The F. W. Woolworth Company (often referred to as Woolworth's) was a retail company that was one of the original American five-and-dime stores. The first Woolworth's store was founded, with a loan of $300, in 1878 by Frank Winfield Woolworth. He later became one of the richest men in the world.
Despite growing to be one of the largest retail chains through most of the 20th century, competition led to a decline beginning in the 1980s. In 1997, F. W. Woolworth Company converted itself into a sporting retailer, closing its remaining retail stores operating under the "Woolworth's" brand name and renaming itself Venator Group, and in 2001, Foot Locker Inc.
Chains using the Woolworth name survive in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and South Africa. The similarly named Woolworth's supermarkets in Australia and New Zealand are operated by Woolworths Limited, a separate company with no historical links to the F. W. Woolworth Company or Foot Locker. Much more in Remembering Woolworth's, by Karen Plunkett-Powell -- an extremely interesting book marred by a bunch of stupid errors. (photo by Fred "Scoop" Jonson)