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In 1957, Joe Coulombe knew nothing about the grocery industry. He was 27 years old and had never taken a course in retail. He had never operated a cash register, waited on a customer, or filled out a purchase order for a wholesaler. He had no particular interest in food and cultivated such a rarified wine palate that he preferred to sip on Paul Mason Cooking Sherry to relax. He was however a recent Stanfor Business grad who had been hired by the Rexall Drug Company to revive its failing Owl Drug chain. As part of this process, Joe discovered 7-Eleven, then a relatively new chain out of Texas. Rexall’s response was to ask Joe to start an imitation chain in California. This struck him as ... Full story

25 November