Founder of 99 Cents Only Stores Dies at 80

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LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — Dave Gold, founder of the popular 99 Cents Only Stores, died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Los Angeles Monday, his family told the Los Angeles Times.

Born in Cleveland in 1932, Gold was the youngest of three children. He grew up working at a store operated by his Russian-immigrant parents.

In 1945, the family moved to Los Angeles.  Gold was 50 when he opened his first 99 Cent Store in 1982.

Over the years, the chain expanded to more than 300 stores and into a billion-dollar empire.

In a 2003 interview, the thrifty entrepreneur told the L.A. Times that while working at his father’s liquor store, he discovered that items he discounted to $1.02 or 98 cents never sold out. But a 99-cent label almost always did the trick.

In 2011, Gold sold his franchise for about $1.6 billion dollars. Yet he never adopted a flashy lifestyle, despite making the Forbes 400 list.

He lived in the same middle-class home for nearly five decades with his wife of 55 years, Sherry.

Mrs. Gold and the couple’s three children all worked for the company. Dave Gold was 80 years old.

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