Joe Coulombe, founder of the popular grocery store Trader Joe's, died Friday at his home in Pasadena, California.

Joe Coulombe, Trader Joe's, DeathMichael Nagle / Getty Images

According to his son, Coulombe was battling with a long illness. He was 89.

Coulombe opened the first Trader Joe's in Pasadena in 1967. The chain now boasts 500 stores spanning 40 states, where an emphasis on affordable healthy foods is placed. 

“He wanted to make sure whatever was sold in our store was of good value,” Coulombe’s son, also named Joe, told the Associated Press. “He always did lots of taste tests. My sisters and I remember him bringing home all kinds of things for us to try. At his offices he had practically daily tastings of new products. Always the aim was to provide good food and good value to people.”

Coulombe sold the company to German grocery retailer Aldi in 1979, but he remained on as its CEO until 1988. He later retired in 2013.

He was born on June 3, 1930, in San Diego. He later joined the Air Force, and attended Stanford University, earning a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in business administration. He met his wife, Alice, in college.

Coulombe is survived by Alice, whom he's been married to for 67 years, their three children and six grandchildren.