Memoirs of Trader Joe’s Founder to Be Released

Joe Coulombe’s take on grocery industry is shared in the new book, "Becoming Trader Joe”
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
a man standing in front of a store
Entrepreneurial merchant Joe Coulombe penned his memoirs about Trader Joe's.

A new book by the late Trader Joe’s founder Joe Coulombe on how he built his grocery business will be hitting store shelves soon. The autobiography, "Becoming Trader Joe," is scheduled be released June 22 by publishing house HarperCollins.

Coulombe started writing the reflections several years ago as a way to get his story on record. He passed away last year at the age of 89 while the book was still in the publishing process. It was completed by co-author Patty Civalleri and the entrepreneur’s longtime friend and original employee, Leroy Watson.

The book traces the founding of the chain and includes a host of anecdotes, such as the origins of now-famous employee Hawaiian shirts and Fearless Flyer newsletter. In it, the grocer also shares his beliefs in fair wages and organic foods and discusses the history of private label innovations at his stores.

The project has a multimedia component, with the book also pitched as a limited episode series for sale to cable and streaming platforms. "Becoming Trader Joe" will be available at several bookstores around the country and at

Today, the Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is owned by the Albrecht family of Germany and is part of the Aldi Nord chain. With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Trader Joe’s is No. 28 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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