They are mostly a Midwest/ Illinois and Wisconsin thing.
I gotta admit I was surprised by that. I didn’t know that owner directly, but did know, and was on a first name basis with a few individual store owners in the south Chicago area before I moved west. I never got the impression about the founder that anything like this was lurking.
Then again this was all a few years ago, and most of the stuff on the BGG thread seems pretty recent.