Home Depot is one of the ten largest retail chains in the world, according to the annual Global Powers of Retailing list compiled by Deloitte. When the founders of Home Depot—Bernie Marcus, and Arthur Blank—opened their first store in Atlanta, Georgia, in June of 1979, it was the largest home improvement specialty store.
Back then, Home Depot, which the pair opened with the help of investment banker Ken Langone and merch expert Pat Farrah, stocked about 25,000 different home improvement products in each store. Today, the company carries 36,000 products in its stores and offers two million more products online. As well-known as Home Depot is now, there is even more little-known history, trivia and fun facts about the company they may not know.
Fun Facts About the Early Days of Home Depot
In order to create a warehouse look and give customers the impression that its stores were stocked to the rafters with home improvement merchandise, empty product boxes were strategically placed on high shelves in the earliest Home Depot stores.
When the first store opened, Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus says he spent the first few months stationed in the parking lot conducting informal impromptu customer surveys asking folks leaving the store without shopping bags why they didn’t make a purchase.
Of the people who offered feedback, Marcus remembers, many pointed out how the store didn’t carry the items they were seeking. Marcus and company remedied the situation by buying the products in question from their competitors, repricing them at their price and then delivering them directly to the customers.
Brands Sold Exclusively at Home Depot
A significant part of Home Depot's success can be attributed to its sales of merchandise by brands like Ryobi® tools and RIDGID® tools, which are sold exclusively at Home Depot, along with LG® appliances, Toro® lawn equipment, and Cub Cadet® lawn equipment. Home Depot's proprietary paint brand, BEHR® is top-ranked consumer brand of paint according to the annual J.D. Power Paint Satisfaction Study.
Home Depot's Competition Busting Strategy
The Home Depot Low Price Guarantee is an ongoing offer to beat any advertised price from a competitor on any product. If the product is purchased online, Home Depot will match the price of a competitor, including shipping. If an item is purchased in-store, the retailer will also match the price of an identical, in-stock product, provided a customer presents an ad, printout or photo of the competitor’s price.
There are on some products such as seasonal, obsolete, or clearance items, special order products, items sold with rebates, items from membership retail wholesalers, free offers, or limited promotions, prices based on typographical errors or misprints, and more.
Home Depot By the Numbers
The average size of a Home Depot retail store is 105,000 square feet with 24,000 additional outdoor seasonal space in the garden area. The largest Home Depot store, which is located in Union, New Jersey, is 225,000 square feet, followed by the second largest location in Anaheim Hills, California, which takes up 204,000 square feet. Although the company unsuccessfully tried to expand in China and South America, Home Depot is one of the largest retailers in North America, employing nearly half a million associates at nearly 2,000 stores in the United States and several hundred more in Mexico and Canada,
Home Depot's Customer Care Philosophy
Home Depot’s top priority is its customers and associates, and the two are not seen as mutually exclusive. The company operates on an inverted pyramid that puts the customer first, followed by front-line associates, then field and corporate support teams, and then the CEO. “Take care of the associates. They will take care of the customers. And everything else will take care of itself,” according to Mr. Marcus.
With their customers firmly in mind, the Home Depot founders created a Customer Bill of Rights which entitled their customers to "always expect the best assortment, quantity, and price, as well as the help of a trained sales associate when they visit a Home Depot store."
Gold Medal Employees
In 1992, Home Depot launched its Olympic Job Opportunity Program. The program, which was discontinued in 2009, provided athletes with benefits and flexibility for training and competition, employing 570 Olympic hopefuls in nearly two decades.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
The Home Depot Foundation has donated more than $200 million to non-profit organizations, and the Framing Hope Program has donated more than $100 million worth of products to charitable causes.