Company Overview Visit staples.com website
Staples Inc. is the world's largest office supply company, with over 2 million employees and $24 billion in revenue each year.
The company began in 1985 when founder Thomas G. Stemberg opened the first Staples in Brighton, Massachusetts. The store sold pens, pencils and other supplies for school use by students and their families; many of them were small businesses that needed to take care of their own office needs rather than sending away for supplies.
Stemberg also offered discounted fax machines, which could be used by the companies that had already started to run out of room at home or work. Over time, more products were added, such as computer disks and printer paper; they later became the staples on which Staples built its success.
Staples grew rapidly in the 1990s, bringing new stores to Canada and adding products such as computers. It also expanded its business-to-business sales, offering supplies to larger companies. Staples Inc. then merged with competitor Office Depot - which itself had just acquired corporate supplier Businessland - in 1996, leading to a downturn for both retailers. Eventually they were able to recover under their own names, but decided to merge again in 2016 after facing pressure from investors who wanted them to have better online presences and larger geographic footprints.
Despite not being the only major office supply retailer on the market (OfficeMax was still around), Staples continued growing throughout the 2000s due largely to its purchase of smaller chains like Grand & Toy in Canada and European retailer Corporate Express. It also started selling small electronics such as iPads and printers, furthering the company's expansion into other markets.