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An interview with Pirate Joe

He buys from Trader Joe’s and resells in Vancouver.

One of the more eye-popping stories that came across our desk this past summer concerned a small retailer in Vancouver called Pirate Joe’s.

Owner Mike Hallatt regularly cross the border into Washington to buy merchandise at cult grocer Trader Joe’s. He then resells the stuff in his store to Canadians who love Trader Joe’s unique private-label products but can't get them here.

Trader Joe’s isn’t amused and has filed a lawsuit against Pirate Joe’s.

But in an interview with National Public Radio in the U.S., Hallatt says he’s not the only one reselling Trader Joe’s merchandising. Several online retailers do it, as do at least three other merchants in the U.S., he claims.

“Business is brisk,” he told NPR and provided details about his business and which items shoppers love most.

"There are at least a few people attached to every product we carry, and if I don't have it sitting on the shelf I hear about it,” he said. "I'm reluctant to open on a day we are out of stock on Ridge Cut Salt & Pepper Potato Chips, for example."

Read the full (and sometimes funny) interview here.

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