The Associated Press reports the founder and CEO of Ollie's Bargain Outlet has passed away.

Kathy Whyte/WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/WNBF News

The company issued a statement saying Mark Butler died unexpectedly December 1 while spending the Thanksgiving holiday with his family.

He was 61.

Butler, along with Oliver "Ollie" Rosenberg, Mort Berstein and Harry Coverman started the discount chain in Pennsylvania in 1982.

Board member Richard Zannino said Butler took over as CEO and President in 2003 but actually rang up the first sale for the first store when it opened.

Butler lead the company's expansion into 24 additional states.  There is an Ollie's Outlet in Broome County in Westover in the plaza that currently houses the Home Depot and other businesses.

Ollie's Executive Vice President, COO and Chief Financial Officer, John Swygert has been named the interim president/CEO.

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