University of Washington Bothell presents Icons of Retail Award to Brotman brothers

March 2, 2015

CONTACT: Mary Ann Odegaard, Ph.D.,, 206-856-3835

University of Washington Bothell presents Icons of Retail Award to Brotman brothers

The University of Washington Bothell today presented its third annual Icons of Retail Award to brothers Jeff Brotman, co-founder of Costco, and Michel Brotman, long-time Seattle retailer, in an award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.

“Members of the Brotman family have been trailblazers in Pacific Northwest retailing for generations,” says Mary Ann Odegaard, Ph.D., who launched the retail management program in UW Bothell’s School of Business. “Jeff and Michel have been role models for countless entrepreneurial retailers as well as generous supporters and partners with the University.”

The men’s grandfather, Samuel, emigrated to Tacoma from Canada, where he opened Brotman’s Trading Post downtown, advertising “We buy and sell anything of value.” Their father, Bernie, owned Bernie’s Men’s Store.

With co-founder Jim Sinegal, Jeff Brotman opened the first Costco warehouse in Seattle in 1983. A unique concept at its launch, Costco became the first company ever to grow from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years.

Michel Brotman founded the gift and souvenir store Simply Seattle in 1989. He opened the Chocolate Box and became a master chocolatier in 2007 and also consults with other developers of small retail enterprises.

Sandeep Krishnamurthy, dean of the UW Bothell School of Business, praised the brothers for their commitment to business excellence and community service.

“The UW Bothell School of Business develops ethical leaders who can thrive in today’s pragmatic, bottom line-driven business environment while shaping strategic solutions to tomorrow’s most critical business challenges,” Krishnamurthy says. “Michel and Jeff epitomize the same philosophy of strategic business management coupled with visionary leadership.”

The Icons of Retail Award was created to showcase industry leaders in a region of iconic retail brands. Past recipients include the Nordstrom family and Kemper Freeman.

About UW Bothell: The University of Washington Bothell prepares students to be creative thinkers, business visionaries and civic leaders. Founded in 1990, it is the fastest-growing and most diverse public university in the state and the fourth fastest growing four-year institution in the entire nation. Offering nearly 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees, UW Bothell now boasts nearly 5,000 students.