Best Buy has come a long way in providing consumers with tech and electronics since it first opened in 1966. For starters, back then, it wasn’t even called Best Buy.Richard M Schulze and James Wheeler opened a store dedicated solely to high-fidelity stereos and called Sound of Music. By 1978, they had nine locations throughout Minnesota. It wasn’t until a seeming case of bad-luck that the music-tech store started to become the electronics mega-retailers we know today.
In 1981, a tornado passed through Roseville, MN, where the largest and most profitable Sound of Music store was located, causing considerable damage to the store, but leaving the storehouse intact. In an attempt to salvage what business he could, Schulze had a blowout sale in the parking lot of the destroyed building, offering excess and damaged stock at discounted rates, calling them “best buys.” In those four days, the Roseville store made more money than in a typical month. Soon after, the name and business strategy were officially changed.
Best Buy now has 997 locations in the US, Canada, and Mexico as of February 2019 and is in the top 100 of the Forbes 500 list of largest US corporations by total revenue. Their inventory now ranges from appliances to mobile phones to musical instruments - they even own an independent music production company. Best Buy was also the first third-party retailer to carry the Apple iPhone.
Best Buy’s subsidiary, The Geek Squad, also offers electronics repairs and consultations. This team of experts, along with the in-store consultants, have become a core part of the Best Buy shopping experience and were integral in the development of a second more recent rebranding. In 2018, Best Buy adopted a new logo, focusing less on the iconic yellow sale tag in favor of the now easily recognizable blue shirts of Best Buy employees (appropriately also known as “Blue Shirts”). The stated goal was to emphasize the importance of Best Buy’s employees and corporate culture.
Best Buy is proud of its corporate culture and involvement in the community. Initiatives like Best Buy Education seek to provide schools and educators with Ed-Tech, and Best Buy Business members have access to business-related expertise and services. Best Buy was accused of unethical deforestation of the Canadian taiga by Greenpeace in 2007, but has since redoubled their efforts at sustainability. The subsequently formed Greener Together initiative sought, in part, to reduce consumer waste, and Best Buy implemented more recyclable packaging and made electronics and battery recycling available to customers. They are currently pursuing a goal to collect 1 billion pounds of recyclables. Greener Together also aimed to increase energy efficiency, and now has a place on the list of the EPA’s top 50 green-power purchasers. Barron’s also named Best Buy the Most Sustainable Company in the United States in 2019.