His son, Joe, told the Associated Press. He was 89.
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.
He learned large numbers of Boomers were leaving college for low-paying entry level jobs but with a knowledge and desire for healthy foods ranging from granola to free-range chicken that they couldn't find in traditional supermarkets and couldn't afford in gourmet stores. He figured he could win them over if he could sell them cheaply enough. This was back in the time where boomers had empathy for those just starting out, he probably couldn't make the market happen today.
Kroger mismanaged Lucky's Market here in FL, so they closed every one except one in Melbourne....I hope we get TJ's here instead. RIP Mr. Joe.