Source: Business Insider
Now and then, the most brilliant visionaries grace the entrepreneurial landscape, their leadership and innovative skills making a significant impact in the world as they transform something ordinary into a remarkable work of excellence. In the case of Arthur Blank, the esteemed co-founder of The Home Depot, it is proven that one’s innovative effort can indeed change the world.
Although now a billionaire with a net worth of $7 billion, Arthur Blank had very humble beginnings. In 1942, Arthur was born to Jewish parents in Queens, New York. When he was fifteen, tragedy struck the family as his father passed on, forcing his mother to take on the family business even though she had no prior business experience.
With the limited family income a source of constant worry, Arthur graduated from high school and attended Babson College, Boston, MA. During his years in college, his entrepreneurial spirits kicked in as Arthur started a landscaping business and a laundry service to help pay his way through college.
After graduating in 1963 with an accounting degree, Arthur joined the corporate workforce, working with Arthur Young & Company, a New York accounting firm, as a senior accountant for half a decade. He was then hired by Daylin Corporation, where he rose through the ranks and eventually became the President of Elliot’s Drugstores and Stripe Discount Stores.
After a significant acquisition, Arthur was transferred to Handy Dan Home Improvements Center, where he worked as vice president under Bernard Marcus’s leadership. In 1978, the executive pair experienced what might be a blessing in disguise as they were both fired from their position at the company.
The innovative pair, rather than look for another job, resolved to start their own company, conceiving the idea of a one-stop shop for do-it-yourself home improvement, which they founded with Ken Langone and Pat Farrah and promptly named the Home Depot.
Putting to good use some of the sales tactics they had been developing, Arthur and Bernard took the company to greater heights, becoming a trusted household name for optimum customer satisfaction.
Over the years, the Home Depot became the largest home improvement retailer and a trusted household name. The success of the company translated to the tremendous wealth of the serial businessman. In 2001, Arthur took a bow and retired as the company’s CEO and became very involved in the Atlanta NFL community, subsequently buying the Atlanta Falcons team.
A true believer in supporting giving back to the community, Arthur joined “The Giving Pledge” and made a solemn promise to give away 50% of his wealth before his death. True to his pledge, Arthur, through the Arthur M. Blank family foundation, has given away over $560 million to charities in support of education, child development, arts, veteran causes, and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic relief.
Arthur Blank remains consistent in his approach to life, dedicated to making a difference in the world in his way. His favorite T-shirt, which reads, “There is no finish line,” appropriately sums up his outlook on life.