Lowe’s was originally founded in 1921 by Lucious Lowe in the form of Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Lucious died in 1940 and the business was inherited by his daughter Ruth. Ruth sold the business to her brother Jim the same year. Jim and Ruth’s husband, Carl Buchan, became partners in the venture after serving in World War II (1943). Under Carl’s leadership, the store prospered.
A second location was opened in Sparta, NC in 1949. Carl saw a huge opportunity after WWII and stocked up on hardware and building materials, along with dry goods, horse tack, snuff, and food items.
Carl and Jim never saw eye-to-eye on many things and made a split in 1952. Carl became the sole owner of Lowe’s and Jim Lowe would open Lowe’s Foods grocery chain.
Carl died in 1960. His 5 man executive team decided to take Lowe’s public in 1961. The company is still publicly traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol: LOW
By 1962, there were 21 locations. In 1982, the company hit $1 billion in sales. In 2017, the company had annual revenue of $65 billion.
Lowe’s continued to expand and today has over 1800 stores in the US and is also expanding into Canada, Mexico, and Australia.
Lowe’s is currently the second largest hardware retailer in the US behind Home Depot. Their corporate office is located in Mooresville, North Carolina.