11 Retail Chains That Have Conquered America

Burger King

Every town in America used to have a local pharmacy, local restaurants and other “mum and pop” stores.

In the past few decades, however, countless local businesses have disappeared as massive retail chains have moved in.

This isn’t necessarily a tragedy. Chains like Starbucks are beloved by millions of Americans.

These are the retailers with the most locations in the U.S.

Radio Shack

Locations in the U.S.: 5,602 as of 2010

Headquarters: Fort Worth, Texas

In 1921, the first 'Radio Shack' opened in Boston. At first, the store was just a small retailer and mail-order business that sold ship radio equipment and 'ham' radios.

Family Dollar

Locations in the U.S.: Over 6,800

Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina

Family Dollar opened its first store in 1959 in Charlotte. 10 years later, it opened its 50th location in, you guessed it, Charlotte.


Locations in the U.S.: Approximately 6,925

Headquarters: Dallas, Texas

The omnipresent convenience store started out as an ice house in Dallas in 1927. There are also more than 39,300 7-Eleven stores outside of the United States.


Locations in the U.S.: 7,382

Headquarters: Woonsocket, Rhode Island

The first Consumer Value Store was founded in 1963 in Lowell, Massachusetts, originally selling just health and beauty products. By 1970 CVS was operating over 100 stores in the northeastern United States, and nearly doubled in size when it purchased Clinton Drug and Discount Stores in 1972.

Burger King Company

Locations in the U.S.: Around 7,469

Headquarters: Miami, Florida

Burger King was founded in 1954 by James McLamore and David Edgerton. They started franchising their restaurants just five years later. They opened their first international location in Puerto Rico in 1963, and had 275 privately operated restaurants by 1967 when the Pillsbury Company purchased the burger chain.


Locations in the U.S.: Around 8,359

Headquarters: Deerfield, Illinois

The first Walgreens opened in 1901 in Chicago, after Charles Walgreen purchased the pharmacy he was already working in. Walgreens grew from 20 locations in 1920 to 525 by 1929.

Dollar General

Locations in the U.S.: Around 10,000

Headquarters: Goodlettsville, Tennessee

Dollar General is one of the nation's largest small-box discounters. Originally called Turner's Department Store, Dollar General changed its name in 1955, when no item in the store cost over $1. From 1983 to 1985, the company acquired over 450 new locations.


Locations in the U.S.: 10,787 as of October 2, 2011

Headquarters: Seattle, Washington

Starbucks started as a single store in Seattle's Pike Place Market. Howard Schultz, who joined Starbucks as the director of retail operations and marketing in 1982 sought to replicate the coffeehouse culture of Italy in addition to producing and selling coffee.


Locations in the U.S.: 14,027 as of 2010

Headquarters: Oak Brook, Illinois

In 1954, Ray Kroc stumbled upon Dick and Mac McDonald's small restaurant in San Bernadino, California. Ray presented the McDonald brothers with a plan to turn their operation into a national chain. By 1958 the McDonald's corporation, which Kroc founded, had sold over 100 million burgers.

Yum! Brands

Locations in the U.S.: 18,050 as of 2011

Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky

Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, and Pizza Hut, is the world's largest restaurant company in terms of system units. They have over 37,000 restaurants worldwide.


Locations in the U.S.: 25,257

Headquarters: Milford, Connecticut

The first Subway opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut during the summer of 1965. The restaurant's founder, Fred DeLuca, started the business as a means to help him pay for medical school. DeLuca and his business partner sought to open a total of 32 Subway restaurants in the company's first 10 years, but by 1974, they only had 16 restaurants.

You've seen the biggest retailers ...

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