Staples Canada Flyer, Inc. is a US retail office supplies company. The company currently employs around 77,400 people and has sales of approximately $ 18 billion. Its branches and subsidiaries in North America, South America, Asia and Europe offer around 7,000 products that can be purchased in the company’s own markets, via catalog or in the online shop. The company is based in Framingham near Boston.
The company was founded in 1985 by Tom Stemberg, a former director of a supermarket chain, and Leo Kahn. According to the company’s history, Stemberg is said to have torn the ribbon of his printer while printing a business plan on July 4th (US national holiday), whereupon he had the idea of founding a supermarket for office products after searching in vain for a replacement. Until then, office supplies for small consumers were only sold by small retailers who, unlike large supermarkets, were not open around the clock. Staples’ business model was therefore a classic pick-up wholesale market concept with long opening times, a large product range and low prices thanks to volume purchase and sales with a specialization in office supplies.
Stemberg’s concept was initially viewed with skepticism, the need for large office markets was doubted. Nevertheless, the first Staples wholesale store, the world’s first wholesale store for office supplies, opened on May 1, 1986 in the Brighton district of Boston. Staples was supported by Bain Capital, the company of the later politician Mitt Romney. The Staples model proved to be a great success, and within two years 20 additional office wholesalers from various providers were founded.
When it went public in 1989, the company raised $ 36 million, and the Staples Direct shipping division was founded in the same year. From 1990 the company opened up the market in the western United States, and in 1991 the first Staples Canada Flyer store opened in Canada. Expansion into Europe began in 1992 through a joint venture with the British company Kingfisher.