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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Family Dollar Stores

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

Family Dollar Stores, a discount general merchandise firm, was founded in Charlotte in 1959 by Leon Levine and Family Dollar Store, Asheville, NC, 2011.  Image courtesy of Flickr user Bill Rhodes. his cousin Bernie Levine. Leon's father had founded the Hub, a general department store, in Rockingham in 1908, and his older brother Al had established Pic 'n Pay self-service shoe stores in 1957. The first Family Dollar Store set the pattern for subsequent stores by targeting low- and middle-income families and featuring no merchandise priced over one dollar. The company grew rapidly, opening no-frills, low-overhead stores across North Carolina and in other states. Most Family Dollar stores are located in small communities, with the majority of their merchandise selling for significantly less than the prices paid in chain supermarkets or drugstores. An early emphasis on goods such as clothing, shoes, linens, and towels has over time been complemented by merchandise such as electronics, housewares, health and beauty aids, paper items, and detergents. In 2006 Family Dollar Stores was a multibillion-dollar company with approximately 6,000 stores in 44 states, competing with large firms such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Dollar General.

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Family Dollar Store:

Image Credit:

Family Dollar Store, Asheville, NC, 2011.  Image courtesy of Flickr user Bill Rhodes.  Available from  (accessed August 28, 2012).

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