Larry Rossy, Dollarama (Mario Beauregard/CPI/The Canadian Press)

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He's the gold standard for the truly hands-on CEO. Even as Dollarama LP Inc. has raced past $1 billion in sales, Larry Rossy, its chief executive, has held onto the jobs of head buyer and store-location scout for the chain's 585 outlets across Canada. Over the past decade, Rossy has achieved his vision of a professionally managed chain rising to dominance. His firm has tripled the number of its stores and left rivals such as A Buck or Two shrinking fast. Although the recession juiced up sales — which reached $303 million in the quarter ended August 2, 2009, up by 15% in a year — Dollarama was flourishing long before the slump. Rossy has maintained strategies that helped put the chain on top in Canada. He scoured higher-priced stores for $10 items he could copy and sell for a buck — even a disposable camera. And, to keep costs rock-bottom, he bypassed importers, sourcing directly from Asian manufacturers. -- Jim McElgunn

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