Subway Founder Fred DeLucaMicrosoft's (MSFT) Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway's (BRK.A) Warren Buffett and Apple's (AAPL) Steve Jobs are all household names in addition to being among the wealthiest people in the country. There are, however, other billionaires, whose companies or products are also among the best-known in the country, yet they live in relative obscurity, unknown to most -- including their best customers.

Take Subway, which serves 2,800 sandwiches and salads every 60 seconds in the U.S. How many of its customers have ever heard of its founder, Fred DeLuca, who was 17 when he opened the first store? Or Peter Buck, the family friend who loaned DeLuca the $1,000 that got the company off the ground back in 1965?

Likewise, Enterprise Rent-a-Car is the largest rental-car company in the U.S., but how many of its customers are familiar with Jack Crawford Taylor, the man who started the business back in 1957 and owns it to this day?

Every day, countless shoppers buy products made by Dole Food Company, the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers as well as packaged and frozen foods. Most people probably assume that Dole is owned by a large conglomerate, but in reality, a relatively unknown entrepreneur named David Murdock is Dole's sole owner. All net worth estimates mentioned below are credited to Forbes' World's Billionaire List for 2010.

Jack Crawford TaylorJack Taylor, founder of Enterprise Rent-a-Car
Enterprise Rent-a-Car
Net Worth: $7 billion

Jack Taylor founded Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest rental-car company in the U.S. He started the St. Louis, Mo.-based company, originally named Executive Leasing Company, in 1957 with seven cars "and a hunch that customers will embrace the novel concept of leasing automobiles." In 2007 the Taylor family acquired National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car businesses. Through its subsidiaries, the company operates more than 1 million cars and trucks, the largest fleet of passenger vehicles in the world. Today, Taylor's son, Andrew C. "Andy" Taylor, is the company's chairman and chief executive officer. Enterprise's annual revenue was $12.1 billion in 2009.

Min Kao, co-founder of GarminMin Kao
GPS Equipment
Net Worth: $1.6 billion
Gary Burrell, co-founder of Garmin
Gary Burrell
Net Worth: $1 billion

Dr. Min Kao and Gary Burrell co-founded Garmin Corp. (GRMN) in 1989 to integrate GPS -- or Global Positioning System technology into navigation devices for multiple markets. The idea began as a brainstorming session of a handful of engineers around a card table. Today, the company's innovative products span various areas, including automotive, aviation, marine, fitness, outdoor recreation and wireless applications. In 2009, Garmin's total revenues were $2.95 billion.

Clayton MathileClayton L. Mathile
Net Worth: $1.7 billion

Clayton Mathile joined Iams in the 1970s and eventually became chief executive and chairman of the board. In 1974, Mathile bought half of the pet food company from its founder, Paul Iams, and then purchased the rest in the early 1980s. Under Mathile's direction, Iams became a world leader in premium dog and cat nutrition. In 1999, the Mathile family sold Iams to Procter & Gamble for $2.3 billion. Today, Mathile is a major investor in ooVoo, a Web-based company that allows up to six users to video chat in real time via smartphones, TVs, netbooks, PCs and MACs. Mathile uses his wealth to help change the world. He founded The Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, a nonprofit committed to improving the nutritional health of children around the world. He also created Aileron, a campus for entrepreneurs that promotes professional management practices as the keys to business success.

Donald Hall
Hallmark, Crayola, Silly PuttyHallmark
Net Worth: $1 billion

Donald J. Hall is chairman of the board of Hallmark, which was founded by his father, Joyce C. Hall. He's is only the second board chairman in the company's history. Hall oversaw innovation in greeting cards, including launch of the Shoebox humor line and introduction of product lines for African-American, Hispanic and Jewish consumers; directed focus on Hallmark's network of independent Hallmark Gold Crown retailers; expanded the company's reach into international markets; and envisioned the potential to move into such product lines as Keepsake Ornaments. Today, Hallmark is the parent company of Crayola art products and Silly Putty. In 2009, Hallmark's consolidated annual revenues were $4 billion. Hall's son, Donald Hall Jr., is the company's chief executive officer.

Subway co-founder Fred DeLucaFred DeLuca
Net Worth: $1.8 billion

Peter BuckSubway co-founder Peter Buck
Net Worth: $1.8 billion

In 1965, Fred DeLuca, a 17-year-old high school graduate wanted to open a sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Conn., as a way to earn money to pay for college. The young man was given a $1,000 loan by Peter Buck, a family friend. DeLuca initially called his fledgling business Pete's Super Submarines, and the name was changed to Subway in 1968. In 1974, the partners sold their first franchise. The Subway chain is now the world's largest submarine sandwich chain with more than 33,107 restaurants in 91 countries. Subway operates more units in the U.S., Canada and Australia than McDonald's. The company's global system-wide sales were $11.3 billion in 2009.

