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How Trader Joe’s Wine Obsession Launched Its Grocery Revolution

America’s favorite supermarket discovered its retail formula in booze

A photo illustration of a Trader Joe’s supermarket aisle with a tiki-print surfboard in the middle of the aisle.
Illustration: Rob Dobi

In 1957, Joe Coulombe knew nothing about the grocery industry. He was 27 years old and had never taken a course in retail. He had never operated a cash register, waited on a customer, or filled out a purchase order for a wholesaler. He had no…

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Benjamin Lorr

Benjamin Lorr

BENJAMIN LORR is the author of Hell-Bent, a critically acclaimed exploration of the Bikram Yoga community, and The Secret Life of Groceries, on… groceries!

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