Staples' founder Tom Stemberg, a former supermarket chain executive turned entrepreneur, was working over the Fourth of July weekend on a business proposal when his printer ribbon broke. Because it was the holiday weekend, local suppliers and stationery stores were closed. After driving from store to store and not finding the correct ribbon, Tom came to a realization: The world needed a supermarket for office products. Ten months later, Staples, the first office superstore, was open for business.
Before Staples, small businesses and consumers paid a premium for office supplies, while larger companies negotiated huge discounts with supply wholesalers. Small–businesses and consumers, like Tom that Fourth of July weekend, were at the mercy of the stationery store's schedule.
Staples was founded to make it easy for small–business owners and consumers. Stores feature convenient locations and hours, and a great selection of products and services at competitive everyday prices.
Filling a Need
From the beginning, skeptics questioned the need for a discount office supply superstore. They wondered if anyone really cared about the price of paper clips. The answer was yes. While researching Staples, Tom spoke with one small–business owner who underestimated his yearly office supply budget by a factor of five. In 1985, 10.8 million of the 11 million businesses in the U.S. were small businesses, and the total market for office supplies was $85 billion and growing.
On May 1, 1986, Staples opened the world's very first office supply superstore in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Soon, Staples was such a success that some 20 competitors launched similar retail concepts over the next two years. Today, only three major retailers remain in the business.
Staples is Growing
Staples is now the world's largest office products company and second largest internet retailer. For 26 years, Staples has served the needs of business customers and its vision is to provide every product businesses need to succeed. Through its world-class retail, online and delivery capabilities, Staples offers office supplies, technology products and services, facilities and breakroom supplies, furniture, copy and print services and a wide range of other product categories. With thousands of associates worldwide dedicated to making it easy for businesses of all sizes, Staples operates throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Staples®. that was easy®.