ABC C-stores Founder Dies at 86

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ABC C-stores Founder Dies at 86

The founder of the 70-store ABC Store chain, Sidney Kosasa, died in his home at the age of 86, reported Honolulu Star Bulletin.

"He was sleeping and died peacefully," son Paul Kosasa told the Honolulu Star Bulletin. "There was no pain, no suffering. ... He slipped away."

Kosasa and his wife, Minnie, opened the first ABC Store in Waikiki in 1964. The stores cater to tourists visiting the islands of Hawaii. He came up with the idea when visiting Miami Beach, Fla., where he watched visitors shopping at convenience stores rather than higher-priced hotel shops. He took the idea back with him to Hawaii, where 55 of the 70 stores are located.

During his career, Kosasa achieved many honors. He was named the first retailer of the year in 1985 by the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. He was a past president and a life member of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, president of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, president of the Hawaii Retail Druggists' Association and president of Kuakini Health System, the newspaper reported.

In addition, Kosasa developed a business model that provides store associates with a profit sharing plan where the company's profits are distributed amongst employees. To build up team spirit, the company meets with 1,000 associates every year over a family-style dinner, the report stated.

The business has since been passed to his son, Paul, who expanded the chain to Guam, Saipan and Las Vegas.

"In the company, we never had to lay off anybody," Paul told the Star Bulletin. "That's one of his proudest accomplishments from a business standpoint."

Kosasa was a second generation immigrant from Japan. He grew up working in his parents' grocery store in Honolulu and later earned a pharmacy degree at the University of California at Berkeley. During World War II, he was sent to a relocation camp, where he met and married Minnie. After the War ended, he returned to Hawaii. Then, in 1949, Kosasa opened a drug store in Kaimuki, and a chain of Thrifty Drug stores followed.

Kosasa is survived be his wife, his sons Paul and Thomas, daughters Susan Kosasa and Gloria Gainsley, and his five grandchildren.