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Gloria Peterson, Portland retail icon, has died at age 89

Retailer Gloria Peterson, who with husband Tom, became Portland cultural icons, has died at age 89, according to KXL radio.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Retailer Gloria Peterson, who with husband Tom, became Portland cultural icons, has died at age 89, according to KXL radio.

The couple ran the Tom Peterson furniture and appliance stores for 30 years.

They would appear together in late night television ads, Tom Peterson often imploring the viewer to "Wake up. Wake up!" The couple would then highlight furniture, appliances, and giveaways like free haircuts. The ad would end with "Now that's Tom Peterson ... and Gloria's too!"

The Tom Peterson ads ran frequently, unavoidable in that broadcast era. The catch phrase "Free is a very good price" turned into a Portland colloquialism.

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Tom Peterson made a decision in 1989 the purchase the financially strapped Stereo Super Stores chain, which eventually forced them into them into bankruptcy.

They managed to resurrect their original business several years later as "Tom Peterson's & Gloria's Too." They finally closed their last store in 2009.

Tom Peterson died in 2016.

In a statement to KXL, son-in-law Robert Condon remembered Gloria Peterson as "a very kind and wonderful woman." Her favorite drink was a Manhattan.

"When Tom went bankrupt, she cried everyday for a week, because the creditors cashed in her Boeing stock that her mother left her when she died. When we started the new business under my dba she always chimed in at the company Christmas party and spoke to lift up the employees ... her famous saying was “do your want to soar like an eagle, or dive like a buzzard”  

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