The reading level for this article is Novice
|Entrepreneur:||Arthur M. Blank|
|Founders:||Arthur M. Blank and Bernard Marcus|
Description of Business:
|World’s largest home improvement retailer.|
Biography of Arthur M. Blank: Arthur Blank was born in Queens, New York in 1942 and with his parents and brother shared a series of one-bedroom apartments. He received an accounting degree from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts and worked as an accountant before joining the small pharmaceutical firm started by his father. When the company was bought by Daylin, Inc., Blank became an executive at a Daylin drugstore unit. He then moved over to the Handy Dan Improvement Centers, a division of Daylin, where he met Bernard Marcus.
How the Business Started: In 1978, Arthur Blank and Bernard Marcus were fired by a corporate raider from the Handy Dan home improvement chain. They opened their first three stores in Atlanta in 1979, employing 200 associates with $7 million in sales. They lost nearly $1 million. In 1980, the stores were profitable and the company went public in 1981. By the end of 1998, Home Depot had grown to 761 stores, employing 157,000 associates with $30.2 billion in sales. Home Depot was named Fortune magazine’s Most Admired Retailer for 5 consecutive years.
Entrepreneurs create innovations that improve our quality of life: Home Depot stores brought innovations to the marketplace that include 1) warehouse sized stores with large inventories, averaging 35,000 items per store; 2) low prices, as much as 40% lower than other retailers; and 3) exceptional customer service provided by skilled professionals. Home Depot requires that its new employees undergo comprehensive training to insure that they can provide customers with knowledgeable service.
Entrepreneurs create new jobs: Home Depot has created 157,000 high quality jobs. They do not hire anyone at minimum wage in order to insure that they get the very best employees who feel a deep sense of company loyalty. Home Depot offers stock options to all employees.
Entrepreneurs improve our position in global economic competition: Home Depot is beginning to bring its unique blend of customer service, low prices and large inventory to the global marketplace. They have begun operations in Chile and Puerto Rico.
Entrepreneurs reinvest their newly created wealth in the community: The 1999 philanthropic budget for Home Deport is more than $15 million. The funds are directed right back to the communities the company serves, focusing on affordable housing, at-risk youth and the environment. Team Depot, an organized volunteer force, was started in 1992 to allow their associates to contribute to the communities were they live. Home Depot has the President’s National Community Service Award, the President’s Sustainable Development Award, and the Point of Light Foundation’s Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service.