Grant, W. T.

Grant, W. T. (William Thomas)

(1876–1972) retailer; born in Stevensville, Pa. The family moved to Massachusetts where he worked several jobs including a brief stint as a prize fight promoter. In 1906 while clerking in a store he noticed how quickly the 25-cent items sold. He opened a large store in Lynn, Mass., with 21 departments, all selling items for 25 cents or less. W. T. Grant's, with Grant controlling all the buying, was an immediate success. In 1908 he expanded to Connecticut, and in 1913 to New York City. By 1917 he had 30 stores and topped prices at $1. He went public in 1928. By 1940 he had stores in 44 states and no limit on prices. He resigned as chairman of the board in 1966; three years after his death, his company made retail history by filing for bankruptcy. In 1936 he established the Grant Foundation for children.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.