The Trader Joe's Adventure: Turning a Unique Approach to Business into a Retail and Cultural Phenomenon

Len Lewis, Author . Dearborn $24.95 (215p) ISBN 978-1-4195-0013-8

Over the past five decades, popular niche grocer Trader Joe's has grown into a $2.6-billion chain boasting 234 stores in 19 states. How it got there—from a small chain of California convenience stores bought by Joe Coulombe in 1958—has the makings of corporate legend. Lewis, former editor-in-chief of Progressive Grocer , has an authoritative voice, but he simply cannot overcome an unfortunate dearth of raw material. Apparently, executives at Trader Joe's, 80% of whose goods are sold under the chain's private label, have never seen any point in providing an inside look at the company; Lewis is forced to stretch, and too often, repeat the little information that is publicly available. The result features a lot of filler: a plethora of secondhand opinions from industry experts, generic how-to advice and a chapter on the chain's corporate owner, German grocery giant Aldi, which turns out to be just as publicity shy as Trader Joe's. On the positive side, the major components of the company's success are made crystal clear: carve out a niche that the rest of the industry has ignored, serve it in a way that is difficult for competitors to copy and squeeze every dime to maintain the low-cost position. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/13/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-60714-512-7
Paperback - 234 pages - 978-1-60978-001-2
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