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Robert Haft, is a entrepreneur, primarily in health care, and became a household name in the Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, and Los Angeles markets for his Crown Books television commercial tagline, "Books cost too much."
After graduating from Harvard with his MBA and Masters in Design, Haft was President of Dart Group, founded national discount book chain Crown Books in 1977, which was based on ideas contained in his Masters thesis, and discount automotive chain Trak Auto in 1981, as well as founded Cabot Morgan real estate company, Dart Financial, and purchased a controlling interest in Shoppers Food Warehouse.
Crown Books enjoyed booming success in the early 1980s and 1990s, and Haft expanded the chain rapidly, and envisioned expanding the name to other lines, including Crown Software and Crown Music, some of which never saw actualization.
In the heat of a bitter divorce, Robert's father, Herbert Haft, then Chairman of the Dart Group, which owned a controlling share of Crown Books and Trak Auto, fired the Board of Directors of Dart Group, Crown Books and Trak Auto, and Robert Haft as the book chain and automotive chains president. Robert counter-sued and won all claims. After he left both previously successful chains fell into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
With a portion of the money from the sale of his interest in Dart Group, and proceeds from a 1994 wrongful-termination lawsuit, Haft purchased Phar-Mor discount drug chain in 1995, founded and grew Vitamins.com which had Internet, retail, and catalog operations, and has led National Diabetic Pharmacies and other health care businesses.
- "Herbert and Robert Haft: The Dynasty Behind Dart's Expanding Empire, New York Times, January 25, 1987
- "The Haft Rivalry rides herd on the Internet", Nightscribe.com, 1995
- "'Our Destiny is in Our Hands' Says Phar-Mor CEO Haft, Drug Store News, October 9, 1995
- "Phar-Mor's Haft to Step Down", Drug Store News, September 8, 1997
- "Crown Books Company History", International Directory of Company Histories Volume 21, St James Press, 1998
- "PRIVATE SECTOR; Denouement of a Family Feud?", New York Times, June 20, 1999
- "Robert Haft Biography", University of Pennsylvania Press, September 2007
- "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Aggressive Discounting Pays Off for Crown Books", New York Times, June 25, 1990
- "The Growing Battle of the Big Bookstores", New York Times, November 8, 1992
- "Jury Rules Haft Wrongfully Dismissed Son", New York Times, September 21, 1994
- "Herbert Haft, Founder of Discount Drugstores, Dies at 84", New York Times, September 4, 2004
- "A Reopening of Wounds in Haft Family Struggle", New York Times, September 12, 1994