America's 5 & 10 phenomenon began June 21, 1879, when Frank Winfield Woolworth opened his first F.W. Woolworth "5 Cent Store", in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was, in actuality, his second attempt. An initial mercantile, with an off-the-main-street location in Utica, New York, had failed after only 3 months in business.

The second time around, Mr. Woolworth located directly on the main drag. He had also devised a rather revolutionary concept. Up to then, the typical mercantile did not display prices along with merchandise. The amount paid for an item could vary from sales clerk to sales clerk or from customer to customer.

For the first Woolworth store, there was a fixed price prominently displayed. Moreover, The company would purchase directly from the manufacturer. In 1880, the Woolworth 5 cent-only focus was expanded to include 10 cent items. Stores would now be known as "5 & 10s".

In August 1910, the first in-store Woolworth restaurant began operation at the chain's 14th Street Manhattan store. This concept would eventually be used for nearly every store, with eateries going under the Harvest House Coffee Shop, Harvest House Cafeteria, Red Grille Restaurant or simple "luncheonette" classification.

By the mid-20th century, there were Woolworth locations in all of the 50 States, as well as in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and Canada.

Woolco, a discount department store chain created by the Woolworth Company, opened its first store June 6, 1962. The large-format "discount mart" concept was successful for a time, but by the early 1980s, had become a liability. The United States Woolco operation went out of business January 31, 1983. Branches in the UK and Canada continued on but were eventually shuttered, as well.

By the 1980s, the 5 & 10 format had become outdated. The dime store, with its sometimes esoteric line merchandise, and 20,000 to 60,000 square foot footprint, was not able to compete effectively with the likes of a 120,000 square foot, "deep discounting" Kmart, Wal-Mart or Target.

An attempt at corporate restructuring was done by Woolworth in 1993 and 1994, with four hundred stores shuttered. This initiative was unsuccessful. On July 17, 1997, the remaining Woolworth stores were shuttered...ending the 100+ year reign of the once-mighty mercantile.

As a result of the dissolution, the corporate name was changed to the Venator Group...which morphed into Foot Locker, Incorporated. in 2001.