Board of Directors

James Arthur “Art” Pope

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Variety Wholesalers

Art Pope is the chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. He formally joined the company alongside his father in 1986. Headquartered in Raleigh and Henderson, North Carolina, the company owns and operates over 400 discount merchandise retail stores with 10,000 employees in 18 states.  

Art also serves as the chairman and CEO of the John William Pope Foundation, a family foundation established in 1986. The foundation has given over $200 million in charitable grants to meet human needs through direct humanitarian assistance and provided opportunities for the future through higher education and public policy research. 

He began his career as an attorney with the law firm Wyrick, Robbins, Yates and Ponton in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

He has a long history of public service. In 1985, at 29, he served as special counsel to North Carolina Governor Jim Martin. He served four terms as a North Carolina state representative, spanning 1989-1992 and 1999-2002. He also served as the North Carolina state budget director under Governor Pat McCrory from 2013-2014. From 2020 through the present, he has been a member of the board of governors of the University of North Carolina.

Art has contributed his time to many philanthropic and service organizations, including The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (chairman), Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University (pastchairman), BEST NC – NC Business Leaders for Education (board of directors), Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee (member), UNC Advisory Committee on Strategic Directions (member), and the Golden L.E.A.F. Foundation (board of directors). 

He has been honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine and is a recipient of the William Richardson Davie Award from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Art earned his bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from UNC-CH and a Juris Doctor from Duke University. He is a member of the North Carolina State Bar.