In a secure, climate-controlled facility in metro Atlanta lives an 865-foot collection of papers and memorabilia known as The Home Depot Archives. From the early days of The Home Depot Television Network to Y2K – and many retro quirks in between – the archives are full of nostalgic treasures and some pretty strange things.
Here are five favorites from the archives:
I Want My HDTV! T-shirts
Nothing says 1980s quite like “I Want My HDTV.” Inspired by The Home Depot Television Network, now called HDTV, company founders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank started the internal television network as a way to communicate with a rapidly growing associate population. When HDTV made its debut in 1989, it kept the stores in 11 of the 50 states connected – with lots of room for growth to the 2,200 stores today.
When Home Improvement 1-2-3 rolled off the presses in 1995, it was a first-of-its-kind, problem-solving encyclopedia developed and written by Home Depot associates. To celebrate the book’s release, the publisher produced View-Masters as promotional items.
“Years ago, access to tips for the DIYer were limited to publications as well as manufacturers packaging instructions,” points out Marty Gallagher, an original DIY subject matter expert at The Home Depot. “YouTube and the internet [as we know it] did not exist, so the 1-2-3 book served as a great reference for the novice DIYer to get started and complete a project.”
When Bernie and Arthur filmed “On the Road” in front of an audience of 2,000 west coast associates at Universal Studios in 1995, audience members received special seat cushions, whistles and 3-D glasses. The whistles were to “blow the whistle on bureaucracy” and the glasses were for viewing show’s 3-D growth and expansion graphs. The enthusiasm of associates fueled success in the 90s and still does today.
Y2K Countdown Timer
The Home Depot was ready to face Y2K and had the countdown to prove it. Former Chief Administrative Officer Ron Brill kept this timer on his desk as a lighthearted way to show that the IT department was prepared while the world waited to see what would happen when the Millennium arrived.
When the Store Managers’ Meeting kicked off in 2003 with the theme “Mission: Possible,” this Rubik’s Cube memento – an iconic 80s toy – reminded store managers that even seemingly complicated problems could be solved.
Check out some other throwbacks from the archives: