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The Charlton Story

Earle Perry Charlton, 1863-1930- One of the Five Founders of the F.W. Woolworth Company

Earle Perry Charlton II and George D. Winius

In our present generation of mammoth discount chains, wholesale membership outlets, and internet buying, it has been increasingly difficult for the pioneer – older, more established retail chains – to continue to operate, the latest casualty being Montgomery Ward. What was once known as «America’s Store», the venerable F.W. Woolworth Company, has disappeared from downtowns and shopping centers as shopping trends and merchandising have changed.
This story of one of the five founders of the Woolworth Company, Earle Perry Charlton, chronicles his life (both personal and professional) and what it was like to establish a new type of business in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Starting with meager savings and little capital of his own, he established a chain of fifty-three E.P. Charlton five & ten cent stores that was based in Fall River, Massachusetts, and stretched across Canada and the west coast of the United States from Seattle to San Diego, before joining with four other friendly competitors in 1912 to form what was to become the F. W. Woolworth Company.
The Author: Earle Perry «Chuck» Charlton II, a retail executive, entrepreneur, trustee, philanthropist, and automobile enthusiast, was born in West Newton (Boston), Massachusetts, on December 20, 1926. After graduating from Reno High School, he went on to receive his B.A. from the University of Nevada in 1950 as a major in economics, with a minor in journalism. He was a member of the U.S. Navy from 1944 to 1946. After twenty-nine years at F.W. Woolworth Company, he retired as Vice President and Regional Manager of Pacific Region (13 Western States) in 1979. He was the co-founder of Bookmania 1980-1982 and one of the founding executives for Ross Stores in 1982, a position from which he retired in 1989. Charlton has been a member of the Board of Trustees University of Nevada Foundation (1985-1993), Trustee Emeritus since 1994, Charlton Memorial Hospital and Health System, Charlton Trusts and Charlton Charitable Trusts at BankBoston, and Southcoast Hospitals Group (Massachusetts). In 1996, he received an honorary doctorate in business administration from the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.