Family Dollar chief going ‘undercover’

Staff report

November 6, 2013

John Robich plans to tune into CBS on television at 8 p.m. Friday for “Undercover Boss.”

And if he’s lucky, he’ll get to hear a little about the Hamlet connection.

Mike Bloom, Family Dollar’s chief operating office and president, will appear on the two-time Emmy Award-winning show that follows high-level corporate executives as they slip anonymously into the rank-and-file of their own companies. Each week, a different executive leaves the comfort of their corner office for an undercover mission to examine the inner workings of their own corporation.

“It’s real moving to watch,” said Robich, who retired from Richmond Community College last year. “CEOs go around (and) check out the company to see how it’s operating. Most of the time they give (employees) nice rewards, money and stuff, to help them out” in exchange for a job well done.

The roots of Family Dollar originated in Rockingham as early as 1937 when Leon Levine watched his older brother work in the famly-owned department store called The Hub on South Lee Street.

In 1954, Levine opened his first store in Richmond County modeled after a New York closeout store. Five years later, married and living in Charlotte, Levine opened up his first Family Dollar.

The brand now boasts more than 7,800 stores in 45 states. But Robich is hoping there’s at least a brief tribute to the store’s Richmond County roots.

“He might say some things like, ‘I’m from Hamlet, North Carolina,’” Robich said.