Leonard Brothers opens in Fort Worth

December 14th, 1918

On this day in 1918, J. Marvin Leonard, "Mr. Marvin," opened his first store in Fort Worth. Leonard was born in 1895 near Linden, Texas. During World War I he moved to Dallas, where he worked in a store that specialized in salvaged merchandise. In 1918 he moved west to Forth Worth and opened a store in which his brother, Obadiah, joined him the next year. Leonard Brothers prospered and rapidly expanded beyond its original offering of groceries and salvaged merchandise. Marvin Leonard used extensive advertising, eye-catching events, and a commitment to low profit margin and high volume to turn the firm into the largest retail establishment in Forth Worth. Obadiah, known as "Mr. Obie," was in charge of store operations at Leonard Brothers. In this role he participated in the design, construction, and renovation of a store that eventually sprawled over nine acres of downtown Fort Worth. By the 1930s Leonard Brothers dominated retailing in the Fort Worth area. Obadiah Leonard purchased his brother's interest in the store in 1965 and sold Leonard Brothers to Charles David Tandy in 1967. On March 4, 1974, Tandy sold Leonard Brothers to Dillards, and the Leonards' name came down from the stores.

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Leonard Brothers opens in Fort Worth

December 14th, 1918

On this day in 1918, J. Marvin Leonard, "Mr. Marvin," opened his first store in Fort Worth. Leonard was born in 1895 near Linden, Texas. During World War I he moved to Dallas, where he worked in a store that specialized in salvaged merchandise. In 1918 he moved west to Forth Worth and opened a store in which his brother, Obadiah, joined him the next year. Leonard Brothers prospered and rapidly expanded beyond its original offering of groceries and salvaged merchandise. Marvin Leonard used extensive advertising, eye-catching events, and a commitment to low profit margin and high volume to turn the firm into the largest retail establishment in Forth Worth. Obadiah, known as "Mr. Obie," was in charge of store operations at Leonard Brothers. In this role he participated in the design, construction, and renovation of a store that eventually sprawled over nine acres of downtown Fort Worth. By the 1930s Leonard Brothers dominated retailing in the Fort Worth area. Obadiah Leonard purchased his brother's interest in the store in 1965 and sold Leonard Brothers to Charles David Tandy in 1967. On March 4, 1974, Tandy sold Leonard Brothers to Dillards, and the Leonards' name came down from the stores.

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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