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GNC (store)

GNC Holdings Inc.
Public
Traded as GNC
Industry Retail
Founded 1935
Registered: 9/1/1936
Founder David Shakarian
Headquarters Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Number of locations
7,334 (March 2011)
Key people
Bob Moran, Interim CEO
Products Nutritional supplements
Revenue Increase$2.64 billion (2015)
Owner Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, Ares Management
Number of employees
13,800
Website www.gnc.com

GNC Holdings Inc. is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based American commercial enterprise focused on the retail sale of health and nutrition related products, including vitamins, supplements, minerals, herbs, sports nutrition, diet, and energy products.

In 1935, David Shakarian opened a small health food store, Lackzoom, in downtown Pittsburgh. He only made USD $35 on his first day, but was able to open a second store within six months. A year later, Shakarian suffered from what appeared to be a fatal blow when the Ohio River flooded on St. Patrick's Day. Both of his stores were wiped out. However, he quickly rebuilt both stores, and opened five more by 1941. The company officially registered as a corporation on September 1, 1936 Shakarian moved into the mail order business during WWII. He said that customers sent him a check and asked him to mail their product as they could not drive to his store due to the gas rationing which happened during WWII. During the health food craze of the 1960s, Shakarian expanded his chain outside Pittsburgh for the first time, and in the process changed its name to General Nutrition Center. He continued to run the chain until his death in 1984. Shakarian took GNC public (listed on the NYSE)in the 1980s. Overexpansion and his death in 1984 resulted in a highly leveraged GNC. The Shakarian family decided to sell GNC shortly after his death. The family brought in a "turn around" executive, Jerry Horn, with instructions to "stop the bleeding" and position GNC to be sold. In 1990 the company considered relocating but a public/private effort retained GNC headquarters in Downtown Pittsburgh. GNC was taken private and sold to The Thomas Lee Company, a PE investment/management fund in the late 1980s. Thomas Lee ran GNC and took it public prior to selling the company to Royal Dutch Numico and Numico acquired GNC in 1999; it sold GNC to Apollo Management in 2003. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Ares Management bought GNC in 2007. GNC went public in 2011.



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