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  • Melvin Horace Baer (1907 - 1989)
    In 1945, Melvin and Lucile Baer founded Baer's Home Outfitters in South Bend, Indiana, based on one simple concept: offer customers famous brands that they can trust, quality craftsmanship and lasting ...
  • Charles Philip Lazarus (1923 - 2018)
    Charles P. Lazarus (1923-2018) founded Children's Supermart (which would evolve into Toys "R" Us) in Washington, D.C., during the post-war baby boom era in 1948 as a baby-furniture retailer. Its first ...
  • Jack Landman Goldsmith (1910 - 2013)
    Birth: Apr. 10, 1910 Death: Mar. 1, 2013 Jack Landman Goldsmith, the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of Goldsmith's Department Store, and a business and civic leader in Memphis for de...
  • Leon Jerome Levitz (1915 - 2016)
    He Lived it as Levitz Leon J. Levitz Gone at 101 by Deb Silverthorn LEVITZ, LEON JEROME For more than a half-century, most of the country "loved it at Levitz," a tribute to the lifelong career of Leon ...
  • Isaac Maas (1863 - 1935)
    Isaac Maas, with his brother Abe, was co founder of Maas Brothers (1886 - 1991) based in Tampa. He was born in Dolgeshiem, Germany on October 14, 1863. He came to the US in 1877 settling in Cochran, Ge...

Notable Retailers

The object of this project is to catalogue notable retailers or business magnates, founders of big chain stores etc., linking them to profiles and trees on GENi. These giants mostly started out as ordinary shopkeepers.

The project is international.

See also Shopkeepers where you can add profiles of those who were the backbone of society - ordinary shopkeepers.

Related projects -

Note: Links in bold are to GENi profiles. Where no there is not a profile on GENi (yet) links are to outside resources.

Notable Retailers

People of great influence, importance, or standing in particular fields of business. "The term characteristically refers to a wealthy individual who controls through personal business ownership or dominant shareholding position a firm or industry whose goods, products, or services are widely consumed". Business Magnate


  • Samuel Northrup Castle (1808–1894) Hawaiin Businessman and politician. Co-founder of the firm Castle & Cooke which sold farm tools, sewing equipment, and medicine, and invested in Hawaii's sugar industry with plantations in Kohala & Haiku.
  • Amos Starr Cooke (1810–1871) Hawaiian businessman, Co-founder of the firm Castle & Cooke which sold farm tools, sewing equipment, and medicine and invested in Hawaii's sugar industry with plantations in Kohala & Haiku.
  • James Drummond Dole (1877–1958), also known as the "Pineapple King'", was an American industrialist who developed the pineapple industry in Hawaii and established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, or HAPCO, which later to become the Dole Food Company, which now does business in over 90 countries. Dole was a cousin (once removed) of Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii.
  • David Howard Murdock (1923) 'American businessman and philanthropist. Owner of Dole Food and real-estate development company Castle & Cook; Hotelier, golf clubs owner, Arabian horse breeder. He took over the nearly bankrupt Hawaiian firm Castle & Cooke, which owned pineapple and banana producer Dole Food Company. He developed Castle & Cooke's real estate portfolio into residential and commercial properties and turned Dole into the world's largest producer of fruits and vegetables.


  • Barnes and Noble 1917
  • Charles M. Barnes who opened a book-printing business in Wheaton, Illinois in 1873 and his son
  • William Barnes, went into partnership with
  • Gilbert Clifford Noble (1860-1936) in 1917
  • Henry Walton Smith (1738-1792) founder of W H Smith, one of the United Kingdom's largest bookselling and newspaper vending businesses.
  • Tim Waterstone (1939 Glasgow) founder of the United Kingdom bookselling retail chain Waterstones


Bottle Stores

Builders' Merchants

  • Benjamin Ingram
  • Sandell Perkins

Catalogue Retailers

  • Argos is a subsidiary of Home Retail Group - founded by Sainsbury's supermarket chain and Belgian retailer GB-Inno-BM

Clothing Retailers



  • Joseph Fry (1728-1803) Founder of Fry's Chocolate


Department Stores


  • John 'Johnie' Walker (1805-1857) Scottish grocer, who originated what would become one of the world’s most famous whisky brand names, Johnnie Walker.

Distilleries and Families - Scotland

D.I.Y retailers

  • B&Q (UK)

<* Richard Block

  • David Quayle (1936-2010)
  • Focus UK
  • Bill Archer
  • Greg Stanley (who had previously built up and sold the DIY chain Fads)
  • Mike Williams - Focus Homecentres 1987
  • Homebase is a subsidiary of Home Retail Group - founded by Sainsbury's supermarket chain and Belgian retailer GB-Inno-BM
  • Henry Dunn Wickes in Michigan. USA in 1854

Drug Retailers (Chemists)

Electrical Appliance Retailers

Fashion Designers

Fashion Icons - Designers

Fast Food Retailers


Gastronomy & Food Industry dynasties[ Grocers]


Garden Centres

Grocers - Supermarket Chains

Hardware Chains



Mail Order


Motor Industry

Music Retailers




  • William Caxton (circa 1415- nn) English merchant, diplomat, writer and printer. He is thought to be the first English person to work as a printer and the first to introduce a printing press into England. He was also the first English retailer of printed books


Retailers - multi - faceted

  • François Pinault (1936) French businessman who runs the retail company PPR. His holding company, Artemis S.A., owns (or owned), among others, Converse shoes, Samsonite luggage, Château Latour, the Vail Ski Resort in Colorado, and Christie's auction house.

Sports Retailers

Vintners, Wine Makers and Vignerons

Getting Involved

Free to follow, request to collaborate


To join the project use the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page.


Geni's Project Plaza
Working with Projects
Wicked Wiki
Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance.
See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!

References, Sources and Further Reading

// this project is in History Link