On Trader Joe’s: Love and Secrecy

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the people out there with strong affection for Trader Joe’s  (like me), or plain old curiosity, Fortune magazine has an in depth profile on the company, looking at how it became so successful, and–particularly interesting–how tight-lipped the company is about its practices.

The company has never participated in a major story about its business operations. Its CEO, Dan Brynes, declined repeated requests to be interviewed by Fortune. And all of Trader Joe’s suppliers are under agreement that they “shall not publicize its business relationship with TJ’s in any manner”. Fortune speculates on why the company maintains such secrecy:

…Trader Joe’s business tactics are often very much at odds with its image as the funky shop around the corner that sources its wares from local farms and food artisans. Sometimes it does, but big, well-known companies also make many of Trader Joe’s products. Those Trader Joe’s pita chips? Made by Stacy’s, a division of PepsiCo’s (PEP, Fortune 500) Frito-Lay. On the East Coast much of its yogurt is supplied by Danone’s Stonyfield Farm. And finicky foodies probably don’t like to think about how Trader Joe’s scale enables the chain to sell a pound of organic lemons for $2.


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