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Subject: Fred Paulsell, 63; Played Major Role in Costco's Opening

October 22
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Date Posted: October 30, 2002 8:24:02 EDT

Fred Paulsell, 63, a venture capitalist who provided crucial financing and advice in the start-up of Costco Wholesale Corp., died in his sleep Oct. 22 at his home in Seattle.

Born in Spokane, Wash., Paulsell moved to Seattle as a child, served in the Army, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in finance at the University of Chicago.

He began working for Smith Barney, which transferred him to Seattle to open a new office at age 30.

In 1972, he became executive vice president of Foster & Marshall, a local brokerage. That business was sold to Shearson/American Express in 1982, and Paulsell became a co-founder of the venture capital firm Foster Paulsell & Baker in 1985.

In 1982, he met Costco founder and Chairman Jeff Brotman on a flight to Seattle that was struck by lightning and made an emergency landing in San Francisco.

While the plane was grounded for four hours, Brotman talked about opening a chain of low-cost warehouse clubs and Paulsell offered to help raise the money.

Within months, a limited partnership called the Cost Club had raised $7.5 million and the first store was opened in south Seattle in September 1983.

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