Marvin Goodman, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of swimwear manufacturer Apparel Ventures Inc., died of lymphoma Nov. 30 at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital in California. He was 76.

This story first appeared in the December 14, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Goodman started Apparel Ventures in 1976 and made the Gardena, Calif.-based company a leader in the swimwear sector. Apparel Ventures manufactures women’s swimwear and beach accessories under the La Blanca by Rod Beattie, 2 Bamboo, Ralph Lauren and Ralph Lauren Blue Label tags, among others.

In 2004, Goodman spearheaded Apparel Ventures’ acquisition of Waterfront Design Group LLC, a young contemporary-junior swimwear firm that became the company’s Blue Water Design Group division. It produces swimwear for the Puma, Local Motion, Trina Turk and A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz labels.

Goodman began Apparel Ventures with three employees — a designer, secretary and fit model — to market junior swimwear and sportswear, which it abandoned in the Eighties, under the Sassafras label. The small staff notched $4.5 million in sales in its first year. Apparel Venture’s hire of designer Rod Beattie, who honed the La Blanca brand, buoyed the company and that brand alone was a $25 million business by 1994.

Beattie said Goodman pushed Apparel Ventures to continually improve its swimwear. “One time, I walked into his office and said, ‘How have you done this for 35 years?’ He said, ‘Every day is a new challenge.’ He just loved the challenge and, at the same time, he was having fun making the best swimwear on the U.S. market….For me, as a designer, he was always supportive of what I did.”

The company extended its reach abroad. In Europe, Apparel Ventures Europa Textila LDA produces private label swimwear. And the firm manufactures swimwear from subsidiary AVI De Mexico facilities.

Bill Singletary, chief financial officer of Apparel Ventures, has been appointed interim ceo. He described Goodman as a “mentor and a good friend” and the “industry’s most preeminent executive.” “He was a pioneer in the expansion of the swimwear industry,” he said.

Goodman is survived by his wife Melinda, and his children Gregory, Dean, Rebecca and Jessica Goodman and Brandon Schiffman.