In Memorium: Entrepreneurs Who Died in 2009

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Alex Grass, Founder of Rite Aid

Grass, a depression baby, first saw the sparkle of entrepreneurial opportunity when the Supreme Court ruled that manufacturers couldn’t force retailers to charge a particular minimum price. Armed with experience working in his in-laws’ regional grocery distributor he bought a Scranton, Pennsylvania Thrif D Discount Center in 1962. Six years later, the chain had changed names to Rite Aid, jumped to 50 locations, and completed an IPO. But all did not go smoothly at the company: Grass was ousted as chief executive in 1995 by his son Martin; afterward, he dabbled in other business ventures including a sports card company. This year, the chain reached revenue of $24 billion at 4,900 locations.