International publishing house HarperCollins Leadership has launched the highly anticipated book Becoming Trader Joe. The story of the grocery brand’s revolutionary success is told by the founder, Joe Coulombe. This book takes the reader on an exploration into the creative and expansive mind of a true entrepreneur who made his riches by seeing opportunities where others would miss them.
Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, said, “We should all be inspired to think like Joe. He shares how to get from ‘where you are’ to ‘where you want to be’ by thinking outside the box. What a fascinating life!”
In 1967, Coulombe owned 16 “variety stores” when a Texas retail force was positioned to come to California and challenge his success. That “Texas force” was the 7-11 retail chain.
The concept for Trader Joe’s coalesced from several pieces of stimuli: a popular theme park boat ride, movies like Beyond the Reef were playing in the theaters, and the fact that Trader Vic’s had invented and popularized the Mai Tai drink with little umbrellas. All of these pieces came together in Coulombe’s mind to form his final vision.
“At a time in American history when frozen dinners and processed foods were the trusted staples, Joe saw the opportunity to create a different type of grocery store for the ‘over-educated and underpaid’ consumer, the burgeoning middle class. The book is filled with stories of brilliant marketing moves, including the story about ‘Extra-large eggs’ that readers will surely enjoy,” said Leroy Watson, Coulombe’s first employee and life-long friend.
In his own words, Coulombe takes readers on a journey from the different phases and business strategies of Trader Joe’s which in many ways mirrored the same growth and expansion he went through personally throughout the process. From the “Good Time Charlie” phase where the signature Hawaiian shirt was born to the “Whole Earth Harry” phase in which the organic food strategy came to fruition to the “Mac the Knife” phase which catapulted Trader Joe’s to the success it still enjoys today.
Coulombe passed away in 2020 at the age of 89 during the publication of this book. In celebration of his life and as a true labor of love, co-author Patty Civalleri and Coulombe’s right-hand man Leroy Watson, have made it their mission to fulfill his legacy by following through with the publication of this book.
Becoming Trader Joe is now being packaged as a limited episode series for sale to the cable and streaming platforms. “This is a true ‘David and Goliath’ story,” said Civalleri. “Joe went up against the big guys and by all accounts, he shouldn’t have succeeded.”
The book Becoming Trader Joe is scheduled for release on June 22, 2021 and can be found on Amazon or at a bookstore near you.