The History of The Home Depot

Home Depot LogoCredit: The Home Depot, IncAmerica's largest home improvement retailer, The Home Depot, Inc is an American success story. Started in 1978 by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank who were responsible for building the business.  They were supported by investment banker Ken Langone and merchandising guru Pat Farrah who are credited as founders as well.  The Home Depot's business proposition was to build home-improvement warehouses, larger than any of their competitors' facilities.  They started with space leased from JC Penny and lacking enough capital to fully stock the huge space the founders would unpack inventory and then restack the empty boxes on the racks above to create the illusion of more inventory.  Later they negotiated extended payment terms with many suppliers that allowed The Home Depot to bring in product, sell it, and then pay for it.

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. Today, The Home Depot stores are even bigger - an average 105,000 ft² (9,755 m²) in size and are organized warehouse-style, stocking a large range of building supplies. Home Depot's largest store is located in Anaheim, California.

Today The Home Depot operates in every US state, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and China. It claims to be one of the fastest growing retailers in US history, going from the first two stores in 1979 to 100 stores in 1989.  It expanded into Canada, Mexico and China initially by buying chains of stores.  The HOME DEPOT has forms part of the DOW Index and has traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 1984 (public on the NASDAQ from 1981 to 1984).

The Home Depot's company museum, The Legend, opened in 1999 at the Atlanta Store Support Center. It is primarily an internal educational tool for The Home Depot associates, their families, vendors and stockholders. The museum is open to groups on a limited basis by appointment only by calling (770) 433-8211 for more information. The Legend will be of interest to The Home Depot enthusiasts visiting Atlanta.

Distinctive Elements at The Home Depot

The Home Depot's logo and company color is bright orange. Orange is seen on signs, equipment and employee aprons.  The Home Depot's extensive use of orange is a similar strategy to John Deere's iconic green color.

The Home Depot exclusively carries several major brands, including:

  • BEHR Paint
  • Chem-Dry (carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, tile and grout services)
  • G.E. (water heaters)
  • Homelite (outdoor and power tools)
  • Martha Stewart Living (outdoor furniture, indoor organization and decor products)
  • Ryobi (power tools)
  • Sur La Table
  • Thomasville cabinetry
  • Hampton Bay (Ceiling Fans and Lighting)
  • HDX (A new Home Depot Brand starting in February 2012)
  • Cub Cadet lawn equipment
The company puts it's core philosophy this way "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."

The Home Depot Collectibles

Since the company is much younger, The Home Depot does not have a long collectible history like Ford Motor Company has.  Therefore the two big areas for Home Depot themed collections are in racing cars and the many uniquely designed Home Depot gift cards the chain has issued.  Here are some of the collectible items with Home Depot branding.

Home Depot BearCredit: The Home Depot, IncHome Depot Race Car #20Credit: Amazon#20 Home Depot die cast carCredit: The Home Depot, Inc

These are just two of the many The Home Depot gift cards that are available.

Home Depot gift car colletibleCredit: The Home Depot, IncHome Depot gift card colletibleCredit: The Home Depot, Inc

Best Book on The Home Depot

Built From Scratch - Home Depot HistoryCredit: AmazonThe best book on the history of the company is Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion by Bernie Marcus, Bob Andelman and Arthur M. Blank  Based on many interviews and co-authored by the company founders, Built from Scratch is an entertaining and informative read.  Anyone interested in building a successful business will gain many insights from The Home Depot story contained in the book.

Own The Home Depot,Inc

The most interesting gift could be a share of The Home Depot itself. You can actually give an actual registered share of Ford stock to your loved one or colleague. The single shares have the share owner's name printed on the certificate and are electronically signed by The Home Depot, Inc company officers. The shares can be framed in a variety of styles, and if you want a little custom plaque can be added below the certificate.  

Home Depot Stock CertificateCredit: The Home Depot, Inc

Real stock certificates are the gift that keeps on giving. As a registered shareholder, your Home Depot enthusiast will get Annual Company Reports and dividend checks quarterly (when dividends are declared).  They can vote on company business by mail, online or even attend the annual general meeting and see company executives speak and report.  

Also as a registered shareholder of the company they can join the dividend reinvestment and stock purchase program which is a good way to increase their stock holdings.   OneShare sells The Home Depot single shares for the market value of the actual share, a transfer fee, and the frame, plaque and shipping cost.

Other Corporate Gift Articles Of Interest

John Deere Logo(86171)Credit: John DeereDeere and Company Gifts

John Deere populorized green before the environmentalists.  With a long history of collectible Deere products, Deere and Company is an American icon.  Nothing runs like a Deere!


Ford Motor Company Early LogoCredit:

 Ford Motor Company Collectible Gifts

The Ford Motor Company is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world.  There a very active collector market for Ford branded items among the many loyal Ford enthusiasts of the world.  


Bank of America's FlagscapeCredit: bank of americaBank of America Corporation Gifts

One of the Big Four US banks, the Bank of America operates in every state in the union.  The product of many mergers and takeovers, today the Bank of America is one of the stongest banks in the country.