May 31, 2023
Sullivans Brands founder dies

Marian Sullivan, founder of gift and home décor company Sullivans Brands, has died.

According to the company, Sullivan was an innovator, visionary, philanthropist and inductee into the 2021 South Dakota Hall of Fame. Her unique blend of faith, business acumen and dedication to her employees set a high standard for leadership and set the tone for the culture at Sullivans.

Born and raised in South Dakota, Sullivan graduated from Sioux Falls College in 1950 with a degree in mathematics. She co-founded Sullivans with her husband, Bill, in 1968.

Following the death of  Bill in 1987, Marian took the helm of Sullivans. Under her stewardship, the company grew, relocating in 1994 to a 137,000-square-foot complex.

“Marian gave much credit to the success and growth of the business to hiring good people,” said Tom Russo, CEO of Sullivans. “She understood that her people were her greatest asset, and she treated everyone with the utmost kindness and respect.”

The founder received numerous awards, including being recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top entrepreneurs in the U.S. in 1996.

Outside of her professional life, Marian served on the boards of numerous organizations, including Volunteers of America Foundation, Children’s Home Society, Children’s Inn, Central Church, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and the University of Sioux Falls.


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