Leon Levine Obituary, Death – The founder of the Family Dollar Store, Leon Levine, died on Wednesday. He left his wealth to philanthropic groups in Charlotte and worldwide. He was 85. Levine is a common organization name in the region. The self-made man who dropped out of college built one of North Carolina’s biggest scholarship programs.
The founder of one of the largest foundations in the Southeast scoured The Charlotte Observer for failing organizations. Since 2008, the Leon Levine Foundation has awarded more than $450 million in awards, more than half of which have already been awarded. The sum does not include the presents given by Levine and his wife Sandra. “Leon Levine’s generosity has transformed our philanthropic landscape,” said Michael Marsicano, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation For The Carolinas, in a statement. “Think of a kind legacy that virtually affects every person in our neighborhood.
This is the legacy of Leon Levine. The Southeastern Council of Foundations placed the Levine Foundation as 21st in the area in 2017 with $534.5 million in assets. The foundation now has assets of over $700 million. It is certain to rise: In an interview with the Observer in 2009, Levine said that the foundation would get the couple’s funds upon their passing.
Levine was born in Wadesboro, the youngest of four kids, whose father died when he was 12 years old. He began helping his mother and brother Sherman run The Hub, the family’s retail store in Rockingham. He said, “In that store, I learned a lot about business and people,” in an interview with the Observer in 2009. You soon understood that the client is the most important person. Sherman and Leon, both 19 at the time, bought a Wingate chenille bedspread company in 1956, but due to its small size, it struggled.
After his lectures at Wingate College in the morning, Levine oversaw the plant in the late evenings. At the age of 22, Levine invested $6,000 in Charlotte’s first Family Dollar location on Central Avenue. According to the organization’s website, he first visited a network of stores in Tennessee that sold things for less than $1. Levine decided that every item in his store, including clothing, household goods, and cleaning products, would cost $2 or less.
A second store had opened by 1960. The firm began selling shares in 1970. It established its 100th store in Brevard the following year and it’s 1,000th in 1985. As of 2019, more than 8,000 sites were operational. The chain’s competitive specialty is its small, neighborhood stores that are conveniently located for their lower-income customers. The majority of items are still around $10 in price.
Levine found store locations by looking for recent oil stains in supermarket parking lots, a sign that his neighbors drove rusted, leaky cars. Oil purchases were frequent. The late 1950s and early 1960s were the years of mall construction. Leon Levine disagreed with that in different ways. The man lived in the neighborhoods rather than going to malls, according to Tom Hanchett, a local historian, who made this claim to The Observer in 2018. His eyesight was extraordinary. In 1966, Barbara, Levine’s first wife, died of breast cancer. The couple’s daughter, Mindy Levine, died in 1987 at the age of 25. He married Sandra Levine in 1978.