. Retrieved February 29, 2020.

External links Edit