Charles Woolworth – Business Bio Summary

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Charles Woolworth

Charles Woolworth was the co-founder of F.W. Woolworth Company, which was actually named after his brother Franklin Winfield Woolworth.

The F.W. Woolworth Company is an operator of discount stores that sold merchandise at the prices of 5 cents to 10 cents. This was also the time when fixed pricing was established in stores.

When Franklin died, Charles Woolworth took over the company and had its expansion plans continued.

The operations of F.W. Woolworth Company reached Cuba and Germany in 1920. Under the command of Charles Woolworth, the company kept on growing and by 1944, at the time of his retirement, F.W. Woolworth had 2,000 stores under its name.

Charles Woolworth Establishes 19th Century Discount Stores

Charles Woolworth was born in Rodman, New York and was the son of a farmer. His older brother, Franklin Winfield Woolworth was an aspiring merchant who worked in Watertown, New York at a dry goods store for six years. During his stay in that store, he observed something: leftover items were placed on a table and priced at five cents each.

This gave Franklin an idea. He borrowed $300 dollars and opened his first five-cent store in Utica, New York. Unfortunately, in just a few weeks, this business ventured failed. Not one to give up, he opened a second store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania this time with the help of Charles Woolworth.

This time, they decided to include merchandise and price it at ten cents. The business was such a success that they expanded and opened a large number of stores, all following the five cents and ten cents principle.

The F.W. Woolworth Company expanded and by 1913, the Woolworth Building in New York City was built at the price of $13.5 million dollars in cash. When Franklin Winfield Woolworth died in 1919, Charles Woolworth took over.

Determined to improve the company even further, he expanded the F.W. Woolworth Company to other countries. And the time of his retirement, the F.W. Woolworth Company owned 2,000 stores and was roughly a $70 million dollar corporation.

The Charles Woolworth Quick Bio

Full Name: Charles Sumner Woolworth
Birthdate: 1856
Birthplace: Rodman, New York
Corporation: F.W. Woolworth Company
Industry: Retail
Key Success Traits: loyal entrepreneur, unwavering determination, meticulous planner