Mark Butler, One-Time Billionaire And Unsung Retail Genius Of Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, Dies At 61

by MR Magazine Staff

The simplest of ideas drove Mark Butler. “America has always loved the bargain,” he said last February. “It will never ever, ever go out of style. Ever.” From that sprung one of the most unlikely business empires in America, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, a publicly traded chain of 345 close-out stores that stretched from Massachusetts to Texas. Last year, it sold $1.2 billion worth of discounted goods—toys, soap, candles, pots, pans. Anything and everything Butler and his merchants could buy at a discount and sell cheap in no-frills stores positioned in the parts of America where bargains are mostly dearly prized. (“We could sell footballs one day, bras the next. Anything is possible,” Butler said.) Butler ignored the internet completely. Ollie’s sold absolutely nothing online, a head-spinning notion during this era of e-commerce. Read more at Forbes.