Los Angeles: Trader Joe's

The weather was amazing in L.A. as per usual. Dean Kevin Stevens and his wife Marietta joined us on our site visit to Trader Joe’s. As we arrived at Trader Joe’s we were greeted by one of our own Board of Advisors of Quinlan, Mr. Stephen Sweeney. My peers and I spoke to him for a bit and he told us his background story. As soon as we arrived at Trader Joe’s we definitely felt at home. Arriving to the conference room we were greeted by crew members in Hawaiian shirts along with their charisma. Trader Joe’s even made us our very own name tags; Dean Kevin Stevens received a name tag as well. Dan Bane, CEO of Trader Joe’s led us right into it. He played a short video, explaining the history of Trader Joe’s. The crew members also told us a lot about Trader Joe’s and their specific roles at the company.

Trader Joe’s is different from your local mom and pop shop. They are a neighborhood store, but they are so much more than that. What truly differentiates them is their customer experience. The consumer is their focus. Trader Joe’s is a grocery store that doesn’t have numbers on the aisles. The logic behind this is interacting with the customer. They strongly encourage customer interaction; this is what Trader Joe’s strives for. This is the brand they are selling, what is known as the customer experience. They hire people that actually do want to be there and it shows. We were actually taken into a Trader Joe’s after the presentation. We were ever so politely greeted by the crew members. Some of us even got mistaken for crew members on our way in! In addition, the marketing strategies of Trader Joe’s are unique. They have their crew members make the price tags, which adds that homemade touch. This isn’t seen anymore, nowadays. One thing that really stood out to me would be that the crew members make personalized signs specific only to the Trader Joe’s location you are in. For instance, in San Francisco they actually made a model of the Golden Gate Bridge. This diversifies Trader Joe’s not only from other grocery retail stores, but from other Trader Joe’s. This is what makes your local Trader Joe’s different from the next person’s; the characteristics that are only unique to your community.

Trader Joe’s also sells mostly private-label items. They make 90% of their products. Joe Coulombe decided that he didn’t want to get other peoples products; they would produce their own. Other companies could try to emulate the products of Trader Joe’s, but they would never be Trader Joe’s. They are this unique. As a result, Trader Joe’s also has such diversity in their products in terms of origin. The products that pertain to Indian Heritage come from India; they are actually made there. Trader Joe’s has an amazing ambiance that truly does set it aside from other companies. The site visit was insightful; We learned the logistics of customer experience and marketing. Then, we were able to really put them into context with the visit to the store.


Jasmin Garcia (AA '21)
Business Administration, Arrupe College