May 5, 2006

News & Opinion: Two-Buck Chuck, Ten-Clam Cam and more

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:42 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

I've heard there's some quite unique gourment food at Trader Joe's (which is why I'm impatiently waiting its arrival in Milwaukee). Forbes April 10th issue featured an article on Trader Joe's and mentioned last fall's book The Trader Joe's Adventure. I'm curious to see all the hype as at first glance, it's hard to imagine a ton of people seeking out Ginger Cat Cookies or Jalapeno Blue Cornbread Mix. But unique seems to be what keeps Trader Joe's growing.
What makes it unique?
Forbes said:
The theme doned by every store: Hawaiian.
The new items delivered every week: "With as many as 10 to 15 new items every week a store becomes the scene of a treasure hunt."
The relatively cheap price: knock-offs that cost half as much.
Trader Joe's President Joe Coulombe says that this combination get people into vacation mode and "consumers are more willing to try new things on vacation."
Interesting TJ stats compared with Whole Foods:

What Trader Joe's Whole Foods
Last year's sales $4.5 billion $4.7 billion
Revenue per sq. ft.* $1440 $783

*average supermarket is $600 per sq. ft.
In a world where cheap and gourmet are typically not a combination, this is quite an accomplishment.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.