It was 1979 and four guys from Atlanta—Ken Langone, Pat Farrah, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank—sat around discussing their idea of starting a hardware store.
There was only one problem : how could they sell stuff they couldn’t afford to buy and stock in the first place?
“Empty boxes,” said Pat. “Let’s persuade the vendors to give us empty boxes. At least then it’ll look like we have stock.” The suppliers actually agreed to this ludicrous idea and before they knew it, they had 60,000-square-foot warehouses with 20-foot shelves stacked high with… empty boxes. It certainly looked impressive.
But customers were still not rushing inside to discover the store. So they pulled another unconventional move and paid customers to come in! That’s right. Bernie literally stood outside with a handful of dollar bills, offering people a dollar to check the store out.
It worked. Once inside, people were excited. $2 hammers, $90 hammers—plus everything in between. Every DIY solution imaginable, and a sales team that were not only super knowledgeable, but bend-over-backwards helpful.
In less than a year, the business gained popularity. That business is Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer.
Today there are more than 2,200 Home Depot stores across North America. And guess what? All the boxes are full.
Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank.
When the herd is running in one direction, be alarmed. Resist the temptation to follow. Take a deep look at the opposite direction and watch a whole new world of opportunities unfold.
© Story by Tarek Issa.