Co-founder of Dollar Tree, local philanthropist dies

Macon Brock, Jr. Photo courtesy: Hampton Road Community Foundation.

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Local philanthropist Macon Brock, Jr. passed away this weekend at the age of 75.

Brock was one of three co-founders of Dollar Tree, Inc., which has over 5,000 stores across the country, according to the Dollar Tree website.

He was the Chief Executive Officer of Dollar Tree for ten years and was the president of the company from 1986 to 2001, according to Bloomberg.

The Dollar Tree family is deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague, friend, and co-founder Macon Brock. Our company benefited in countless ways from Macon’s vision and leadership through his former roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. For many years, Macon and his wife, Joan, have touched the lives of so many through their generous philanthropy in the Hampton Roads area and beyond. We extend our sincerest condolences to Macon’s family and loved ones.” ~ Bob Sasser, Dollar Tree Executive Chairman

Besides being a successful businessman, Brock spent a great deal of time serving and giving back to the Hampton Roads community.

He served on the Chrysler Museum of Art Board, Sentara Healthcare Board, was an honorary trustee for the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, served as director of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation and his wife, Joan, serves on the Board of Trustees at Virginia Wesleyan University, just to name a few.

“Macon and Joan Brock have been generous friends of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for years and close personal friends of mine, CBF staff, and trustees,” said Chesapeake Bay Foundation President William C. Baker. “The Brocks’ dedication to the Bay led them to make a leadership gift to help us build the award-winning Brock Environmental Center, an inspiration to all who visit it. Macon will be missed, but never forgotten. He was a towering influence on all who knew and loved him. Our hearts go out to Joan and his children and extended family.”

The Brocks also donated $1 million to Old Dominion University (ODU) for their Brock Commons Amphitheater and created a $100,000 Brock Foundation Endowed Honors Scholarship for the school.

ODU President John R. Broderick said, “I always marveled at his genuineness. Joan and Macon never failed to make someone speaking with them believe it was their most important conversation of the day. He serves as a role model for anyone aspiring to be a true community leader.”

Brock Commons. Photo courtesy: Old Dominion University.

According to the Eastern Virginia Medical School website, Brock and his wife helped with the creation of the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health with one of the largest donations in the school’s history.

Dr. Richard Homan of Eastern Virginia Medical School stated, “”Macon Brock was one of the most generous, courageous, gracious, humble and brilliant community and business leaders this region has known. He was also the consummate gentleman and statesman in the finest tradition of Virginia. We at EVMS will be eternally grateful to Macon and Joan Brock for supporting the establishment of the M. Foscue Brock Institute of Community and Global Health at EVMS which has advanced our vision to become the most community oriented schools of Medicine and Health Professions in the nation.”

Virginia Wesleyan President Dr. Scott Miller said “The strength of Virginia Wesleyan today can be traced in significant ways to the Brock’s guidance and support, and the university has benefited tremendously from their genuine interest in student success.” Their campus includes a six-building residence life complex named after the Brocks.

Virginia Wesleyan also named its baseball field after Joan Brock’s father, Kenneth R. Perry, and announced the creation of the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences last year.

Macon Brock, Jr. and wife, Joan. Photo courtesy: Longwood University.

The Brocks were recently on Virginia Wesleyan’s campus for the groundbreaking of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, which will include the Joan and Macon Brock Theater.

Brock graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. in 1964 before serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps in Vietnam, according to Bloomberg. Later he joined the United Stated Naval Intelligence in Norfolk as a special agent before entering the retail business.

He served as the chairman of Randolph-Macon’s Board of Trustees until 2009 and there are several buildings on their campus bearing his name, according to Randolph-Macon President Robert Lindgren.

“They gave because they enjoyed giving and took great pleasure and pride and they were really fabulous to deal with in that perspective,” said Lindgren Sunday night.

Brock and his wife Joan also gave back to Joan’s Alma mater, Longwood University.

The Brocks donated $5.9 million to Longwood in 2016, the largest in the university’s history, to help create more “immersive learning experiences” for students, according to Longwood’s website. They contributed to the establishment of Longwood’s “Brock Commons” and Longwood’s new student success center will be named “Brock Hall,” once it’s completed.

Brock Commons at Longwood University. WAVY Photo/Taylor O’Bier

“Macon was a visionary leader in business and philanthropy, as deeply good as he was great. His and Joan’s vision has been transformative for Longwood, in so many ways,” stated Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV Sunday night. “He is a model of the citizen leadership we try to instill in our students, and I will always especially cherish the gentle and easy way he had with students — the same good humor, clear insight, and caring manner that everyone who knew him will so dearly miss. With the passing of this great friend to so many, this great leader and great Virginian who did such great good, we hold Joan and the Brock family dearly in our hearts.”

Brock visited Longwood in March to talk to students about his success and book “One Buck at a Time: An Insider’s Account of How Dollar Tree Remade American Retail” with co-author Earl Swift.

According to Dollar Tree’s website, Brock’s father-in-law, Kenneth Perry, opened the K&K 5&10 in 1953 in downtown Norfolk. The store served as the foundation for what would become Dollar Tree.

Brock, his brother-in-law Doug Perry and Ray Compton started Only $1.00 with five stores in 1986, one in Georgia, one in Tennessee, and three in Virginia. Seven years later, they changed the name of the company to Dollar Tree Stores.

Throughout the years the company bought other retail stores with low price concepts including Chicago-based Dollar Bill$, Inc., Philadelphia-based Dollar Express, Family Dollar in Charlotte, N.C. and more.

Dollar Tree broke ground in 1997 on its first distribution center and its new store support center, both located in Chesapeake.

They celebrated the opening of their 5,000th store in 2014.