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Started in 1958 as a chain of Pronto Markets convenience stores, founder Joe Coulombe later renamed the company and changed its direction.
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11_Trader Joe's

For vaulting past Whole Foods to become America's favorite organic grocer

Though Trader Joe's masquerades as a neighborhood store, it boasts $8 billion in annual profits. Its stores carry 4,000 different products, compared to typical grocery stores' 50,000. This meticulous stocking helps it sell $1,750 per square foot—twice as much as Whole Foods. Trader Joe's brand-name products offer low prices and "pizzazz beyond plain old corn flakes," says analyst Bob Goldin. It's a company that manages to borrow from the best of its competitors, with more than 350 stores compared to Whole Foods' 300.

Image collage by: Andrew Hur

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