Remembering Joe Coulombe

He was the "Joe" behind Trader Joe's.

By Tom Lady

Alice Coulombe blazed a trail. She co-founded the Opera League of Los Angeles in 1981, which then went on to help establish the first-ever resident opera company in Los Angeles, LA Opera, in 1986. To this day, the nonprofit League plays a vital role in supporting LA Opera, especially via fundraising and volunteer people power.

Many Leaguers already knew that. But what they, and you, may not know is that Alice's husband Joe Coulombe was a pioneer himself. It was in 1967 that Joe opened the first Trader Joe's grocery store in the L.A. suburb of Pasadena. Today, a quick look-up on Google Maps will show you over 500 Trader Joe's stores across the U.S.

It is therefore with deep sadness that we acknowledge Joe Coulombe's passing on February 28, 2020, at the age of 89.

Given his wife's stature in the Opera League, we don't need to tell you that Joe, in addition to Alice, was a Lifetime Premier member of the League. More than that, Alice and Joe have been long-time supporters of the arts, including and especially LA Opera.

If you'd like to donate in Joe Coulombe's memory, his wife has graciously requested that donations on her family's behalf be made to the Opera League.

Click here to make a donation in Joe "Trader Joe" Coulombe's memory.

Read more about Joe Coulombe in the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

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Author: Thomas Lady
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