Other Notable Deaths


May 21, 2007


Clothing retailer

Robert J. Lapidus, who turned a surplus business into Bob's Stores, a major clothing retailer in the Northeast, died Friday at a Farmington, Conn., hospital.

The entrepreneur had more than 30 stores. He started his first store, Bob's Surplus, in Middletown, Conn., in 1954 when he was 25. The store operated on his philosophy: "Treat all customers with respect and dignity, and they will return again and again."

Customers did just that, prompting Mr. Lapidus to move to a larger location across the street; that stored burned in 1967. He rebuilt and expanded and eventually Bob's Surplus became Bob's Stores, specializing in casual clothing and shoes.

In 1990, Mr. Lapidus sold the company to retailer Melville, which also owned CVS, Thom McAn and Marshalls Inc. Bob's stores are now owned by The TJX Cos.

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