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PDQ Founder Dies at 84

MADISON, Wis. -- Sam Jacobsen, founder of PDQ convenience stores, died of heart failure Monday, reported the Wisconsin State Journal .

Jacobsen's start in the retail food business began in 1949 with one store in Madison, Wis., and eventually grew to more than 200 PDQ convenience stores in six states. Jacobsen sold the business to his sons in 1991, and last year it was sold to its employees under an employee stock ownership plan. The chain now has 46 locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and California, according to its Web site.

Jacobsen also served as chairman of the board for the NACS from 1971-1972.

"Sam and our other industry leaders did more than shape NACS; they shaped our industry," Hank Armour, president and CEO of NACS, told CSNews Online. "They helped nurture and grow a fledgling industry that is today the envy of many other retail channels."

Nancy Jacobsen said her husband's drive was already in place by the time he was a teen and he and a partner started their own produce business. Proceeds from that venture allowed him to put himself through UW-Madison, she said in the Journal.

Jacobsen's connection with PDQ extended years beyond his direct involvement with the company, his wife said.

"Every time we traveled, he stopped by the stations," she said. In October, the couple hosted a reception at their town of Westport home for longtime PDQ employees that drew some 200 people.

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