Los Angeles             -          Joe Coulombe, who created Trader Joe’s with a vision that college-educated but poorly paid young people would flock to a store that stocked healthy foods at bargain prices, died late Friday at the age of 89. Coulombe, who opened his first Trader Joe’s in Pasadena, California, in 1967, died following a long illness, his son, Joe Coulombe, told The Associated Press. The chain that still bears his name, as well as the quirky South Seas nautical appearance Coulombe created, now has more than 500 outlets in over 40 states. It still draws a niche audience looking for cheap prices on healthy gourmet foods that often can’t be found in traditional supermarkets.

The shelves are filled with products such as organic dried mango, ocean-caught shrimp, honey-oat cereal and organic cold-pressed juice.

“He wanted to make sure whatever was sold in our store was of good value,” said Coulombe’s son. “He always did lots of taste tests. My sisters and I remember him bringing home all kinds of things for us to try. At his offices he had practically daily tastings of new products. Always the aim was to provide good food and good value to people.”