kroum-pindoff

Kroum Pindoff, the Greek immigrant who came to Canada in 1955 with nothing and built a national record retail empire Music World and rack-jobber Pindoff Record Sales, died in his sleep January 16. He was 97.

Pindoff was born in 1915 in Macedonia, Greece but raised in Bulgaria. He participated in WWII in the Bulgarian army. In 1955, he moved to Toronto, Canada, with his German-born wife, Eva, to begin life anew. In 1960 he started Pindoff Record Sales, which sold records on consignment to convenience stores and pharmacies. In 1970, he expanded into the retail market with Music World and Eva came onboard as president.

At one point Music World had 110 stores nationwide with more than 1000 employees, but the company didn't change with the times and met with major financial trouble in the 2000s. The Pindoffs sold their remaining 72 stores in 2007. Two days later, the new owners filed for bankruptcy protection.

In addition to building the legendary music chain and wholesaler, The Pindoffs - Kroum and his wife, Eva - are renowned philanthropists, giving more than $20 million to the Red Cross and millions more to War Child.

In 1998, the couple donated $5 million to the Canadian Red Cross to help victims of landminds; in 2004, they gave an equal sum to relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia - the largest ever personal contribution to a Canadian Red Cross disaster appeal, according to the humanitarian organization.

Upon learning of Pindoff's death, the Red Cross released its own press release. "This week we have lost a great humanitarian, supporter and friend," said the organization's secretary general and CEO Conrad Sauvé. "I speak for all of my colleagues at the Canadian Red Cross and in many of our sister societies around the world in expressing our sadness, as well as our gratitude for Mr. Pindoff's tireless support, which touched the lives of countless people in need over the past two decades."

Pindoff is survived by his wife and daughter.