Two of Harold Alfond’s four children are the richest people in Maine, according to Forbes magazine.

The publication has released its annual list of the richest people in each state and Bill and Susan Alfond are listed as Maine’s wealthiest, with a net worth of $1.2 billion. Dan Alexander, the Forbes reporter who wrote the piece accompanying the list, said Alfond’s other two children, Ted and Peter Alfond, do not reside primarily in Maine and so they are not included with their siblings as representing Maine’s wealthiest.

The $1.2 billion figure is the estimated net worth of Bill and Susan Alfond together, he said.

The text accompanying the picture of the two siblings recounts how in 1958, Harold Alfond founded Dexter Shoe Co. in an old mill in Dexter after having previously started Norrwock Shoe Co. and selling it for $1 million in 1944.

Alfond pioneered the concept of a factory outlet store, selling seconds at the log cabin outlets that he had built around the state. He eventually sold Dexter to Berkshire Hathaway in 1993 and gave much of his money and stock to the foundation that carries his name and is also the wealthiest foundation in the state.

In annual letters to shareholders, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman Warren Buffett regularly called the purchase of Dexter one of his worst decisions ever, saying he overpaid for the company at $433 million, didn’t really understand where the shoe industry was going (specifically, that it was moving away from American-based manufacturing to factories overseas where labor was cheaper) and paid for the purchase in stock, rather than cash.

Berkshire Hathaway stock is now worth nearly 20 times what it was in 1993 and the Harold Alfond Foundation is the largest private foundation in the state, with nearly $745 million in assets as of the end of 2015, much of it in Berkshire Hathaway stock.


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