Tag Archives: Trader Joe

Life After Wal-Mart


Wal-Mart via Wikipedia

A Wal-Mart store moves into a small Texas town and local retailers are devastated, a well documented phenomena.  But which businesses remain and thrive along the Main Street?

Several law offices around the corner from the courthouse and a solitary insurance agent. A bail bondsman further down the street and a pawn shop in an alley leading to a bus station.  An auto parts store next to a glass shop, another block away.  And a barber shop.

Barber Pole © Creighton Matthews

Barber Pole © Creighton Matthews

Not one of those beauty salons where ladies have their hair done. The salons moved to the mall by the interstate, between a pizza chain and a cineplex. This is a proper barber shop with a striped red, white and blue pole outside, a place where guys go to get a cut.

The fellows seated inside looked like they were connected or belonged to a fraternal organization or simply prone to hoarding automatic weapons. This was one business not going to be outsourced to Shanghai. I walked away in a hurry.

Wal-Mart is easy to hate. It’s certainly big enough, employing two million people and with sales of over a hundred billion a quarter, bigger than the economy of Venezuela.  Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s.

BTW, check out Creighton’s beautiful photos.

Dead Kidnapped Germans Own Trader

Trader Joe's Storefront

Image via Wikipedia








Bet that got your attention.


I’m talking about my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s. Turns out it’s owned by German billionaire brothers, Theo and Karl Albrecht, whose claim to fame and fortune is a chain of some 2400 discount  supermarket stores in Europe, named Aldi. They bought Trader’s in 1979 from some Joseph Coulombe. There was never a Joe.

To clarify, of the two Albrecht brothers, Theo is recently deceased at 88. Karl, who was kidnapped back in 1971, to the tune of $2 million, is alive and worth tens of billions.

Will these revelations change whether I shop at Trader’s for life’s essentials – chocolate covered cherries from Hungary, Mediterranean humus with pine nuts, Manchego cheese from Spain? I cannot help it and will keep going back.

Theo Albrecht
Theo Albrecht

I dislike large malls, purveyors of retail entertainment the size of a community college campus. Do we really buy that much stuff? But Trader’s stores are smaller than a typical supermarket, and people who work there are weird in a pleasant way. They are kinda cute with the whole casual dress and organic eco-friendly thing.  And they smile a bunch and I think they mean it.  The prices are not as incredibly low as they used to be a decade ago, but low enough to get me in the door at least once a week.  Thanks, Theo, and good bye.


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