What was BJ’s Wholesale Club called before? Uncovering the Origins and Evolution of BJ’s

Local Business


Besedky Team

What was BJ’s Wholesale Club called before? Uncovering the Origins and Evolution of BJ’s:Are you curious about the origins of BJ’s Wholesale Club? Wondering what this popular warehouse retailer used to be called? Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating history of BJ’s and uncover its former name. Prepare to be surprised as we take a journey through time and explore the evolution of this beloved shopping destination. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to discover the intriguing story behind what BJ’s used to be called.

The Origins and Evolution of BJ’s Wholesale Club

Discovering the roots of a beloved brand can be a fascinating journey. One such brand that has evolved significantly over the years is BJ’s Wholesale Club, a name that resonates with value and bulk purchases for many consumers. However, many patrons may not know the story behind its original moniker and the reasons for its change.

The Inception of BJ’s: BJ Grunts and the Name Change

In its infancy, BJ’s Wholesale Club was known as BJ Grunts—a name that carried a certain charm and whimsy. However, this original name did not last due to a trademark conflict that necessitated a change. Such conflicts are not uncommon in the business world, where the uniqueness of a brand’s identity is both a legal and marketing necessity. It is a testament to the company’s adaptability that it smoothly transitioned to a new name without losing its brand’s essence or customer base.

The Significance Behind the Name BJ’s

The name BJ’s holds a sentimental significance, standing for Beverly Jean, the daughter of the company’s first president. This personal touch adds a layer of relatability and human connection to the brand, distinguishing it from being just another corporate entity. It reflects a family-oriented culture that could resonate well with the target audience who values family and personal connections.

BJ’s Wholesale Club: The Beginning of a Bulk Retail Giant

Launched in 1984 by Zayre, a discount department store chain, BJ’s Wholesale Club carved out its niche in the bulk retail industry. It stood out from the competition by offering an exclusive membership model, which has become a hallmark of the company’s business strategy. The first club was strategically established on the Medford/Malden border in Massachusetts, setting the stage for what would become a widespread and successful chain across the United States.

Legal Identity and Brand Distinction

Officially, the company is known as BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. This legal identity is an important aspect of its corporate persona, underlining its stature in the market and reinforcing its legitimacy as a business entity.

BJ’s Restaurants: A Separate Venture with Shared Roots

While the wholesale club is well-recognized, there is another branch of the BJ’s family tree: BJ’s Restaurants. Founded in 1978 in Santa Ana, California, BJ’s Restaurants is a separate entity from BJ’s Wholesale Club. The restaurant chain has made a name for itself by offering an eclectic menu, renowned for its deep-dish pizza, and a variety of handcrafted beers.

A Commitment Beyond Cuisine

Since its inception, BJ’s Restaurants has been dedicated to more than just serving delectable dishes and brews. Based in Southern California and with its first restaurant opened in Santa Ana, the company has consistently committed to giving back to the communities it serves. This philanthropic spirit is a cornerstone of its brand, building goodwill and a loyal following among patrons who value corporate social responsibility.

BJ’s Wholesale Club and Costco: A Comparative Timeline

It is impossible to discuss BJ’s Wholesale Club without mentioning Costco, another giant in the wholesale retail industry. While Costco was founded in 1976, eight years before BJ’s inception, the two have often been compared. Both companies have pioneered the concept of membership-based, warehouse-style shopping, each with its unique strategies and offerings. Despite BJ’s entering the market later, it has established itself as a formidable competitor, providing customers with an alternative to Costco’s model.

Bulk Retail Innovation: BJ’s Wholesale Club’s Strategy

BJ’s has differentiated itself by focusing on providing value to its members through its wide range of product offerings. Over the years, BJ’s has not only expanded its physical footprint but also embraced technological advancements and e-commerce to cater to the evolving needs of its customer base. Their ability to adapt and innovate in a competitive market is a testament to the company’s resilience and customer-centric approach.


The story of BJ’s Wholesale Club, from its initial days as BJ Grunts to its current status as a major player in the wholesale industry, is one of transformation, growth, and adaptability. The heartfelt origin of its name and its distinction from BJ’s Restaurants add layers to its identity, making it more than just a place to shop in bulk but a brand with a rich narrative. As BJ’s Wholesale Club continues to evolve and expand, it remains a fascinating case study of how a business can successfully navigate the complexities of branding, competition, and customer loyalty.

Whether it’s comparing timelines with Costco, understanding the legal intricacies of its identity, or recognizing its separate path from BJ’s Restaurants, the tale of BJ’s Wholesale Club is a compelling chapter in the history of American retail. It stands as a reminder that behind every brand name lies a story, and in the case of BJ’s, it’s one that includes a nod to family, a strategic pivot in the face of adversity, and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction.

FAQ & Common Questions about BJ’s

Q: What did BJ’s used to be called?
A: BJ’s used to be called BJ’s Restaurants.

Q: Where was the first BJ’s located?
A: The first BJ’s restaurant was located in Santa Ana, Southern California.

Q: Why is BJ’s so good?
A: BJ’s offers exclusive brands like Wellsley Farms and Berkley Jensen, allowing members to save on a wide range of family essentials without compromising on quality.

Q: Did BJ’s come before Costco?
A: No, Costco was founded in 1976, while BJ’s emerged later in 1984. However, both stores are known for their exclusive memberships, bulk items, and specialty store brands.

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