Trader Joe's Mission, Vision, and Values:
Trader Joe's says its first mission statement was written in chalk, 24 years after its first store opened. The current mission statement of Trader Joe's is more official and not as easily erasable...
"The mission of Trader Joe's is to give our customers the best food and beverage values that they can find anywhere and to provide them with the information required to make informed buying decisions. We provide these with a dedication to the highest quality of customer satisfaction delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit."
Trader Joe's Headquarters:
Trader Joe's was purchased by Aldi Nord in 1979 and it now has headquarters in Monrovia, California and Boston, Massachusetts.
At Trader Joe's, our mission is to bring our customers the best food and beverage values and the information to make informed buying decisions. There are more than 2000 unique grocery items in our label, all at honest everyday low prices. We work hard at buying things right: Our buyers travel the world searching for new items and we work with a variety of suppliers who make interesting products for us, many of them exclusive to Trader Joe’s. All our private label products have their own "angle," i.e., vegetarian, Kosher, organic or just plain decadent, and all have minimally processed ingredients.
The privately held company's sales last year were roughly $8 billion, the same size as Whole Foods' (WFMI, Fortune 500) and bigger than those of Bed Bath & Beyond, No. 314 on the Fortune 500 list. Unlike those massive shopping emporiums, Trader Joe's has a deliberately scaled-down strategy: It is opening just five more locations this year. The company selects relatively small stores with a carefully curated selection of items. (Typical grocery stores can carry 50,000 stock-keeping units, or SKUs; Trader Joe's sells about 4,000 SKUs, and about 80% of the stock bears the Trader Joe's brand.) The result: Its stores sell an estimated $1,750 in merchandise per square foot, more than double Whole Foods'. The company has no debt and funds all growth from its own coffers.
Employees dress in goofy trademark Hawaiian shirts, hand stickers out to your squirming kids, and cheerfully refund your money if you're unhappy with a purchase -- no questions asked. At the Chelsea store opening, workers greeted customers with high-fives and free cookies. Try getting that kind of love at the Piggly Wiggly.
It's little wonder that Trader Joe's is one of the hottest retailers in the U.S. It now boasts 344 stores in 25 states and Washington, D.C., and strip-mall operators and consumers alike aggressively lobby the chain, based in Monrovia, Calif., to come to their towns. A Trader Joe's brings with it good jobs, and its presence in your community is like an affirmation that you and your neighbors are worldly and smart.
But Trader Joe's is no ordinary grocery chain. It's an offbeat, fun discovery zone that elevates food shopping from a chore to a cultural experience. It stocks its shelves with a winning combination of low-cost, yuppie-friendly staples (cage-free eggs and organic blue agave sweetener) and exotic, affordable luxuries -- Belgian butter waffle cookies or Thai lime-and-chili cashews -- that you simply can't find anyplace else.
It's no secret that Trader Joe's sells marked-down name-brand products disguised under its own label. What is a secret is which big brands Trader Joe's carries -- when it comes to publicizing that information, TJ's remains mum. The price difference between the Trader Joe's and big brand products is sometimes so big ($2.99 vs. $5.49 for the same box of cereal?!) that it sparked our curiosity. Now, we're on a quest to discover who's hiding under those TJ's labels.
Trader Joe’s takes a lot of hits from environmentalists for its over-use of plastic wrap on produce, but the freshness factor is a problem as well. “Sell by” dates, observe some sadder-but-wiser shoppers, can be overly optimistic. On one recent afternoon in a West Los Angeles store, the apples were soft and picked over, one lonely eggplant sat in a bin, and a pair of peppers were so over-wrapped in plastic and a clamshell case that they were barely visible. To its credit, Trader Joe’s doesn’t use rinses and sprays to keep its organic produce fresh, possibly accounting for the faster spoilage. What to do? Use any produce you buy the same day — or simply go elsewhere. Glaring exception: bananas, which are usually fantastic and super cheap at 19 cents apiece.
In addition to cheap prices and friendly staff, one of the strengths of Trader Joe’s is its carefully curated shelves. No, it doesn’t have nearly the selection of a supermarket, but the items it does stock are so well-chosen you feel as if you are in a food boutique — a boutique where everything is on sale. The items are collected by Trader Joe’s buyers, who travel the globe in search of well-priced, often organic, goodies. And when it comes to packaged goods, the quality is remarkably consistent. But not everything on the well-stocked shelves is worth taking home. Below are four items to cross off your Trader Joe’s shopping list.
We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you.If an item doesn't pull its weight in our stores, it goes away to gangway for something else.We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices.Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices... so we don't do it.We keep our costs low — because every penny we save is a penny you save.
It all started in the 50s...
Would you believe we started out as a small chain of convenience stores? It's true. Way back in 1958. We were called Pronto Markets. In '67, our founder, the original Trader Joe, changed our name (yes, to Trader Joe's) and the way we do business.
We made the stores bigger (if you can imagine), decked the walls with cedar planks and donned our crew in cool Hawaiian shirts. Most importantly, we started putting innovative, hard-to-find, great-tasting foods in the "Trader Joe's" name. That cut our costs and saved you money. Still does.