This Day in Business History: “America’s First Supermarket” King Kullen Opens

August 4, 1930: When Michael J. Cullen suggested to the management of Kroger, his employer at the time, that they reinvent food stores by creating larger mostly self-service stores with low prices and more parking, they ignored him. He left his job at Kroger as General Sales Manager for 94 Illinois stores, and opened “America’s First…

This Day in Business History: The Mercantile Agency (later D&B) is Founded

July 20, 1841: On this date, Lewis Tappan founded The Mercantile Agency to collect business information such as sales estimates and bill paying ability. In 1859, the company was sold to Robert Graham Dun and incorporated under a new name, R. G. Dun & Company. And in 1933, Dun & Co. merged with Bradstreet Company, a…

This Day in Business History: Opening Day at Disneyland

July 17, 1955: On a sunny Anaheim, California Sunday afternoon, Walt Disney opens his first theme park, Disneyland. Offering 5 theme lands with 18 attractions, the park took more than twenty years to plan and cost $17 million to build. Disney’s financial advisers were skeptical of his plan, suggesting that it would be a disaster, but…

This Day in Business History: The First Walmart Opens

July 2, 1962: Sam Walton opens his first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas at the age of 44. Sam Walton was no stranger to retail by this time. He worked for the J.C. Penney Company after college, which at that time was a relatively small retailer. After serving in World War II, where he was captain of…

This Day in Business History: Napster Initiates Ripple of Disruption in the Music Industry

June 1, 1999: The world’s first peer-to-peer music sharing site, Napster, launched on this date. Before Napster, music lovers were limited to purchasing music as hard copies on CDs, vinyl, or cassettes. Napster enabled users to share music files in MP3 format, initiating a massive disruption in the music industry. Within just a year of…

This Day in Business History: Facebook IPOs

May 18 2012: Facebook started trading on NASDAQ as FB, with common stock priced at $38 per share. This gave Facebook a $104B valuation, nearly four times Google’s $23B valuation at it’s 2004 IPO. The IPO was notable for more than its size; as technical glitches at NASDAQ later led to lawsuits from shareholders. Sources: …

This Day in Business History: The Chunnel Opens

May 6, 1994: The “Chunnel,” a rail tunnel under the English Channel, officially opened. This 31 mile tunnel connects Folkstone, England with Sangatte, France.  Construction began in 1988, with drilling commencing from both countries.  The tunnel goes down as far as 50 feet deep, and the underwater section is 23.5 miles, the longest undersea tunnel in…

This Day in Business History: Empire State Building Opens

May 1, 1931: The Empire State Building opens in New York City, standing as the tallest building in the skyline for 40 years.  It is now the fifth tallest building in the United States and the 28th tallest building in the world. Opening during the Great Depression, the building has been a part of many…