Cover Image: Becoming Trader Joe

Becoming Trader Joe

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Member Reviews

Was happy to see a book about TJ's - a favorite of mine.

Interesting to learn about the Joe Coulombe's beginnings in the chain store business, and the ladder he had to climb. Also interesting to find out his changes and innovations in establishing TJs, actually was presented with more than I needed, but good to have in my back pocket just in case. What was most astonishing was the discovery that this founder sold the business long before I ever stepped foot in the store that is one of my favorites! Who knew?

He went on to consulting and "fixing" companies that came to him for help, and served on boards until he seemed rather weary of all of it. He ends his book with:

Au Revoir. . .
What can be said of board work, can be said about writing this book. It was satisfying, challenging and appropriate to my age. Joseph Conrad said in The Mirror of the Sea,

To deal with men is as fine an art as to deal with ships. Both men and ships live in an unstable element, and are subject to subtle and powerful influences, and want to have their merits understood rather than their faults found out.

I hope you have understood my merits more than you have found out my faults.

[Joe Coulombe died in 2020. RIP]

*A sincere thank you to Joe Coulombe, HarperCollins Leadership, and NetGalley for an ARC to read and review.* #BecomingTraderJoe #NetGalley

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I have thoroughly enjoyed the stories captured in Becoming Trader Joe. This is a fascinating memoir and I will recommend it to my audience.

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This book has a treasure trove of great insights, but it desperately needs the services of a good editor! Through the mish-mash of stories that were thrown in, the author finds it hard to form any cohesive theme. Joe Coulombe may have been a maverick when it comes to business decisions, writing a memoir in a slapdash manner doesnt always have the intended effect.

Thanks to HarperCollins Leadership and NetGalley for the eARC

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Thank you HarperCollins Leadership ​and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book.
This business memoir is a great read! It's filled with interesting strategies to capture the market of college-educated individuals seeking diversity. The author's emphasis on paying workers well is commendable. If you're a fan of Trader Joe's, you'll love the specifics about buying fish, cheese, wine, and more. The inclusion of pretentious yet captivating history/literature quotes adds a unique touch and showcases the author's personality. Overall, a delightful and engaging book!

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Trader Joes has been one of my favourite stores in recent years and a must stop when I visit the USA. When I saw this I was deeply interested in hearing the story of this great company.

I enjoy reading business related books and this one was fantastic. I really enjoyed hearing how Trader Joes came to be and took some things away to think about as I manage the business I work in.

This was a great read and one I will be recommending to friends and family for a long time.

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Not my favorite format. It’s almost like it’s half memoir, half leadership and it just overall wasn’t what I expected.

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I've always loved Trader Joe's and have gotten my fair share of others hooked, mostly when I was traveling for work. It was always one of my first searches when I got my travel plans. I'm not a big shopper and TJ's small stores with limited choices works for me! Even though they're always busy, regardless where you are, it's quick to get in and out. I loved getting a look into the background of how this chain developed and why certain choices were made. My current city is lucky to have not one, but two, Trader Joe's stores now after hearing rumors for years that we were getting one. And yes, they are about 20 minutes apart. haha I'm lucky enough to be between them so I have choices. The employees may not be quite as well paid (in comparison to other chains) as they once were, but clearly things are still good there judging by the positive attitudes of employees.

Thanks to HarperCollins Leadership and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review. I ultimately listened to the audiobook version.

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Joe Coulombe never took the expected path in any of his business decisions. He chose to break the mold in so many amazing ways, and this is what really differentiates Trader Joe's in the marketplace. Limited SKUs, private label products, no in-store deliveries, along with no cigarettes or liquor stock - theses are just a few of the ways he made Trader Joe's into an extremely profitable company with a cult following. This first hand account shares these successes, but also the mistakes- tax consequences, robberies, product overbuying, advertising products that never arrived, product stations that the employees hated and many more. The book seemed to lack focus and meandered from memoir to not-so-humble brag to business treatise to historical record and back again. Additionally, the tone of the book was very off-putting.

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I love a great business book, especially one showcasing the success of a well known company. However, this one was extremely disappointing. It was disjointed and not well written. I struggled through the first half and then couldnt continue any longer. Its a shame because their are interesting stories within— but it needs someone to cohesively flow the stories together to make it an easier read.

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I love Trader Joe's! My obsession with the brand has grown somewhat since I no longer have access to it (we now live in Hawai'i).

This book is targeted more towards people who would like to operate a business rather than fans of the Trader Joe's lines. However, every Trader Joe's fan will appreciate who wrote this book and the insight he offers to make an utterly beloved branding.

Thank you Net Galley for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This is a very interesting and engaging read, especially if you're interested in the brand or in entrepreneurship at all!
There was never a time I was bored or zoned out, this is extremely well written! I do think this would be a great audio, so if you have access to it, I recommend that!!

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Oh mayn I cruised through this book in a few hours and now I want to go to Trader Joe's (somebody get me on a plane).

It's a business book that challenges you to believe in yourself and the business that pays you so you are not distracted.Initially it can be confusing but if you hang on to it, it gets better . I received a complimentary copy and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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This book has some great information for businesses and I learned a lot of cool things about running a business, things to look out for when you are starting companies, wine and late 1970s marketplace.
But overall the book was unorganized and hard to follow. Overall solid info- lacked structure so it felt so so long.

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Super interesting! Not quite what I was expecting, but this gave me some cool insights into one of my favorite brands. I ended up listening to the audio, which was well done.

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I received an advanced readers copy from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

I love Trader Joe's. LOVE it. And since moving to Alaska, I miss it desperately. But this book? It wasn't good. It was clunky and awkward and poorly written. It wasn't coherent. It was as if the author just went through his journal and pulled out some sections about creating his business and threw them into a book.

I did appreciate some of the information included here (especially about how they treat/pay staff and how some of their products came to be), but it just wasn't presented well.

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A great read about how the Trader Joe's empire was built! Thanks for the advance copy and I will most definitely recommend.

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The books was fine. Not super exciting but as a TJ fan, loved hearing some new things that I didn't know before.

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I stumbled across this book while looking at books to review, and I'm so glad I did! I absolutely love Trader Joes, and as someone who works in supply chain management, I think the concept of in-house supply and production is so interesting. I really loved reading about a business that I love!

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I was hoping for more of the story of Trader Joe's and not so much the business aspect of it. It was hard to finish and it didn't feel like a passionate story of a great brand.

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I'm a huge Trader Joe fan, so this autobiography by the chain's founder was right up my alley.

Written in short, clear chapters, the book explains a lot of the particular quirks of the store and how they came about. It's also a useful business text for how to start a business, overcome obstacles, and thrive.

If you like TJ's food I think you'll be fascinated by the book.

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