Jack Luskin, Co-Founder of Luskin’s Appliances and Electronics, Dies at 89
Jack Luskin, co-founder of once-famed Baltimore appliance/electronics store Luskin’s, died Friday. He was 89.
At nine o’clock on the busiest shopping day of 1985, Luskin’s salesmen were busy keeping pace with shoppers grabbing hi-fis, televisions, and enough electronic gadgets to put Star Wars movies to shame.
Early Life and Education
Jack Luskin opened his first store in 1948 as a small space selling refrigerators at a time when many consumers still used old-fashioned ice boxes and relied on weekly delivery services for deliveries of ice. With help from his brother’s Army separation pay, Luskin’s quickly expanded into larger showrooms.
By 1970, mass merchants like Kmart, Montgomery Ward and Sears had gained on Luskin’s with better deals from manufacturers. To combat competition he became one of the founding members of NATM Buying Corp. – representing regional electronics/appliance stores to this day.
Rothman is also an emeritus professor of social welfare at UCLA Luskin and has written over 25 books, such as his memoir about searching for his Ukrainian shtetl roots titled, “Searching for Butsnevits”. Most recently, “The Book of Days,” his poetry collection was published. Rothman currently lives in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Luskin quickly expanded his business into a 56-store electronics/appliance chain. His business became well-known as it became synonymous with his slogan of being “The Cheapest Guy in Town.”
He opened his first storefront selling appliances and televisions in 1948. Over time, however, he began conceptualizing a larger, more comprehensive electronics/appliance store.
Manley was accused of being Luskin’s accomplice during the trial and testified against him, agreeing to do so because doing so would help avoid state charges against him.
Luskin leaves behind his beloved wife of 69 years, Dolly; sons Gary and Patrick; daughter Jamie McCourt who co-owned the Los Angeles Dodgers with him; 13 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews who will miss him deeply. Additionally he was an active member of his church community.
Achievement and Honors
Luskin earned numerous honors and awards throughout his career. Notably, he was honored as a Fellow of the American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section; additionally he served on its Committee on RICO, Forfeitures and Alternative Remedies; was appointed Special Counsel to the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section at DOJ; where he managed high-profile cases;
His family includes Jean, his wife of 68 years; their three sons Cary, Kevin, Jamie McCourt; as well as multiple nieces and nephews. He was an active member of Temple Emanu-el and Palm Beach Jewish Center.
Jack Luskin was an industry giant who was greatly appreciated by all who knew him. He will be fondly remembered for his generous spirit, humor, and his unwavering dedication to his clients.
He spent his retirement playing golf and traveling, with family being his top priority; he leaves behind his beloved wife Jane and 13 adoring grandchildren as survivors.
His son, Cary, also operated Luskin’s, an electronics store chain in Maryland. According to The Baltimore Sun, Cary recalls how his father got started by following ice wagons around to identify potential customers and knocking on doors to offer sales pitches.
Manley was found guilty on the basis of testimony provided by Jim Liberto based on a divorce proceeding that Luskin was involved with; this testimony could only reduce prison time by three weeks if offered as evidence against Manley. Manley’s attorney claimed he invented the murder-for-hire story while in jail due to what Jim Liberto had told him regarding Luskin. Initially convicted but later released with only three week of detention remaining as punishment.
Jack Luskin was an accomplished businessman and owner of a Baltimore-based chain of electronics and appliances stores known for their “Cheapest Guy in Town” slogan. Sadly, Jack passed away this past Friday at age 89 surrounded by his wife Jean; sons Cary and Kevin; daughter Jamie McCourt – now United States Ambassador to France; as well as daughter Jamie McCourt herself, now serving as U.S. ambassador.
Nevins & Associates president David Nevins noted that his innovative store design and merchandising approach became an inspiration for later electronics stores such as Circuit City and Best Buy, according to David. Additionally, he was an early proponent of big-box specialty retailing as a concept; moreover he self-identified as libertarian writing the blog “The Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid,” also publishing three books himself.