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Samuel Robinson (1865-1958)

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Chainstore millionaire

Samuel Robinson was born 9 June 1865 at Culcrum, near Cloughmills.  He served an apprenticeship with his uncle, William James Megaw (Chairman of Ballymoney Urban District Council 1888-1920), who was a grocer and coal merchant in Ballymoney. 

In 1888, Robinson emigrated to Philadelphia.  There, he formed a partnership with Robert H. Crawford and went into the grocery business.  In 1917, he established the American Stores Company and set about revolutionising the way people shopped.  Many of his ideas are things which today we take for granted. For example: he displayed all the goods on shelves for the customer to browse through; he bought the land surrounding his shops to give customers free parking spaces; and he provided trolleys for shoppers to carry their goods.

The American Stores Company (or ACME) had shops across the continent and Robinson was soon a very wealthy man.  Back home in Ballymoney, in 1933 he paid for the Robinson Memorial Hospital to be built in memory of his late parents.

Samuel Robinson always remembered and loved his home in Co. Antrim and retained strong connections throughout his life. 

Image above right Courtesy of the Northern Health & Social Care Trust