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Happy Birthday, Best Buy

Best Buy, which began life as a St. Paul, Minn., audio shop in 1966, turned 50 this year.

It’s a tribute to the vision and determination of founder Dick Schulze; the tens of thousands of staffers he employed; the ingenuity of tech manufacturers; and the opportunities that the American marketplace affords, that his small Sound of Music showroom would morph over the ensuing half century into the world’s No. 1 CE specialty chain.

As the legend goes, Schulze, a former CE salesman, and his wife Sandy remortgaged their home to finance their first store. It would be another 15 years before a showroom-ravaging tornado, and the subsequent open-box parking lot sale, sparked the concept of a grab-and-go CE superstore.

The company officially changed its name in 1983, and amid unprecedented growth, heartbreaking setbacks and a newly installed regime, it’s been a whirlwind ever since.