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Family Dollar ( ) is a regional chain of variety stores in the United Statesmarker. It opened in 1959 and operates approximately 6,617 stores in 44 states and the District of Columbiamarker. It is headquartered in Matthews, North Carolinamarker.

Family Dollar is not a true "dollar store" in the strict sense; while there are many items available for $1, there are other price points as well. However, approximately 90% of the products cost less than $10. With most locations set up like a typical supermarket, the chain deals in food items, clothing and assorted household products.

Some, but not all, Family Dollar stores now accept credit cards, as well as debit cards and the cash benefit from EBT (food stamp) cards.

History

Family Dollar was founded in 1959 by Leon Levine, a 21-year-old entrepreneur. In November of that year, the company's first store was opened, in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker. In 1961, their first store in South Carolinamarker opened, followed by stores in Georgiamarker and Virginiamarker, which were opened in 1962 and 1965, respectively. During the 1960s, the store company was largely a southern United States operation. By 1969, there were fifty stores in Charlotte alone.

The 1970s were growing years for the store chain. In 1970, Family Dollar's stock went public for the first time, at $14.50 per share. In 1971, the chain's 100th store opened, followed by their 200th in 1974 and their 300th in 1978. Also in 1974, a distribution center was opened in Matthews, North Carolinamarker. In 1979, Family Dollar stock began trading at the New York Stock Exchangemarker.

In 1981, the chain's 400th store was opened, followed by a 500th store in 1982 and a 700th in 1983. The 1980s saw expansion at a wider scale for the company, and, by 1989, 1,500 stores were operating.

The 1990s saw the pace of expansion slow down compared to the 1980s, with 1,000 stores opened. However, the company opened distribution centers in West Memphis, Arkansasmarker; Front Royal, Virginiamarker and Duncan, Oklahomamarker. Since 2000, the pace of growth has quickened significantly, with the addition of about 3,500 new stores, and new distribution centers opening in Morehead, Kentuckymarker; Maquoketa, Iowamarker; Odessa, Texasmarker; Marianna, Floridamarker; and Rome, New Yorkmarker.

In 2001, Family Dollar joined the S&P 500 stock market index. In 2002, the company joined the Fortune 500 list of largest publicly held companies.

When Leon Levine retired in 2003, his son Howard R. Levine succeeded him as Chairman and CEO, keeping this multi-billion dollar company in the family.

As of August 29, 2009, the company had 6,650 stores in 44 states. According to their website, in 2005 Family Dollar opened 500 new stores, 350 more in 2006, and an additional 300 in 2007.

Family Dollar operates nine distribution centers to keep product stock in their stores. These warehouses feature over of room and over nine miles (14 km) of conveyor, and employ around 400 people.

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