Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Trader Joe's Adventure

Mention Trader Joe’s to (almost) any friend locally and I can imagine them launching into a soliloquy of the joys of shopping at the funky grocery store – and then ending their spiel with a plaintive cry for a Trader Joe’s closer than north Indianapolis and perhaps a sigh and a tear that their dear grocery is not closer at hand. If YOU are such a fan, how could you NOT enjoy today’s paean to that bestest of all grocery shopping experiences – Trader Joe’s?

We know we’ve got the “right” book in hand when we spot the book’s cover art with its Hawaiian tropical shirt theme! A quick perusal of the chapters lets us know we’re in for a fun ride – there’s a chapter on the famous “two buck Chuck” wine phenomenon and chapter after chapter lauding the friendly, surprise-around-every-aisle atmosphere of a Trader Joe’s grocery.

Trader Joe’s success as a retail market seems to be both exquisitely simple and thoroughly thought through. Trader Joe’s success is simple: the company works hard to provide a customer friendly – and staff friendly environment which not only brings customers back and keeps employees working hard but encourages both customers and staff to engage in “free” and powerful word-of-mouth advertising that brings even more folks into the Trader Joe’s orbit.

Their success is more thoughtful because of Trader Joe’s efforts to keep stock fresh and ever changing by buying out end-lots or odd-lots of discontinued merchandise AND of searching the world for the oddball but delicious delicacies that appeal to its diverse customer base. And let’s give props to Trader Joe’s management for making the effort to continually learn about their customer’s sense of adventure and putting that knowledge to work in the service of grocery capitalism!

The Trader Joe’s Experience is written by a fellow who has spent his career writing about business for trade magazines, proving once again that journalists often write very readable books – and proving that one can write a reasonably skeptical book without becoming too taken up with either praise or skepticism.

Listen to Library Director Nick Schenkel's review on WBAA radio or