Sy Syms, founder of the family-controlled discount retailer SYMS Corp, died on Tuesday of heart failure.
Upon his death Sy (pictured) was chairman of the business, which he founded in 1959 in New York's financial district. He served as CEO until 1998 when he was succeeded by his daughter Marcy Syms. She said: "My father had an uncanny talent that made him sensitive to the needs of his customers and the changes in the marketplace. He knew the time was right for off-price retailing. Certainly he was ahead of his time."
SYMS was one of the first discount clothing stores to offer cut-price men's clothing. The business is still known by the slogan first coined by Sy in 1974, "An educated customer is our best customer". The company went public in 1983 and currently operates 52 stores across 13 states and had 2008 revenues of $242 million.
Sy was also known for his educational and personal philanthropy. He founded the Sy Syms Foundation, was a founding member of the Sy Syms School of Business and served on many other trust and foundation boards.
Sy is survived by his wife Lynn Tamarkin Syms, four children, two stepchildren, 10 grandchildren and three sisters. He also had two other children who died before him.
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