5 Small
Businesses That
Made It

BIG

Small Business Saturday 2013
MINERALTREE, INC.

WWW.MINERALTREE.COM/BLOG
01

Wrigley
Founded: 1891

FOUNDER: WILLIAM WRIGLEY JR.

William Wrigley Jr. began giving away free gum to attract custome...
02

Ben & Jerry’s
Founded: 1978

FOUNDERS: BEN COHEN AND
JERRY GREENFIELD

Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield...
03

Whole Foods
Founded: 1978

FOUNDERS: JOHN MACKEY,
RENEE LAWSON HARDY

In 1978, John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy decid...
04

Mattel
Founded: 1945

FOUNDERS: ELLIOT HANDLER AND
HAROLD MATSON

Today the number one toymaker in America, Mattel was...
05

Amazon
Founded: 1994

FOUNDER: JEFF BEZOS

Founded in 1994 in Jeff Bezos’s garage in Bellevue, Washington, Amazon
had ...
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5 Small Businesses That Made It Big

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Take a look at these five mega businesses that started from humble beginnings.

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5 Small Businesses That Made It Big

  1. 1. 5 Small Businesses That Made It BIG Small Business Saturday 2013 MINERALTREE, INC. WWW.MINERALTREE.COM/BLOG
  2. 2. 01 Wrigley Founded: 1891 FOUNDER: WILLIAM WRIGLEY JR. William Wrigley Jr. began giving away free gum to attract customers to his general store. Realizing that gum was a far sexier product than soap and baking powder, he began producing his own and aggressively marketing toward young people. Wrigley’s biggest struggle? Getting young men to buy his product.  Back in the late 19th century, chewing gum was considered a feminine activity. During the Great Depression, Wrigley did the unthinkable--he mortgaged everything he had and launched a massive ad campaign for his new gum brands.
  3. 3. 02 Ben & Jerry’s Founded: 1978 FOUNDERS: BEN COHEN AND JERRY GREENFIELD Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield didn’t have much going on after college. Jerry found himself unable to get into medical school, and Ben dropped out after a couple of years. After taking an ice cream making class together, the two men scraped together $12,000, renovated an old gas station, and Ben & Jerry’s was born. The incredibly unique flavors the brand is known for is actually a direct result of Cohen’s aguesia (no sense of taste), allowing him to only rely on “mouth feel,” which led to the trademark chunks that are found in the ice cream. The brand is also well known for their commitment to social and environmental responsibility.
  4. 4. 03 Whole Foods Founded: 1978 FOUNDERS: JOHN MACKEY, RENEE LAWSON HARDY In 1978, John Mackey and Rene Lawson Hardy decided that the world was ready for a natural food store in a supermarket format. After borrowing $45,000 from friends and family, the couple opened a store called Saferway in Austin, Texas. After getting booted out of their apartment for storing food products, they decided to simply live at the store, showering with the hose attachment on the Hobart dishwasher. Not long after, Mackey and Hardy partnered with Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, owners of Clarksville Natural Grocery. With a 10,500 sq. feet and a staff of 19, Whole Foods Market was born. In 1981, a terrible flood devastated the city of Austin, and Whole Foods Market was destroyed. In the community spirit that Whole Foods still harbors today, the community banded together and helped rebuild the store, opening just 28 days after the flood.  Today, Whole Foods has a global presence with more than 15 brands under its purview.
  5. 5. 04 Mattel Founded: 1945 FOUNDERS: ELLIOT HANDLER AND HAROLD MATSON Today the number one toymaker in America, Mattel was founded in 1945 by Elliot Handler and Harold Matson. Like many small businesses, Mattel started as a garage store. They began selling picture frames, but switched over to exclusively making toys when Elliot began making dollhouses from picture frame scraps.   In 1959, Ruth Handler (Elliot’s wife) noticed her daughter Barbara’s fascination with cutout paper dolls, as well as her tendency to put the dolls into adult roles. This was odd, as most dolls during that time were infant representations. Sensing the gap in the market, Ruth suggested making an adult doll, but the idea was not initially well received by Elliot and other Mattel higher-ups. After a trip to Europe and seeing similar dolls, Elliot finally gave the go ahead to start production on the Barbie Doll. Barbie was an instant hit, and she remains a cultural icon today. While Mattel has produced many iconic toys, Barbie remains the crown jewel of their history. Fun fact: three Barbies are sold every second!
  6. 6. 05 Amazon Founded: 1994 FOUNDER: JEFF BEZOS Founded in 1994 in Jeff Bezos’s garage in Bellevue, Washington, Amazon had humble beginnings as an online bookstore. Capitalizing on the internet boom at the time, Bezos decided to start an online bookstore due to the demand for literature, the low price point of books, and the availability of titles in print. The convenience of having a “virtual” warehouse and thus creating a widespread availability of titles led Amazon to become an instant success, and eventually becoming the downfall of brick-and-mortar bookstores. From books, food, clothes, beauty products to movies, music, and media of all kinds, Amazon is truly a one-stop shop for the consumer.

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