Variety is not only the spice of life -- it's also a major purveyor of deeply discounted merchandise. With more than 420 stores in some 15 southeastern states, Variety Wholesalers has survived even Wal-Mart's march through rural America. The company, which has aggressively bought other chains while closing poorly performing stores, tends to set up shop in small towns where the retail giants fear to tread. Its retail outlets sell beauty products, housewares, snacks, toys and more, under banners including Bargain Town, Maxway, Roses, and Super 10. Variety Wholesalers was founded in 1949 by James Pope. The Pope family, including chairman and CEO Art Pope, still runs the company.