S. Truett CathyTruett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A
Net Worth: $1.5 billion

S. Truett Cathy is founder and chairman of Chick-fil-A. Cathy entered the restaurant business in 1946, when he and his brother, Ben, opened an Atlanta diner known as The Dwarf Grill (later renamed The Dwarf House). Through the years, that restaurant prospered and led Cathy to further expand his business. In 1967, Cathy opened the first Chick-fil-A restaurant. Today, Chick-fil-A is the second-largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the U.S. with more than $3.2 billion in sales in 2009. As of February 2010, there are more than 1,480 Chick-fil-A restaurants in 38 states and Washington, D.C. Cathy has led Chick-fil-A on an amazing record of 42 consecutive years of annual sales increases. Today, Cathy devotes much of his time to philanthropy.

Slim-FastS. Daniel Abraham
Net worth: $1.6 billion

In 1945, entrerpreneur Daniel Abraham founded Thomas Medical Co. Its first diet product, Slim-Mint gum, was brought to market in 1956. Twenty years later, the company launched the Dexatrim diet pill. Slim-Fast meal replacement shakes were introduced the following year, in 1977. Slim-Fast was spun off in 1990 as a separate company and sold for $2.3 billion to Unilever in 2000. Today, Abraham is well-known for his philanthropy. He supports a variety of causes including improving health care and nutrition, encouraging Middle East peace and broadening educational opportunities.

Kohl'sWilliam Kellogg
Net Worth: $1 billion

William Kellogg got his start in the retail business as a buyer for Federated Department Stores. In 1967, he was hired by Kohl's (KSS) founder, Max Kohl, as a store manager. Working his way up the corporate ladder, he was named chief executive of the family-focused, value-oriented retailer in the late 1970s. In 1986, he led a management buyout of the company and retired as chairman in 2000. Kohl's is now one of the nation's largest retailers with 1,067 stores in 49 states. In 2009, annual sales were $17.1 billion.

David Murdock
Dole's David Murdock
Dole Food Company
Net Worth: $2.5 billion

David Murdock is the chairman of Dole Food (DOLE), the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers as well as a line of packaged and frozen foods. The high school dropout is also the sole owner of Castle & Cooke, which develops and owns real estate, including golf clubs and resorts, in addition to the leasing of transportation equipment and the manufacturing of brick. Murdock's combined companies employ more than 68,000 people in over 90 countries and consistently ranks as one of the largest privately held entities in America. In 2009, Dole's net revenues were $6.8 billion. Today, Murdock devotes much of his time and attention to the David H. Murdock Research Institute, a provider of advance research technologies to academic, government and industry scientists in their pursuit of improved human health through advancements in nutrition, agricultural products and pharmaceuticals.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building

View Course »

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

You left Ken Dart off the list. His father invented styrofoam. He owns many small companies. Wait..he denounced his American Citizenship so he doesn't have to pay taxes!

August 01 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

To all the idiots who missed the point of thw whole piece....These people dared to think, dream and do something on their own..not expecting a damn handout. I am not rich by a long shot but I do addmire and herald privated ingenuity...have you ever worked for a poor man? Who gives you jobs, work? Are you folks crazy or just plain lazy?

August 01 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Sonja Dunbar

I'd like to be a rich person like these people - remain unknown, have privacy, and be able to walk down the street without everyone recognizing them. That's the rich lifestyle I wouldn't mind living.

August 01 2010 at 7:41 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I want to know the Sentor's they own.

August 01 2010 at 7:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


After spending $45.00 a week on your crappy food.

After being insulTed by being overcharged when I wanted mixed cheese N O T EXTRA!!! STUPID BLANCHESTER, OHIO IDOIOT GIRL!!!!!!
(finally get it).

After being further insulted by the three (3) brainless female employees at Blanchester, OH, who doidn't give a damn in The firsT place about what customer service is supposed to be!

After contacting World Hdqtrs. (WHAT A JOKE, world hdqrs???? for a fourth rate stupid fast food place!!!!!

After getting a call from the idiot franchise owner two weeks later and not giving a damn about what I went through.



August 01 2010 at 7:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

you left one billionaire out of your list.........Rod Templar, Templar worth 5 billion

August 01 2010 at 6:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

good for the rich,i wish i had it ike that. i cant even go on a weekend trip.

August 01 2010 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its stories like these that need to be published more to inspire young people that they too can start from scratch and branch out instead of all these negative stuff in the papers and web. I pray that I will be successful as these gentlemen are god bless them and their families and I love Dole products and everyone is a fan of Hallmark too..

August 01 2010 at 6:41 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Ray McDermett

Everyone should be proud of these men who through their own ingenuity and help from others, succeeded in building large corporate businesses that have employed so many and incidentally, made many more people millionaires. It's harder today to get a start like these men did but the opportunity to succeed is still available, however, there is no depending on banks to lend you the money. Banks will not take risk on people with idea's today like they did back in the 60's thru the 80's. If you don't have a large cash flow or a net worth in the hundreds of thousands, you can't get a substantial start-up loan to fund an idea, however if you have an idea that investors can see a quick buck by going public in the stock market, then the millionaire game is sure to come your way.

August 01 2010 at 6:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

And I bet when Subway started out, the meats weren't full of MSG & the breads weren't full of HFCS & dyes. Subway is just nasty.

August 01 2010 at 6:29 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply