1937 Leon Levine is born
Leon Levine is born to Harry and Minnie Levine on June 8th in Wadesboro, North Carolina. He is the youngest of four children.
1949 Leon's father dies
Leon’s father, Harry, dies from a heart attack. At age 12, Leon begins taking on more responsibility and helping his mother and brother, Sherman, with the family’s department store in Rockingham, North Carolina, called The Hub.
1955 Leon graduates high school
Leon graduates from Rockingham High School and leaves home to attend the University of Miami. Serious allergies only allow Leon to stay in Miami for 8-weeks before he returns home.
1956 Leon & Sherman purchase a factory in Wingate, NC
Leon and his brother Sherman purchase a chenille bedspread factory called Union Craft Co. in Wingate, North Carolina. Leon attends classes at Wingate College in the mornings and runs the factory in the afternoon. The factory is small, 30 machines, making it difficult for the brothers to be competitive.
1958 Leon marries Barbara Leven of Chicago
In February, Leon marries Barbara Leven of Chicago, who he met during a summer vacation in Florida the year before. They went on to have three children. Howard Russell was born on December 25, 1958; Lori Ann was born on December 20, 1960; and Mindy Ellen was born on August 23, 1963.
1959 Leon opens the first Family Dollar store
After visiting a chain of stores in Tennessee that sold items under $1, Leon has an idea to open a similar store but sell items for under $2. In November, at age 22, Leon opens the first Family Dollar Store in the 1500 block of Central Ave in Charlotte with a $6,000 investment.
1966 Leon’s wife, Barbara, dies from breast cancer at age 27.
1970 Family Dollar goes public
In January, Family Dollar goes public selling 180,000 shares of common stock at $14.50 per share.
1978 Leon marries Sandra Poliakoff
On June 5th, Leon marries Sandra Poliakoff of Anderson, South Carolina. Their daughter, Amy Beth, was born on June 6, 1981.
1984 Leon receives the Bronze Award from Financial World
Leon receives the Bronze Award for management from Financial World – a New York-based publication. The same year, Family Dollar opens its 1000th store in Belmont, North Carolina.
1987 Mindy Ellen Levine dies
Leon’s daughter, Mindy, dies at age 25 after an extended illness.
1993 Family Dollar opens its 2,000th store
Family Dollar opened its 2,000th store. There were 1,999 stores in operation when nine stores opened on July 28th. All nine stores were designated number 2,000.
2002 Leon receives the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine
Leon receives the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine presented by Jim Black, Speaker of the House, during the dedication of Central Piedmont Community College’s South Campus, named the Levine Campus.
2003 Leon retires from Family Dollar
Leon retires from Family Dollar Stores when he is named Chairman Emeritus and begins his second career- building The Leon Levine Foundation into one of the country’s largest and most impactful philanthropic organizations.
2003 Leon is inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
Leon is inducted into the North Carolina Business Hall of Fame. The award recognizes outstanding North Carolina business and government leaders.
2009 Leon and Sandra receive the Jack Callaghan Cornerstone Award
Leon and Sandra receive the Jack Callaghan Cornerstone Award presented by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. The same year, they are inducted into the Order of the Hornet by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.
2012 Leon and Sandra Levine are awarded the World Citizen Award
Leon and Sandra Levine are awarded the World Citizen Award by the World Affairs Council of Charlotte.