Take a look at how it all started, where we’ve gone over the years and what we’re focusing on today.
One fateful Fourth of July weekend, Tom Stemberg broke the ribbon on his typewriter and went in search of a replacement. Stores were closed for the holiday, and the ones still open just didn’t have enough of a selection. Tom came to a realization: businesses needed a reliable, one-stop supplier for office supplies. Ten months later, the first Staples® store — and the world’s first office supply superstore — opened in Brighton, Massachusetts.
In 1989, our best-selling item was a case of copy paper, all 53 pounds of it. Customers asked if it could be delivered. We thought that was pretty smart, and later that year, we launched Staples Direct, our catalog delivery service, to do just that.
In 1993, after years of rapid and successful retail expansion, Staples entered the contract sales market. We partnered with National Office Supply, a company specializing in Fortune 500 clients. This was the beginning of what is now Staples Business Advantage®.
Staples.com® was launched in 1998, becoming one of the first online storefronts. We made sure customers had a seamless experience no matter how they shopped, with in-store returns for online purchases, and Internet kiosks at our retail locations. In 1999 StaplesLink.com® was launched to offer our contract customers the same convenience of ordering online.
1998 also brought Quill — an office supplier that had built a strong presence into the Midwest. With the move, Quill gained access to Staples’ distribution centers, while we were able to align ourselves with another proven and trusted brand.
In 2002, Tom Stemberg stepped down from his position of CEO and was succeeded by Ron Sargent. "I believe the ultimate legacy for the CEO and founder of a corporation is how well the company performs as the leadership transitions," said Tom, confident in his decision to transition to executive chairman.
For eight years, the Staples tagline had been: "Yeah, we’ve got that." In 2003, Staples shifted its focus from what customers bought to how they shopped. Staples made buying supplies easy. So a new tagline was born — "Staples. That was easy.® " — along with a new advertising icon: The Easy Button®.
In 2008, Staples acquired Corporate Express, a global contract stationer based in the Netherlands. It also brought in a wide selection of products beyond office supplies and set us up to serve the business of the future. Ron Sargent calls it "the most transformational event in the history of our company."
In 2009, Staples Business Advantage began to offer a more expansive selection of products beyond the office, in order to supply customers with everything they need for their workdays and workspaces. Some of the strides we’ve made: North America’s largest promotional product distributor $1 billion in facilities supplies sales; 30 years as a trusted tech advisor and supplier; Over 25,000 furniture projects completed by Workplace Studio; More than 50 years of print service expertise.
For digital innovation in the Information Age, we opened our Velocity Lab in Cambridge, MA, and our Development Center in Seattle in 2013, responsible for enhancing customer shopping experiences on mobile devices and desktops and in stores.
After 11 years of making it easier for customers to shop, Staples was ready for the next step: "Make more happen." We expanded our assortment to provide every product businesses need to succeed and created new services focused around convenience. 2014 also marked the launch of the Staples Share Fund, our associate assistance program funded by associate and corporate contributions.
In 2016, Shira Goodman was named president and CEO, succeeding Ron Sargent after 14 years and becoming the first woman to lead the company in its 30-year history. "I am committed to executing our Staples 20/20 strategy," she said, acknowledging, "We have an incredible team of dedicated associates, and I am proud to lead them as we transform our company."
In 2017, Staples launched their new brand platform, "It's Pro Time," celebrating the everyday professionals who love to roll up their sleeves and get down to business. These pros believe that status quo is never their starting point—that good is just a stepping stone to great. We're proud to be by their side, supporting them with the right products, services and expertise to go above and beyond.