Joel Dean, a member of the entrepreneurial team that launched the Dean & DeLuca food and wine empire, died on May 24 of a staph infection. He was 73.
After graduating from Michigan State University, Dean moved to New York to study English at Columbia. He was working at Simon & Schuster in 1977 when he and former schoolteacher Giorgio DeLuca opened the first Dean & DeLuca store in Lower Manhattan.
Over the next three decades, the store expanded across the U.S. and into Japan. Dean & DeLuca moved its main headquarters to a 10,000 square foot building in SoHo in 1988, where it remains a New York landmark.
Dean & DeLuca is known for selling high-priced quality food, wine and kitchenware. Artist Jack Ceglic, who was Dean’s companion for 46 years, designed the industrial appearance of each store.