1967 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Don't run away from life."
One of eight children born to immigrant parents in Quincy, Massachusetts, Max Coffman started working at an early age, contributing to the family coffers by working as a delivery boy for local grocery stores.
After high school, he began his education in the retail field by working for a local department store, while attending Northeastern University at night. In 1935, he joined the predecessor company of Food Fair and had the primary responsibility of opening new stores. Two years later, he was recruited by Stop & Shop, a leading New England food chain.
In 1946, Coffman ventured out on his own, operating a small chain of retail stores in New England. About 12 years later, he opened the first Mammoth Mart in Framingham. When Max Coffman was honored as a 1967 Horatio Alger Award recipient, he was chairman of the board of a chain of 20 Mammoth Mart discount department stores that generated more than $50 million in sales annually. He sold his operations 10 years later, which then included 90 stores along the East Coast.
Coffman once said his Horatio Alger Award reflected his personal philosophy. "If you work hard, opportunity will come along and you'll be ready for it. Be determined, work hard, run fast, and fear nothing as you go up the ladder. Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Share responsibility, face reverses with determination, and never give up. Keep fighting and you will succeed. Above all, be a good leader."* Deceased