John W. “Jack” Holley, who helped transform Grandpa Pidgeon’s Roost from a one-stop shop to a regional empire of discount stores, has passed away at the age of 91.
Mr Holley, formerly of Kirkwood, died Saturday, November 28, 2015 in Naples, Florida, following a long illness.
“He was one of my best friends to call and get advice,” said David Holley, 66, of his late father. âHe was so smart. “
Jack Holley’s stepfather, Tom Pidgeon, opened the first store in Bridgeton in 1953. After opening Grandfather’s second store in 1958, Mr. Holley eventually became the owner of the Grandpa chain.
Prior to Grandpa’s sale to Value City in 1999, the chain had 2,000 employees and 15 stores in the St. Louis area and in small towns such as Farmington and Greenville, Illinois.
Mr. Holley started other retail businesses, including a sporting goods chain, Omni Sports and Forsythe Computers. Forsythe was sold in 1988 and the last Omni store closed in 1999.
âWhen you start a business, it’s pretty consuming,â said David Holley. “He was engrossed in the business and, that said, he never missed a game one of the brothers played or never missed an important event in our life.”
David Holley, the second oldest son, said his father must have grown up quickly after losing his mother in his early teens. Shortly afterwards Mr Holley’s father fell ill and Mr Holley was in the care of two aunts for some time.