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Home Depot, Inc.

The Beginning

The Home Depot was founded in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. Along with investment banker Ken Langone and merchandising guru Pat Farrah, the founders' vision of one-stop shopping for the do-it-yourselfer came to fruition when they opened the first two Home Depot stores on June 22, 1979, in Atlanta, Georgia. The first stores, at around 60,000 square feet each, were cavernous warehouses that dwarfed the competition and stocked 25,000 SKUs, much more than the average hardware store at that time. Empty boxes piled high on the shelves gave the illusion of even more product.

From the start, associates were able to offer the best customer service in the industry, guiding customers through projects such as laying tile, changing a fill valve or handling a power tool. Not only did store associates undergo rigorous product knowledge training, but they also began offering clinics so customers could learn how to do it themselves. The Home Depot revolutionized the home improvement industry by bringing the know-how and the tools to the consumer and by saving them money.

According to Bernie and Arthur, the customer has a bill of rights at The Home Depot, and this entitles the customer to the right assortment, quantities and price, along with trained associates on the sales floor who want to take care of customers. Their philosophy of customer service - "whatever it takes" - means cultivating a relationship with customers rather than merely completing a transaction. As Bernie says in Built from Scratch, "At the end of the day, we're in the people business."

The Home Depot Values

The Home Depot is still guided today by those values established by its founders: excellent customer service, taking care of people, entrepreneurial spirit, respect for all people, building strong relationships, doing the right thing, giving back to communities, and creating shareholder value. The founders viewed the structure of the company as an inverted pyramid, with stores and customers at the top and senior management on the bottom. Arthur demanded that associates take risks to succeed, saying, "It is your business, your division, your market, your store, your aisle and your customer."

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A Story of Growth

The Home Depot is the fastest growing retailer in U.S. history. In 1981, the company went public on NASDAQ and moved to the New York Stock Exchange in 1984. The 1980s and 1990s spawned tremendous growth for the company, with 1989 marking the celebration of its 100th store opening. The company arrived in Canada with the acquisition of Aikenhead's home improvement centers in 1994, and it began flying its flag proudly in Mexico in 2001 through the acquisition of Total HOME. In 2006, the company extended its reach to China by acquiring The Home Way, a 12 store chain.

From the beginning, The Home Depot developed strategic product alliances directly with industry-leading manufacturers to deliver the most exclusive assortments to customers. Through a combination of national brands and proprietary products like Ryobi® tools, RIDGID® tools, BEHR® paint, LG® appliances, and Toro® and Cub Cadet® lawn equipment, the company sets the standard for innovative merchandise for the do-it-yourselfer and the professional contractor.

 

  • Company Industry:Retail / Wholesale
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