Home Depot could have been called 'Bad Bernie's Buildall' if an early investor hadn't intervened

Courtesy of The Home DepotHome Depot’s founders ended up going for something far more understated.
  • Home Depot first came onto the scene in 1979, when its two original stores opened in Atlanta.
  • Before that, founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank mulled over what they would name their new business.
  • Home Depot archivist Jennifer Wyatt said that the businessmen considered the name “Bad Bernie’s Buildall.”
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Would you ever shop at a place called Bad Bernie’s Buildall?
Well, that’s one of the names that Home Depot founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank came up with when they were brainstorming what to call their new company.

Jennifer Wyatt, Home Depot’s company historian and archivist, told Business Insider that she doesn’t “think we’d be chatting today if they’d gone with Bad Bernie’s Buildall.”

Wyatt has worked at Home Depot for over 20 years and even assisted founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank in fact-checking their book “Built from Scratch.” She explained that the over-the-top, alliterative moniker actually fit in with the marketing trend of depicting unhinged or outrageous characters selling products at low prices.

Read more:Here’s what Home Depot looked like when it first opened in 1979

Similar examples of such advertising motifs show up in Crazy Eddie commercials and a more recent Burger King spot. In a similar vein, Bad Bernie’s Buildall would sport a logo featuring a man in a striped prison uniform.

Fortunately for Home Depot, early investor Marjorie Buckley intervened. Wyatt said that Buckley and her husband once came upon a train depot that had been turned into a restaurant. The sighting inspired Buckley to come up with the simple name “The Home Depot.”

Marcus and Blank loved the new name’s “down-to-earth, no-frills” quality, and Bad Bernie was sent back into lockup.

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