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Cohen of John's Bargain Store Dies

James Cohen, a discount store retailing executive, died of natural causes on Sept. 3. He was 88.

Cohen, along with his three siblings, took over his father's small business of buying merchandise from out-of-business companies and selling the goods.

At its peak the mid-'60s, there were 527 John's Bargain Stores located along the East Coast and Puerto Rico. John's Bargain Store (with its big red sign and white lettering) was once part of the New York metropolitan-area landscape, particularly in low-income sections.

It catered to the low end of retailing, relying on paying cheap rent for locations few other retailers wanted, as well as on buying merchandise that was inexpensive, often because the manufacturer had overestimated demand.

Competition began buffeting the company by the late 1960s, and John's Bargain Store was shuttered in the early '70s. Cohen retired to Florida with his late wife Ruth. They traveled extensively, and he became an avid golfer and fisherman.

Cohen is survived by his daughter, Marcia Penn; his sons Karl and Jeffrey (vice president of sales for Ginsey Industries); 18 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of remembrances, the family asks that donations be made to Bon Scours Hospice, 8580 Magellan Pkwy. Richmond, VA 23227.

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