By in Business

Pirate Joe's Is Trader Joe's Foe

Now this is an interesting way to do business. Trader Joe's is operating in Vancouver, Canada in a way. Not the traditional bricks and mortar version of the Trader Joe's we know but the Pirate Joe's version of Trader Joe's.

Who Is Pirate Joe's?

Pirate Joe's is a Vancouver business which sells the products of Trader Joe's. Pirate Joe's obtains the products by driving across the border and purchasing the products from Trader Joe's stores in the Washington state area. The products are then marked up for sale in Canada. A second Pirate Joe's is scheduled to open along with an online store. The second store has been reported to be fashioned as a 'companion café' where customers can sample Trader Joe products.

Who Owns Pirate Joe's?

Michael Hallatt is the brains behind the Pirate Joe's concept. He has been quoted as stating his practice of selling Trader Joe's products is not illegal. Hallatt further maintains the Trader Joe's is being a corporate bully. The Pirate Joe's stores do sell other products besides Trader Joe's products.

Legality of Pirate Joe's

Trader Joe's was none to pleased with Pirate Joe's and sued the Pirate in 2013 for trademark infringement. Trader Joe's lost the case and is appealing the ruling in the United Stated Court of Appeals 9th District. A decision is expected this year.

Favorite Trader Joe's Products

There are quite a few products at Trader Joe's I like: the Roasted Gorgonzola Chips are wonderful, the Speculoos Cookie Butter and the frozen Almond Croissants are among the favorites. Many of the Trader Joe's products are fairly inexpensive, but would I buy the same product at Pirate Joe's with a hefty markup? Doubt it.

Trader Joe's does not currently operate any stores in Canada; however border residents of Canada do have access to Trader Joe's by crossing the border into the United States to purchase Trader Joe's products.

May the best Joe win!

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CoralLevang wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:17 AM

Pirate Joe's is an appropriate name for a business who certainly seems to be pirating a concept/products for resale. Of course, it's a complicated situation. It will be interesting to see how the suit turns out.

wolfgirl569 wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:26 AM

As they are buying them at the price asked Trader Joes is still making money so I dont see how it is a problem. They need to think of the sales they will lose if they win the case

j2jworkz wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:35 AM

Yes, they are buying the items at retail price and with the exchange rate, probably not making much profit.

j2jworkz wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:36 AM

What may also be at issue is that Trader Joe's is looking into Canada to open stores - we shall see what the court rules on this one.

maxeen wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:42 AM

It is complicated. maybe a third one will appear to mix it up a little.

j2jworkz wrote on March 13, 2015, 9:59 AM

lol, who knows maybe there is a third Joe out there waiting in the wings.

Arvi wrote on March 13, 2015, 11:10 AM

That is interesting. Kinda sucks for Trader Joe's, but like wolfgirl569 mentioned, they are making money off those pirates....I hope everything turns out ok.

SoundNFury wrote on March 13, 2015, 2:36 PM

That's interesting, I hadn't heard of it. It would seem that it would be illegal to me. Strange that Trader Joe's didn't win their case.

seren3 wrote on March 13, 2015, 10:26 PM

Interesting! If I lived in Vancouver BC I'd happily shop at Trader Joe's in the US!