Leon Levine (June 8, 1937 - )
Starting from a small store in Charlotte serving a modest income neighborhood, Leon Levine would build a 5,000 store chain across 43 states Family Dollar.
The son of a small department store owner in Rockingham, NC,
Leon Levine was born on June 8, 1937, in Wadesboro.
As a young boy, Leon joined his brothers to work with their father at their store The Hub. His father died in 1949.
In 1951 when Leon's older brother Sherman was drafted for the Korean Conflict, 15-year-old Leon found himself running the store. He was vice president of The Hub between 1954-1957.
In 1956, Sherman and Leon bought a chenille bedspread factory — Union Craft Company — near Wingate College, where Leon attended the college in the morning and ran the factory in the afternoon.
With U.S. wholesale resistance to the obsolete products being produced from the factory, Leon persevered and found a successful market in Puerto Rico. After a couple of years, there was a hard choice, substantially invest in updating the factory or sell it.
In 1959, 22-year-old Leon investigated a Kentucky-based store selling only items selling for under $1 dollar. There were scores of such enterprises around the country.
In November 1959, Leon opened a store on Central Avenue in Charlotte nothing cost more than $2. He created the store's name Family Dollar.
Targeting urban and small town communities with low and middle-income areas, Family Dollar stores began to expand.
In 1961, Family Dollar expanded to South Carolina. During the 1960s, the store operations also grew to Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee.
The 50th store opened in 1969. Family Dollar Stores went public in 1970, and was listed on the American Stock Exchange in 1972. By then, the chain had grown to over a 100 stores.
In 1979. Family Dollar was trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Innovative marketing, advertising programs and store redesigns and upgrades have kept Family Dollar growing.
Today, there are more than 5,000 Family Dollar stores, making it one of America's leading discount chains.
Over the years, he has supported numerous educational organizations, including Duke University and its Levine Science Research Center, Charlotte Country Day, the Levine Museum of the New South and many others.
He was married in 1958 to Barbara Leven, who died in 1966. They had three children — Howard Russell, Lori Ann and Mindy Ellen. In 1978, Leon married Sandra Joy Poliakoff and they have one daughter, Amy Beth.
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