Monthly Archives: September 2008

Mr. Trader Joe

Trader Joe was one of the most interesting interviews I have had the privilege to do. “Trader Joe’s” actual name is Joe Coulombe and he still lives near the very first Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, California. He originally ran a chain of Pronto Markets, selling primarily dairy-based consumer products. But when 7-Eleven bought out his dairy provider, Joe Coulombe had to find a new angle and that was the birth of the Trader Joe’s grocery store chain. He sold the chain to a German family in 1988 and now serves on the board for World Maket Cost Plus and for True Religion Apparel. We interviewed Joe Coulombe at his house in Pasadena. He has taken up painting and his fantastic art was all over the house, including the painting behind him in the interview…

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The Coolest CEO On The Planet

I once heard Wing Lam introduced as the “coolest CEO on the planet” and having met him, I have to agree. The CEO and co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco truly represents the essence of The Entrepreneur. Wing and his brothers Ed and Mingo came up with the idea for the restaurant while on a surfing trip in Mexico. Borrowing $30,000 from their parents, they opened the first Wahoo’s in 1988. The brothers combined the influence of their Chinese parents (also restauranteurs) their childhood in Brazil and their surfing lifestyle into the atmosphere and the food of their first Wahoo’s. They now have restaurants all over the U.S. serving Baja fresh taco’s in a fun, funky surfer/snowboarder-esque environment. David (the cinematographer and my partner in PerfectBusiness crime) and I interviewed Wing Lam at their newest Wahoo location. He arrived after a morning of surfing in shorts, flip flops and orange Oakley sunglasses. After the interview he bought us lunch at the restaurant and talked about how making personal connections, giving without demanding anything in return and being genuine are the best ways to succeed in business. With a full belly and a new friend, I had to agree.

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