Family Dollar (Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr)

Born in North Carolina: Family Dollar

Did you know that one of the most well-known discount variety stores — Family Dollar — was established in the great state of North Carolina?

Unlike other discount stores, items sold in Family Dollar are not unilaterally priced with a one dollar ceiling (depending on the item, it may cost more or less than a dollar). This allows you to find a greater selection of low-priced items at a variety of price points.

As part of Dickens Mitchener’s “Born in North Carolina” series, let’s learn more about how Charlotte-based Family Dollar became one of the nation’s most iconic bargain retail stores.

The history of Family Dollar

Founded by a 21-year-old entrepreneur named Leon Levine, Family Dollar opened its first store location on Central Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1959. Shortly after, additional stores opened their doors in South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. Since then, Family Dollar has grown to be one of the largest discount and dollar stores in the United States. By the late 1980s, the brand boasted more than 1,500 stores in operation.

What Family Dollar is up to today

Currently, the company employs 60,000 employees across 8,000 store locations nationwide. While initial start-up costs for the store involved $3,000 of Levine’s own money and $3,000 from an additional partner, the company is currently valued at more than $10 billion in 2017.

After Levine retired in 2003, his son, Howard R. Levine, stepped up to take the position of CEO and Chairman — ensuring that the time-honored brand remains a family affair. In January 2015, Family Dollar merged with fellow discount retailer, Dollar Tree, though the brand still operates under the Family Dollar name and Levine holds a spot on the Dollar Tree board of directors.

Contact Dickens Mitchener today to learn more about why businesses like Family Dollar set down their roots in North Carolina.