Jeffrey Hart Brotman
September 27, 1942
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
|Died||August 1, 2017 (aged 74)|
Medina, Washington, U.S.
|Alma mater||B.A., J.D. University of Washington|
|Known for||Co-founder and chairman of Costco|
Susan Thrailkill (m. 1976)
Jeffrey Hart Brotman (September 27, 1942 – August 1, 2017) was an American attorney. He was the co-founder and chairman of Costco Wholesale Corporation.
Early life and education
Brotman was born to a Jewish family in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Pearl and Bernie Brotman. His grandparents were Jewish emigrants from Romania to Saskatchewan; his parents immigrated to the US and settled in Tacoma. His father was an owner of Seattle Knitting Mills. Along with his uncles, he owned a chain of 18 retail stores in Washington and Oregon named Bernie's.
In 1965, the family moved to Seattle. 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.
In 1982, Brotman co-founded Costco Wholesale Corporation with Jim Sinegal, a protégé of Sol Price, the founder of PriceSmart. He served as chairman from the company's inception until his death, except during a stretch from 1993 to 1994 when he was vice chairman. In 2017, Costco operated 736 warehouse stores.
Brotman served on the boards of several public companies and according to Businessweek magazine, was "connected to 13 board members". He sat on the board of directors of the Million-Dollar Roundtable at the United Way of King County. He also served on the boards of Seafirst Bank, Starbucks, and was a trustee at the Seattle Art Museum.
Personal life and death
Brotman was married to Susan Thrailkill, a Montana native and former Nordstrom executive; they had two children, Justin Brotman and Amanda Brotman-Schetritt. Brotman died August 1, 2017 in Medina, Washington, at the age of 74. He died in his sleep, possibly due to heart failure. He was a member of Temple Beth El in Tacoma.
- Roberts, Sam (August 2, 2017). "Jeff Brotman, Founder of Retail Juggernaut Costco, Dies at 74". The New York Times.
- History Link: "Brotman, Jeffrey H. (b. 1942) and Susan R. (b. 1949)" retrieved August 28, 2015
- Cleveland Jewish Times: "Jeff Brotman, Jewish Costco founder, dead at 74" August 4, 2017
- Seattle Times: "Bernard Brotman Was Innovator In Retail Business" by Carole Beers August 25, 1996
- "Notable Alumni". Zeta Beta Tau. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- Costco About accessed March 1, 2012
- Turner, Nick; Soper, Spencer (August 1, 2017). "Jeffrey Brotman, Who Co-Founded Costco in 1980s, Dies at 74". Bloomberg News.
- McGregor, Jena (7 September 2011). "On Leadership: Costco chief executive Jim Sinegal". Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- Brotman Bio Forbes accessed March 1, 2012
- Business week on Brotman Businessweek, accessed March 1, 2012
- Jeffrey Brotman Executive Profile Businessweek, retrieved March 4, 2012
- Jeffrey H. Brotman Market Watch, retrieved March 4, 2012
- "Jeffrey H. Brotman". NNDB. Retrieved 2012-03-04.
- Racked: "Amanda Pearl's Monsoon Wedding: Love at First Site Via Match.com" by Benjamin Liong Setiawan June 14, 2011
- Seattle Times: "Amanda Brotman inherits passion for retail" By Amy Martinez and Melissa Allison April 25, 2008
- Horowitz, Julia (August 1, 2017). "Costco's co-founder and chairman dies". CNN.
- Seatlle Times: "Death of Costco co-founder Jeff Brotman, 74, ‘a complete shock’" By Janet I. Tu August 1, 2017