Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a chain of retail home improvement and appliance stores in the U.S. and was founded in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina in 1946. It operates more than 1,700 stores across the United States and 20 stores in Canada. Lowe’s is one of the largest hardware chains in the U.S. and is a $46 billion industry. Lowe’s does not franchise. All stores are company owned and operated.