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What are the origins of Best Buy?

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Quick Answer

Best Buy began in 1966 under the name Sound of Music, which Richard Schulze founded with a business partner. The next year, Sound of Music acquired two companies, and in 1969, Schulze bought his partner's share of the company. The company changed its name to Best Buy in 1983.

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Full Answer

Schulze opened the first Sound of Music store in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He had to use his own savings and take a second mortgage on his house to finance it. It focused on high-fidelity stereos.

In 1981, Schulze decided to expand the company's products to include appliances and VCRs, as the market for stereos consisted primarily of young males without much disposable income. In 1984, Best Buy opened its first superstore.

Best Buy went through another change in 1989, called Concept II. Stores were brighter, and the showrooms were well stocked so that customers could shop without waiting for an item from the back. The company also reduced its number of employees and eliminated commissions so that salespeople wouldn't pressure customers.

In 1995, Concept III stores, which were bigger than prior Best Buy stores and had a larger product selection, were introduced. Three years later, Concept IV stores came out, with products grouped by department around the store, more cash registers and more areas to use products.

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