Trader Joes is a privately held chain of neighborhood grocery stores based in Monrovia, California, in Greater Los Angeles. As of February 16, 2017, Trader Joes had 461 stores nationwide in 41 states and in Washington, D.C. By 2015, it was a competitor in "fresh format" grocery stores in the United States. Trader Joes was founded by Joseph "Joe" Coulombe. After 1979, it is owned by Aldi Nords owner Theo Albrecht in Germany. The company has offices in Monrovia, California, and Boston, Massachusetts. Trader Joes is named after its founder, Joe Coulombe. The chain began in 1958 as a Greater Los Angeles area chain of Pronto Market convenience stores. The original Pronto Markets were so similar to 7-Eleven that Coulombe felt the competition with 7-Eleven would be ruinous.