Today is a big day at Best Buy. It’s our 50th birthday, our golden anniversary, the big five-oh.
As we prepared for this milestone, we spent a lot of time in the company archives to learn about our journey from one tiny store in St. Paul, Minnesota, to a multinational retailer with 1,600 stores throughout North America, 125,000 employees and nearly $40 billion in annual revenue.
Here are five facts you might not know about the company’s first five decades.
1. We weren’t always called Best Buy
From 1966 to 1983, the company was known as Sound of Music. Yep, like the movie.
2. We were early to the gift card game
We introduced our first plastic gift card back in 1995, making us one of the first retailers to do so. Today, our tag-shaped card is said to be the only gift card in the industry that consumers can identify with their eyes closed.
3. We tried our hand at movie rentals
VCRs and VHS tapes were big business in the mid-1980s — so big, in fact, that they accounted for more than half of our sales growth in 1984. And as home video revenue surpassed ticket sales at movie theaters, we briefly offered video rentals from 1987 to 1990.
4. We’ve helped customers recycle more than 1 billion pounds of e-waste
We’ve kept a lot of old electronics and appliances out of landfills over the years through our recycling program — and we keep collecting more. That’s not all! We have cut our own carbon footprint significantly and helped our customers save $40 million on their utility bills through sales of ENERGY STAR-certified products.
5. Our Geek Squad agents make approximately 5 million house calls a year
And if you think they only fix broken computers, guess again. Today’s Geek Squad Agents provide expert advice and service for a whole host of tech products, including TVs, appliances, Wi-Fi networks and connected home devices. When you see a Geekmobile on the road, it’s very likely that someone will soon be getting more out of their technology.
For a quick look at Best Buy through the years, check out this video: