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Telling Fortunes

No. 6: Charles Butt and Family

Age: 75Home: San AntonioNet Worth: $8.5 billion

Charles Butt began sacking groceries at one of his family’s H-E-B stores when he was eight years old, and he’s worked at the supermarket chain ever since. Now chairman and CEO, Butt has built H-E-B into one of the largest private companies in the country, with a revenue of more than $19.4 billion. Not bad, considering his grandmother Florence had to borrow $60 in 1905 to open the grocery in her Kerrville home. Butt took over in 1971 from his father, Howard, the company’s namesake, and today H-E-B has some 350 stores in Texas and Mexico and more than 80,000 employees. Butt, who has no children, is a longtime supporter of educational causes; H-E-B gives 5 percent of pretax earnings to charity and thousands of pounds of groceries to local food banks each year. While Walmart and other national chains have drawn criticism for low pay, H-E-B prides itself on compensating employees fairly. 


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