The founder of the highly successful 99 Cents Only Stores Dave Gold died on Monday of an apparent heart attack. He was 80 years old.
Gold saw his business grow from a small, ambitious enterprise he began in 1982 to the multi-billion dollar empire it is today, which he sold for $1.6 billion in 2011.
Gold told the Los Angeles Times back in 2003 that he came up with the idea while working at his father’s liquor store. He noticed that items selling for $.98 or $1.02 never sold nearly as much compared to the products marked $.99. So, Gold opened up his first 99 Cents Only Store in 1982 with this concept in mind.
Almost single-handedly, Gold turned around the 99 cent stigma—before, it brought to mind old, broken, or nearly out of stock items—into a more organized, clean, higher quality, and extremely affordable convenience store.
The franchise soon became a family business as all three of Gold’s kids worked for the store at some point. It also became known for its sense of humor, as many of its advertisements ran comical “99th” achievements, such as wishing Joan Rivers a happy 99th facelift and the Dodgers a happy 99th loss.
Despite his success, Gold was known to live modestly. Up until his death, he had lived in the same middle-class home for five decades with his wife Sherry and drove around in his 2000 Prius. He is survived by his wife, children, and five grandchildren.