Ben Franklin Stores were originally named Butler Brothers stores. The company was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1877. The company had more than 100,000 customers at the turn of the century. The company founded the Ben Franklin name in 1927 and the chain was sold in 1959.
The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, began his retail chain inside of a Ben Franklin location, as well as the creator of Michael’s Craft Stores, Michael Dupey, who converted a Ben Franklin store into his first retail location.
The company filed for bankruptcy in 1996. Some locations were sold to their franchise owners, others closed permanently.
Today, the company is owned by Promotions Unlimited, which was the supplier of many of the craft items sold at Ben Franklin stores. Promotions Unlimited operates 209 craft stores and 123 variety stores. Some Ben Franklin locations also contain pharmacies, others provide clothing. Most locations are found in small towns across the United States.