March 06, 1914 - November 16, 2007
Harold Alfond was a American businessman and philanthropist, shoe making magnate who founded the world-famous Dexter corporation, as well as a prominent philanthropist
Harold Alfond – the shoe-making market innovator
Alfond was born in Swampscott, Massachusetts, into a family of Jewish immigrants from the Tsarist Russia, Shimon and Rose Alfond. Having finished school, Harold found a place at a shoe making factory Kesslen in Maine, where his father worked. Soon he climbed the career ladder from a run-about boy to a production supervisor.
Just six years later, in 1940, his family bought a the shoe making company Norrwock, and developed it so much that in 1943 it was acquired by a huge concern, with Alfond remaining at its helm for some quarter of a century!
But the idea of his own business never left the future magnate - in 1956 he bought out an old factory in Dexter, Maine, and founded the Dexter Shoe Company, which would produce for Sears, JC Penney, Spiegel and Montgomery Ward & Co retail chains, and then so actively expanded the business, that by the 60s he was able to create his own line of shoe wear, hire sales personnel, open retail stores and sail out to the seas of the fashion market.
One of his achievements were the first factory outlet. It all started from him ordering to sell defective ware to employees at negligible prices - $1 for a pair of shoes! The ware disappeared from the shelves immediately, so then he ordered to offer the employees unsold first-grade goods - the shelves still became empty within hours, so Alfond started opening such outlets at all of his factories in New England!
By the 90s, he had a chain of 80 outlets, and the magnate started selling overflow wares or defective products via supermarkets. In the end, Alfond decided to sell his creation to the giant of the market, Berkshire Hathaway.
Being listed in Forbes TOP-10 of richest persons in the world he was also a prominent philanthropist. Earning billions, he always remembered about karma, and gave large amounts of money away to charity, and later even founded his own fund Harold Alfond Foundation that spent more than $100,000,000, mostly on sports programs at universities - in his childhood and youth, Alfond used to be a gifted athlete himself.
Tthanks to his fund, every newborn in Maine now can receive $500 of subsidy for education!
Alfond married Dorothy Levine in 1943; they raised four children: Ted, Susan, Bill, and Peter who grew to provide them with thirteen grandchildren. Dorothy Alfond died in December 2005.
The shoe-making market innovator died in the respectable age of 93.
"Harold Alfond keeps on giving". press release. Saint Joseph's College of Maine. December 5, 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-27.
Marquard, Bryan (November 17, 2007). "Harold Alfond, gave generously for healthcare and sports". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2010-02-27.