Shortly before his 81st birthday in 2013, Dave's heart stopped, his life cycle completed. But what a life it was.
At age 50, when most people have long surrendered their entrepreneurial dreams, Dave started his first business venture: 99 Cents Only Stores.
People laughed because at 99 cents, they said he'd lose money and go broke. But Dave believed otherwise because in the family liquor business, he saw that 99 cents was a magic number.
If he ran a sale at 98 cents or $1.01, the merchandise moved slowly. But priced at 99 cents it flew off the shelves.
So Dave named his store 99 Cents Only and priced everything accordingly.
Los Angeles Times photo: Dave Gold
The keys to success for Dave would be to price at 99 cents, operate efficiently and to buy top quality merchandise at such discounted prices, that he could sell at bargain prices and still make money.
So if Colgate couldn't sell all their toothpaste, he was there. If Energizer had too many batteries or Del Monte redesigned their tomato sauce cans and wanted to sell off their prior designed cans, he was there.
Most major household suppliers sold their excess merchandise to Dave at huge discounts, which he in turn passed on to consumers.
Dave so loved his business that he typically worked from 4 am to 7 pm, claiming he only worked a "3 hour day."
Sherry, his wife of 55 years, worked alongside of him as did other family members and those he considered to be his extended family, the employees.
In 2011, Dave sold City of Commerce, California based 99 Cents Only Stores to equity firm Ares Management and to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for approximately $1.6 billion, which placed him among the Forbes 400 richest people.
But the long-term success of the chain had already made him rich, as did doing what he loved.
Employees called him "Dave," not Mr. Gold and his office was basically a big cubicle. He wore old rumpled pants and a white shirt that needed ironing, and black scuffed shoes that had seen better days.
Dave's car was a 2000 Prius. He had no administrative assistant, and he personally placed and took phone calls and greeted visitors.
Dave's purpose in life was never to be rich. He lived in the same middle class home he bought in the early 1960's. But he loved humanity and his purpose was to save customers money to make their lives better.
Many of us miss this lovely man.