Core Values: Trader Joe’s

By | August 7, 2020

[August 7, 2020]  Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest President in the Nation’s history when he assumed those responsibilities upon the death of William McKinley.  Roosevelt took the view that the Presidency was the “steward of the people.”  And, we can find a similar leadership philosophy in the company called Trader Joe’s.

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Trader Joe’s core values include “producing customer wow experiences, kaizen, treating its store as a brand, integrity and being product-driven.”1  Its values maintain the top quality services characterizing the company and setting it apart as a unique enterprise.  These core values are what makes them successful:

  • Producing customer wow experiences,
  • Kaizen (a Japanese word for improvement or change for the better)
  • Treating its store as a brand
  • Integrity
  • Being product driven

To meet these values, Trader Joe’s highly values making its customers the priority of the company by ensuring they are treated in the best ways possible, packaged in the variety of products made in the spirit of kaizen or constant improvement at all levels.

Trader Joe’s also ensures the progressive growth of the company by instilling a sense of teamwork and cooperation as a slogan to guarantee everyone stays in line with the store’s branding expectations. It also emphasizes on doing right at all times, as this is what leads to the growth of the company in all spheres, including how it treats its customers differently from the rest.

Recently, the company became embroiled in a controversy about its product names.  There were complaints that product names, such a “Trader Giotto” and “Trader Jose” were racist.  Leaders at the company announced they would not be removing the food labels because “the intentions behind them are not and never were racist.”2  Of course, no apology would have sufficed, so Trader Joe’s did what it should have done, it stood up for itself and its customers.  Good leadership in action.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Core Values: Trader Joe’s

  1. Darwin Lippe

    Great place to eat. Fun people that run the Trader Joe’s near me.

  2. Dennis Mathes

    Loving Trader Joe’s …. go there, you will love them too.

  3. Gil Johnson

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for showing us what real leadership is about. I never shopped in a Trader Joes because they are not around where I live. But if I get the chance, I will shop there and tell them I support their standing tall in the face of fascists like those who accuse them of racism. ?

    1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

      Yep! Love their stores. I’m a fan.

  4. Tom Bushmaster

    According to CNN, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, among others, have made the decision to either change or retire their product packaging. We have a name for these people …. Wait for it….wait for it…wait for it… COWARDS.

    1. old warrior

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m not buying their products any more. Mrs. Butterworth’s is all sugar anyway. Time to re-evaluate my health. Their products are junk.

    1. Newbie Yunger

      You can wipe your you-know-what with this paper. Journalism is in freefall. Just look anywhere to see it. It’s not just the NY Times.

  5. Max Foster

    Here is their formal statement about the racist charges (which were ridiculous anyway): “A few weeks ago, an online petition was launched calling on us to ‘remove racist packaging from [our] products,’” the company said. “Following were inaccurate reports that the petition prompted us to take action. We want to be clear: We disagree that any of these labels are racist. We do not make decisions based on petitions. We make decisions based on what customers purchase, as well as the feedback we receive from our customers and Crew Members. If we feel there is need for change, we do not hesitate to take action.”

    1. Len Jakosky

      This is encouraging to see, since many companies choose to appease the mob rather than fight back.

    2. Harry Donner

      Brands such as Land O’Lakes, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, and several others have been forced to rebrand over similar accusations of racism, and not one of the companies behind these brands pushed back. And it’s hard to blame them: It does seem easier to take the loss quietly than to be subjected to a frenzy of vicious online hate.

      1. KenFBrown

        We’ve seen lives destroyed by an ever-growing, militant online mob that makes up the rules as it goes and leaves no room for forgiveness.

  6. Willie Shrumburger

    This is what I like most about Trader Joes: “Sale” is a four-letter word to us. We have low prices, every day. NO coupons. NO membership cards. NO discounts. NO glitzy promotions or couponing wars at our stores. We offer the best everyday values, every day.

  7. Greg Heyman

    I love Trader Joes stores. I’ve been shopping in my local Trader Joes now for at least a decade. Their products are worth the money and the friendly atmosphere is inviting. Thanks Gen Satterfield for telling me about their core values. Well done!

    1. Dead Pool Guy

      Always the best service and good people working there. Sometimes you have to figure out what you want but the people working in these stores are friendly and helpful too.

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