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rides herd on

Robert Haft

Robert Haft, the son of Dart Drug founder Herbert Haft, became a household name in the Washington, DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles markets for his commercials tagglined "Books cost too much". After graduating Harvard with his MBA, Robert started discount book chain Crown Books in 1977 in Landover, MD (the same year the Borders Brothers founded Borders Books and Music.

Crown Books enjoyed booming success in the early 1980's, and Robert envisioned expanding the name to other lines, including Crown Software and Crown Music, many of which never saw actualization. In the heat of a bitter divorce, Herbert, then Chairman of the Dart Group, which owned a controlling share of Crown Books, fired Robert as the book chains' president. Robert counter-sued, and the back-and-forth rocked the 196-store chain into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

With the money he won in 1994 from his wrongful-termination lawsuit, Robert bought into Phar-Mor in 1995, changing the name to Vitamins.com and opening several retail shops in the Washington DC, metro area.

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