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Happy Birthday Best Buy

Half a century ago this Monday, a CE salesman named Dick Schulze and his wife Sandy opened a local audio shop after remortgaging their St. Paul, Minn., home.

Fifty years and billions of dollars later, Schulze’s original Sound of Music store has morphed into the world’s largest consumer electronics and home appliances specialty chain.

Although the name Best Buy wasn’t legally adopted until 1983, the company considers Aug. 22 — the day the Schultzes first opened shop back in 1966 — as its official anniversary.

Presumably celebrations are planned at corporate headquarters in Richfield, Minn., but Best Buy is also bringing the party to its 1,400 stores and website. To mark the occasion — and move some late-summer inventory — the chain held a 50-hour anniversary sale that started at 10 p.m. Central Time on Aug. 18 and ended 11:59 on Aug. 20. Deals included $150 off select MacBook Pro computers, $400 off a 65- inch Samsung 4K UHD TV, $180 off Beats Studio wireless on-ear headphones, and an iPhone 6s for $1 with a two-year activation on Sprint or Verizon Wireless.

As for the Schulzes, Sandy died in 2001, after which Dick handed off the CEO reigns. He remained chairman until 2012, when prior knowledge of improprieties by then CEO Brian Dunn led to his resignation. Following a failed attempt to take the company private, he was named chairman emeritus in 2013 by president/CEO Hubert Joly, and currently resides in Florida.

Schulze’s Family Foundation remains one of the largest philanthropic groups in Minnesota, and Best Buy continues as the No. 1 CE chain, with nearly $34 billion in electronics and appliance sales last year.