Trader Joe’s Once Had A Swashbuckling Canadian Rival – Tasting Table

A U.S. federal district court dismissed Trader Joe’s lawsuit in 2013 (via The New York Times), citing jurisdictional issues (Hallatt’s Pirate Joe’s operated in Canada, but the lawsuit was filed in the United States) and ruling that Trader Joe’s had not conclusively shown that Hallatt’s business had had a negative impact on its activities. A federal appeals court then remanded the lawsuit to a lower court for a jury trial. In the meantime, Hallatt has unashamedly stayed the course, occasionally encouraging Trader Joe’s by touting its operation as “unaffiliated. Unauthorized. Fearless.”

A risk-taker by nature, Hallatt dropped out of college to open a bagel shop. The business was successful and he opened a second location. When that ran its course, he moved to Silicon Valley and pursued a successful career in the tech industry (via Vancouver Sun). The concept of Pirate Joe’s came to him while shopping at Trader Joe’s in Bellingham, Washington, and noticed he was surrounded by Canadians stocking up on favorite products, like Mandarin Chicken.

Per The New York Times, Hallatt had every intention of facing Trader Joe’s in court, but as legal costs mounted, he had to rethink his strategy, eventually reaching a settlement with the California grocer. As he prepared to close shop for good in 2017, Hallat was pragmatic about his experience, recounting The Guardian“It was a great race. So I think if they ever open in another country, Canada could be first on the list. We’ll see.”

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