Mike Hallatt makes frequent trips to the United States to stock up on product during shopping sprees at Trader Joe's and welcomes the lawsuit that has been filed against him.He’s pirating their goods, and they’re trying to make him walk the plank.
A Canadian entrepreneur is in hot water for buying massive amounts of Trader Joe's products in Washington state, crossing the border, and selling the booty at a slight profit.
Mike Hallatt — who calls his vagabond Vancouver store "Pirate Joe's" — claims he's done nothing wrong, and is helping bring Trader Joe's to the Commonwealth.
"I'm their best customer," he told the San Francisco Chronicle, adding that he's purchased more than $350,000 worth of Joe-O's, mango salsa, and other goodies.
But Trader Joe's is suing the 53-year-old Canadian plunderer, saying Hallatt has harmed their business and infringed on their copyright, and is trying to shutter his Vancouver storefront.
In response, the cheeky Hallatt removed the "P" from his sign, so his store is now called Irate Joe's.
"My right to resell their product is stronger than their right to protect their brand," he said, noting that he's actually helping the chain render higher profits.
A self-professed lover of all things Trader Joe's, Hallat said it's so good that "I will eat dog food from them."
He says that the genius of his business model is saving most Canadians the hassle of driving long distances to reach the Washington stores, as well as saving them time and gas.
In the interim, Trader Joe’s has posted Hallatt’s photograph at nearly every Washington location in attempts to keep him out.