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Jeffrey Brotman, who co-founded Costco in 1980s, dies at 74

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Costco Wholesale Corp Chairman Jeffrey Brotman, who co-founded the company and helped kick off a movement that spread warehouse-style shopping to much of the world, has died. He was 74.

[NEW YORK] Costco Wholesale Corp Chairman Jeffrey Brotman, who co-founded the company and helped kick off a movement that spread warehouse-style shopping to much of the world, has died. He was 74.

He died Tuesday morning, the retailer said in a statement. "The thoughts of Costco's board, management and employees are with Jeff's wife and family," the company said, without providing additional details.

Mr Brotman, who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, was a lawyer before turning to entrepreneurship. He helped start the Costco chain in 1982 with Jim Sinegal, who went on to become the company's longtime chief executive officer.

Mr Brotman wasn't as much of a public face for Costco, but he served as chairman for decades. He also was a director on Starbucks Corp's board during the '90s.

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Jeffrey Hart Brotman was born in September 1942, according to public records. He attended the University of Washington and majored in political science. After graduating from its law school in 1967, he practiced law in Seattle. He also dabbled in retail, running businesses with his brother, Michael.

In the decades since Costco was founded, it has become one of the largest retailers in the nation - with a no-frills decor and treasure-hunting approach to shopping that rivals have frequently tried to imitate. The Issaquah, Washington-based company now has 736 warehouse stores, including 511 in the US and Puerto Rico.

Costco didn't say who would replace Mr Brotman as chairman. The company didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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