The Places Where 5 Big-Name Entrepreneurs Got Their Start

Posted by on June 8, 2009 in Business News, Incorporation [ 0 Comments ]

Entrepreneurialism is characterized by an ability to find a way to flourish regardless of the setting or circumstances one finds oneself in. It is this individualism and spirit of resourcefulness that make the entrepreneur such an import icon in American economics, and world economics as well. So it is no surprise to find that the places where some of today’s biggest companies got started are as varied as the individuals who started them. Here are some examples of the birthplaces of some of the best known companies today.

Hershey Chocolate Company: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The chocolate giant got started when founder Milton Hershey decided in 1894 to coat his caramel candies with sweet chocolate. The first Hershey Chocolate factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania turned chocolate from a luxury item into mass-produced commodity that everyone could enjoy. Today, the birthplace of the Hershey Chocolate Company is a top tourist destination for chocolate lovers. People can enjoy chocolate-themed amusement park rides, relax at the luxury Hershey spa, which offers special chocolate treatments, and take a tour of the original Hershey factory.

Wal-Mart: Bentonville, Arkansas

Sam Walton, late founder of Wal-Mart, opened up his first discount retail store in the small town of Bentonville in 1962, under the name, “Walton’s”. Prior to this, Walton had been operating 16 Ben Franklin franchise variety stores, but the Bentonville Five-and-dime was the first one he opened under his name. Nicknamed “the Hustler” by his fraternity brothers at the University of Missouri, Walton had always had a penchant for finding new ways to make a dime.

Today, you can still visit the original Walton’s Five-and-Dime in Bentonville. It looks, from outside, much like it did in 1962, but inside you will find a sort of museum of Wal-Mart’s corporate history.

Apple: Los Altos, California

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs and Apple co-founder Stephen Wozniak built their first computer in the garage of the Jobs family’s home at 2066 Crist Drive in Los Altos, California. Job’s father cleared up his car-restoration equipment and helped the young men haul a large wooden workbench that served as Apple’s first manufacturing base. “It was just the two of us, Woz and me,” said Jobs in a Fortune Magazine interview. The Apple I was first sold by a local computer store called The Byte Shop. The store paid Jobs and Wozniak $500 for each order.

McDonald’s: San Bernardino, California

Dick and Mac McDonald opened their first McDonald’s restaurant in San Bernardino, California in 1940. Originally from New Hampshire, the brothers had moved to California in 1920. Their first restaurant become instantly popular and served as the hangout spot for teenagers in the San Bernardino area. In 1948, however, the McDonald’s brothers changed their business model completely. The car hopping and extensive menus that attracted young people to McDonald’s weren’t catering to the growing family demographic. So the new McDonald’s model focused on cheaper pricing and speedy service, sans the complicated menus.

The Original McDonald’s has since then been demolished. The location of the original McDonald’s is now the site of a Juan Pollo Mexican food restaurant. However, the owner of Juan Pollo has build a McDonald’s next to his restaurant, for visitors interested in seeing the birthplace of today’s largest fast-food chain.

Google Inc.: Stanford University, California

Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google as a research project when they were both Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Their idea was to create a search engine that analyzed links between websites to produce better ranking results, whereas other sites ranked results solely based on how often the search term appeared on the site. The domain name was registered on September 15 1997 and the company was incorporated on September 4 1998 in Menlo Park, California.

If you know of more top destinations where creativity and entrepreneuralism began, let us know by leaving a comment.

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