Costco’s co-founder and chairman, Jeff Brotman, has reportedly died. A company press release said that the business tycoon passed away on Tuesday. But till now no details about his death or cause of death have been told.
One of the leading businessmen in the US, Jeff Brotman launched his Seattle-based company some 34 years ago, in the year 1983. In just over three decades, his company has become a $70 billion company, one of the biggest in the US.
He was a born entrepreneur who never tired of experimenting. Launched in association with Jim Sinegal, Costco was an experiment in itself.
Jeff Brotman, whose full name was Jeffery Brotman was born to a Jewish family in Tacoma, Washington. His father was an owner of Seattle Knitting Mills and along with his uncles owned a chain of 18 retail stores in Washington and Oregon named Bernie’s. Brotman graduated from the University of Washington in 1964 with a degree in political science and in 1967 with a J.D. He was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at the University of Washington. After school, he and his brother, Michael, founded a women’s jeans store named Bottoms; and in the 1980s, they founded the Jeffrey Michael chain of men’s clothing stores which they operated into the 1990s.
It must be kept in mind that Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest American membership-only warehouse club. As of 2015, Costco was the second largest retailer in the world after Walmart, and as of 2016, Costco was the world’s largest retailer of choice and prime beef, organic foods, rotisserie chicken, and wine.
The company’s worldwide headquarters are in Issaquah, Washington, but the company opened its first warehouse in nearby Seattle in 1983. Through mergers, Costco’s corporate history dates back to 1976, when its former competitor Price Club was founded in San Diego, California. As of 9 February 2017, Costco had a total of 729 warehouses in the United States (508), Canada (94), Mexico (37), United Kingdom (28), Japan (25), South Korea (13), Taiwan (13), Australia (8), Spain (2), Iceland (1) and one in France (1).
Jeff is survived by his wife Susan Thrailkill, and two children.