Harry David Lee

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A Lee Union-Alls advertisement

Henry David Lee (December 9, 1849 – March 15, 1928) was the founder of the HD Lee Mercantile Company, inventors of Lee Jeans.

H. D. Lee Mercantile Company founder and President Henry David Lee was an astute businessman who learned early in life that hard work, determination, confidence, and creativity could lead to success. Throughout his career, he seized on opportunities and took calculated risks. He invested in a wide range of business ventures and surrounded himself with a talented team who shared his values and vision. With their help, he grew and adapted his company to provide quality goods at fair prices, responding to customer needs.

Early life[edit]

He was born in 1849 in Vermont and attended school in South Tunbridge, he moved to Galion, Ohio, in 1862 where he worked as a hotel clerk and parlayed livery and real estate investments into the purchase of Central Oil Co. of Galion.

Founding the company[edit]

Early success in the oil industry coupled with advice from his doctor (he was tubercular) to head west, Lee moved on to Salina, Kansas in 1889 and set up the H.D. Lee Mercantile Co., soon becoming the major food distributor between Kansas City and Denver. Later the product range was expanded to include Sales of notions, furnishings, stationery and school supplies. Later the H.D. Lee Mercantile Co. would solve workwear supply problems by taking matters into its own factory and hence the Lee Jeans brand was born.