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CarMax founder Richard Sharp has died

Rick Sharp

RICHMOND, Va. – CarMax founder and former Circuit City executive Richard Sharp passed away Tuesday night. Sharp, 67, died due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“He is free now and he is not suffering,” Sharry Sharp told the Times-Dispatch. “Through this long and hard struggle, his faith was strong and now he has gone home.”

Sharp, who also served as CEO of Circuit City, came up for the idea of CarMax in 1990.

He, along with fellow Circuit City executive Austin Ligon, helped convince the Circuit City board to commit $50 million develop the CarMax concept and prototype stores.

“The CarMax family is deeply saddened by the passing of our founder, Rick Sharp,” CarMax CEO CEO Tom Folliard said in a statement. “He was instrumental in the formation and development of CarMax – creating the vision for the revolutionary concept in the early 1990s. His commitment to integrity and passion for giving back to the community continue to be our guiding principles.”

Rick, who retired in 2007, left a profound and lasting impact on the company, Folliard said.

“Last year, we dedicated our first CarMax store, located in Richmond, Va., to Rick. During this special and sentimental event, we announced a $250,000 endowment to the Community Foundation to fund the CarMax – Rick Sharp Entrepreneur Scholarship. The first four $2,000 scholarships were awarded to local Richmond area students in June of this year,” Folliard said. “Our thoughts are with the Sharp family during this time.”

7 comments

  • David Meadows

    During his tenure and prior to his retirement in 2000, Circuit City’s revenues grew organically from $175 million to $12.5 billion. He is also the founder and principal contributor to Children First Virginia, an organization that provided scholarships for low-income students in grades K-8 through 2007, one of his many philanthropic activities.

  • Stretch

    Rest in peace, Rick. Those who didn’t actually know you will never know the humbleness and kindness you possessed. My wife had the pleasure of working with you one on one through-out her career with CC and with Carmax at its beginnings. You were a people person with a heart of gold. Our thoughts and prayers go out to your family during this time. You made the world around you a better place and no, you did not take Circuit City down. I hope your family knows that as well as those of us who were investors and employees did. You were so ordinary and identified so well with the “little people” that you were a beloved CEO.

    • Tara (@momscookingtofu)

      I worked at Circuit City during Mr. Sharp’s tenure. Though I only met him a handful of times he was a genuinely nice and humble man. Morale was high and it was after his departure that Circuit City began a slow and steady decline. RIP Rick. The world was a better place because of you.

  • Epic

    He was a natural leader and a visionary. Those of us that knew him and worked with him are better for it.

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