Society for Case Research MBAA 2020

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Joyce A. Young, Paul W. Clark

Pirate Joe’s versus Trader Joe’s: A Gray Market Fight

This critical incident describes an ethical and legal dilemma faced by the owner of a small, local retailer. Pirate Joe’s, a small retail store in Vancouver, British Columbia, was celebrating its fourth year in operation. Mike Hallatt, the founder of Pirate Joe’s, had seen a demand for Trader Joe’s products in Vancouver, so he opened the store and sold Trade Joe’s branded goods at inflated prices. But to get the groceries, he needed to shop in bulk at Trader Joe’s stores almost three hours away in Seattle. Trader Joe’s executives did not approve of the unauthorized importing of its products from the United States and had taken legal steps in U.S. Federal court against Hallatt in an attempt to halt his importing activities. Students are asked to decide what course of action Mike Hallatt should take in response to the latest development related to the Trader Joe’s lawsuit.