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Lowe's - The history

In 1921, Lowe's North Wilkesboro Hardware was opened in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina by Lucius Smith Lowe. After Lowe died in 1940, his daughter Ruth, who sold the company to her brother Jim that same year, inherited the business. Jim took on Carl Buchan as a partner in 1943.

Lowe and Buchan varied on extending the company to new areas, and they split in 1952 with Buchan taking control of the hardware and building supply business and Lowe taking other joint ventures the two controlled. Buchan became the sole owner of Lowe's. In 1954, Lowe began the Lowes Foods grocery store chain.

As of 1955, Buchan quickly expanded the company by opening stores in the North Carolina cities of Charlotte, Asheville, and Durham. More stores were started throughout the 1950s.

In 1961, Buchan died of a heart attack at age 44. His five-person executive team, which included Leonard Herring and Robert Strickland, took the company public in 1961. By 1962, Lowe's ran 21 stores and reported annual revenues of $32 million. Lowe's began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 1979.

Lowe's has since grown nationwide, as it was aided by the purchase of the Renton, Washington-based Eagle Hardware & Garden Company in 1999. It is now the 2nd largest home improvement store chain in North America and has begun developing outside the United States. The first store outside of United States was in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.