Mark Butler.jpg

A 2015 photo of Mark Butler, who co-founded Ollie's Bargain Outlet. 

Mark Butler, who co-founded Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in 1982 and then led the discount retailer through an IPO in 2015, died Sunday, the company announced. He was 61 years old.

Along with Mort Bernstein, Ollie Rosenburg and Harry Coverman, Butler opened the first Ollie’s in 1982 in Mechanicsburg. In 2003, Butler became president and CEO of the company which now has 345 stores in 25 states, including two in Lancaster County.

Butler, who was also an owner of the Harrisburg Senators minor league baseball team, died unexpectedly while spending the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with his family, the company said. 

“Mark was an exceptional entrepreneur, merchant, leader, philanthropist, friend and family man,” said board member Richard Zannino on behalf of the entire board of directors. “Mark built a successful and enduring retail concept, assembled an incredible team, created thousands of jobs and delivered millions of bargains to our customers, while delivering exceptional shareholder value along the way.”

Zannino continued, “We will dearly miss Mark and extend our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Mark’s entire family.”

Effective immediately, John Swygert has been named interim president and CEO of the Ollie’s. Swygert had been executive vice president and chief operating officer of the company.

Known for its motto “good stuff cheap,” Ollie's sells excess brand-name inventory and salvage items in what it describes as “semi-lovely stores.”