GNC

Operates global chain of vitamin stores.

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Headquarters:
300 Sixth Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Employees: 5,300
CEO: Joseph Fortunato
Stock Symbol: GNC

Website: http://www.gnc.com

Career Site

GNC is a leading retail chain for vitamins and nutritional supplements. GNC stands for General Nutrition Centers.

As of September 30, 2011, GNC has more than 7,500 locations, of which more than 5,800 retail locations are in the United States (including 919 franchise and 2,103 Rite Aid franchise store-within-a-store locations) and franchise operations in 52 countries (including distribution centers where retail sales are made).

The Company -- which is dedicated to helping consumers Live Well -- has a diversified, multi-channel business model and derives revenue from product sales through company-owned retail stores, domestic and international franchise activities, third party contract manufacturing, e-commerce and corporate partnerships.

The Company's broad and deep product mix, which is focused on high-margin, premium, value-added nutritional products, is sold under GNC proprietary brands, including Mega Men, Ultra Mega, GNC Wellbeing, Pro Performance and Longevity Factors, and under nationally recognized third party brands.

GNC has distribution centers in: Leetsdale, PA; Anderson, SC; Phoenix, AZ; and Windsor, Ontario.

GNC went public on the New York Stock Exchange on April 1, 2011 at $16 per share.

History

In 1935, David Shakarian realized his dream by establishing a little health food store, called Lackzoom, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Shakarian's first storefront was located at 418 Wood Street in downtown Pittsburgh. Lackzoom specialized in yogurt, a food that his father helped introduce in the United States, but also sold other healthy foods such as honey, grains and "healthy sandwiches."

Even though health food was thought to be a passing fad back then, people welcomed Shakarian's store. And, although his first day's receipts totaled only $35, he was able to go on to make enough money to open a second location six months later.

Disaster struck with the 1936 St. Patrick's Day flood, which wiped out both of Shakarian's stores. But he was able to reopen both locations and went on to own six Pittsburgh area stores within the next five years. The '60s decade saw many changes, and people began to embrace the concept of natural foods and better nutrition. Shakarian met the growing demand by opening stores in other states. In this process, he also changed the name of his chain to General Nutrition Centers.

As the store count continued to grow, GNC began producing its own vitamin and mineral supplements as well as foods, beverages and cosmetics. By the early 1980s, the number of GNC locations had grown to more than 1,000.

Updated December 12, 2011