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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Lowe's Companies, Inc

by Lisa Brantley Kobrin, 2006

A Lowe's store under construction in Charlotte, N.C., 2008. Image from Flickr user  Willamor Media/James Willamor.Lowe's Companies, Inc., headquartered in Mooresville, is a North Carolina-based building supply and home improvement firm that has grown into one of the nation's largest retailers. Lowe's was founded in 1921 in North Wilkesboro by I. S. Lowe as a single hardware store. Lowe soon brought his son and a son-in-law, Carl Buchan, into the business. Buchan became sole owner of Lowe's in 1952 and oversaw its expansion to a chain of 15 stores by 1960. Lowe's experienced rapid growth in the 1960s and 1970s, becoming a publicly held company beginning in 1961 after Buchan's death. At about the same time, a profit-sharing plan was instituted for employees. In 1979 Lowe's was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

From 1999 to 2009, Lowe's bought the naming rights to the Charlotte Motor Speedway, naming it the Lowe's Motor Speedway. Image from Flickr user Dave Reid/daveried2.. During its early years, Lowe's sold its products mainly to professional contractors, and its store design resembled that of small local hardware stores. When Robert Strickland became chairman of the company in 1978, he implemented a marketing plan to target do-it-yourself homeowners. By the mid-1980s, following a national trend, more than one-half of Lowe's sales were to nonprofessionals in the general public. Competing with Atlanta-based Home Depot, Lowe's stores became huge, warehouse-style buildings. The company's product line was also expanded beyond its large tool and building supply inventory to include appliances, home decorations, and garden products. By 2006 Lowe's was the nation's second-largest home improvement retailer behind Home Depot, with more than $43 billion in sales and 1,250 stores in 49 states.

Additional Resources:

Lowe's Companies, Inc. official website:

Herring, Leonard and McIntyre, Deni. "Lowe’s goes public: Leonard Herring recalls all the wheeling and dealing revolving around the company’s IPO." Business North Carolina. May 2009.

Image Credits:

"Southend, Charlotte: Urban Lowe's Home Improvement store." May 4, 2008. Image from Flickr user Willamor Media/James Willamor. (accessed October 25, 2012).

"Lowe's Motor Speedway." October 14, 2007. Image from Flickr user Dave Reid/daveried2. (accessed October 25, 2012).

Origin - location: 



I've been a Lowe's customer for decades but will not be much longer. My home in Northern CA
burned down and when I tried to return merchandise I purchased @ Lowe's , after making me wait on line for over 45 minutes they told me they refused to return the merchandise- even for store credit - without a receipt. I asked them to call the CEO of Lowe's, who I now know to be Marvin Ellison, but they refused to even give me his name. His phone number is not easily found on line and I am visually impaired- get Talking Books for the Blind; am 73 years old and despite my extenuating circumstances, the refused to issue me a refund. I left the merchandise with them. This store and all its chains must be shut down. They treat customers dispicably. They kept me waiting an addional 1/2 hour ostensibly waiting for a manager whose name is Onjunee and who refused me even store credit without a receipt. Home Depot has never treated me this dispicably. The store was on Sommersville Rd. in Antioch CA. I think Me. Ellison owes me an apology as well as a refund. Is he going to be held accountable?



Thank you for sharing your experience. To let you know, this is an encyclopedia article about Lowe's rather than the actually site. If you want file a complaint with the company, I suggest you go to their website at

Erin Bradford, Governement and Heritage Library


Who is the actual owner of Lowe's? I started reading this and now I'm very interested and I don't have the answer. LOL!


I'm still waiting for the answer too!!



Thank you for commenting on this NCpedia article about Lowe's. Lowe's Companies is a publicly owned company that is listed on the NYSE since 1979 (

Shareholders purchase stock on the NYSE as an investment. Here is a link to the Investor Fact Sheet (

I hope this helps you with your question. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library



I am sending your comment to the reference librarians at our library to assist you. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library


You have the founder's name as "I. S. Lowe". The founder was "Lucius Smith Lowe", according to his death certificate and draft registration.


STILL waiting for expensive tool to be delivered except nobody know where it is and they won't refund my money and cancel order until tool is located .VERY FRUSTRATED! BAD BUSINESS!


Hello, understand your frustration. Just want to make sure you understand this is only an encylopedia entry about the business rather than the business itself. If you mean to leave customer review on the business's website, please go to  

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library.


With the CDC recommendation for everyone to wear face mask, why are employee’s not waiting face mash in the stores. Also with numerous customers in the same situation it could only possibly spread the Covid-19 more then it is now. This is in store Fort Worth.

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