Jeffrey Brotman, co-founder and chairman, Costco Wholesale, who passed away Aug. 1, 2017. Barry Sweet/Bloomberg News.

It was Bernard Brotman, founder of a store called Bernie’s Men’s World in Tacoma, Wash., who got his son, Jeff, started in retail. The senior Brotman had a keen eye, and when he spotted Price Club, a discount retailer in southern California, he told his son, “You should do this.”

Jeff Brotman, who had trained as an attorney, checked it out. Price Club, owned by Sol Price and his sons, was located in a warehouse that had once been an airplane hangar owned by Howard Hughes. Price was looking for a buyer, and when Walmart decided to pass on the opportunity, the Brotmans moved in. One of the executives was Jim Sinegal; he and Jeff Brotman became a team that transformed…