Home improvement stores carved out a unique path for themselves among American consumers by providing quality products for home remodeling projects and also passing on the know-how for turning said projects into reality.
Many of the home improvement chain stores already are one-stop destinations for all house-related needs, from construction materials to furniture, accessories and home décor. Sometimes, they even dictate new home design trends, as they generally feature products that combine aesthetics with functional design and which are also affordable. Moreover, more than dictating trends or following “trend-savvy” design, home improvement stores give customers what they really need to enhance the comfort of their homes.
Whether you want to refresh the looks of your home, install new flooring, repaint partitions, or you need new furniture for your home office, it often takes just a trip to a local home improvement store to get things started.
Also useful before embarking on a remodeling project is getting a self storage unit to safekeep your furniture and other belongings during the renovations.
Not sure which home improvement store to visit? Here are ten of the best and biggest home improvement retailers in the US – plus some interesting facts about each one.
1. The Home Depot – founded in Cobb County, Georgia, 1978
The Home Depot, currently the largest home improvement store chain in the United States, was founded in 1978, in Cobb County, Georgia. Its founders envisioned a superstore larger than those of competitors – and their vision paid off. In about five years after the first two stores opened in Atlanta, the Home Depot extended to almost 20 stores.
Today, the Home Depot brand can be found in no fewer than 2,285 locations throughout the whole of North America. The brand has been present in Canada since 1994 and in Mexico since 2001. One thing that sets the Home Depot apart from its competitors is the “bill of rights” implemented by its co-founders, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank. According to this, Home Depot customers should always get the best prices, quantity, and range of products.
2. Lowe’s – founded in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1921
Lowe’s is one of the oldest home improvement chain stores in the US. It was founded almost 100 years ago, in 1921, in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, by Lucius Smith Lowe. The business was further developed by his son, Jim Lowe, and son-in-law, Carl Buchan, who became the sole owner in 1952. By 1960, Lowe’s had become a 16-store chain.
Its expansion continued – nowadays, there are more than 2,000 locations in the United States and Canada which host the Lowe’s brand. The home improvement chain store employs no fewer than 300,000 people.
3. Menards – founded in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1960
Menards was established 60 years ago, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, by John Menards Jr., and remains a privately held company to this day. The home improvement store chain currently operates 350 locations in 15 states, including Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Nebraska.
The stores offer a wide variety of home improvement products, from building materials, tools, and hardware to garden supplies, cabinets, doors, windows, and plumbing supplies. What sets Menards apart from other home improvement stores is that they also offer a selection of groceries to customers. So, if you’re busy remodeling, Menards is the place where you can get your home improvement supplies and even groceries for your dinner, saving you precious time.
4. Ace Hardware – founded in Chicago, in 1924
Ace Hardware was founded in 1924, in Chicago, when entrepreneurs Richard Hesse, E. Gunnard Lindquist, Frank Burke and Oscar Fisher united their hardware stores under one brand. The company’s name, Ace Hardware, refers to the ace fighter pilots of World War I.
Today, the business is based in Oak Brooks, Illinois, and it’s the world’s largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative, with over 5,200 locations. Most of the locations are in the US, but there are also some in China, Panama and the United Arab Emirates.
5. True Value – founded in Chicago, in 1948
True Value Company has more than 4,500 locations in 60 countries, making it one of the most well-known American home improvement chain stores internationally. The company was established in 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, where it’s still headquartered. The company operates other brands besides True Value, such as the equipment rental company Grand Rental Station and Home & Garden Showplace.
True Value was founded as a cooperative and stays true to its roots – there are programs for entrepreneurs interested in opening home improvement stores under the True Value brand.
6. 84 Lumber – founded in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, in 1956
84 Lumber draws its name from the unincorporated village of Eighty Four in Pennsylvania, located 20 miles south from Pittsburgh. The company was founded there in 1956 by Joseph Hardy, and today it owns and operates over 250 stores throughout the country, employing more than 5,600 people.
As its name suggests, the company started as a lumberyard, but it has continued to expand its business and now offers a wide range of home improvement products as well as construction and design services.
7. Empire Today – founded in Chicago, in 1959
Empire Today specializes in carpets, flooring and window treatments, and was founded in 1959 in Chicago – the same as a few other major home improvement chain stores in the country. The company is headquartered in Northlake, Illinois, and operates about 70 locations throughout the country.
A decade ago, the company implemented an environmental program through which all the carpet removed by Empire Today installers is recycled instead of being thrown away. Since the program started, millions of pounds of carpet and padding have been recycled.
8. Floor & Décor – founded in Atlanta, in 2000
Floor & Décor is a relatively new home improvement chain store, founded in 2000, in Atlanta, Georgia. However, the company already operates 100 warehouse format stores and sells through its online platform.
The company, which became public in 2017, employs almost 3,700 people. Its focus is on quality hard surface flooring, including tiles, wood, laminates and stone flooring products, but also home décor accessories. Its free design services are very appealing to customers.
9. Pacific Sales – founded in Richfield, Minnesota, in 1960
Now a subsidiary of Best Buy, Pacific Sales operates over 200 locations throughout the country, providing a wide variety of appliances, home electronics, and other home improvement products. The retailer is also present in Canada and Mexico.
The company, founded in 1960, is headquartered in Richfield, Minnesota. Its focus on electronic equipment, from appliances, TVs and home theater systems to smart home products, wearable technology and health and fitness accessories, makes it relevant for today’s consumer.
10. Harbor Freight Tools – founded in Los Angeles, in 1977
Harbor Freight Tools specializes in discount tools and equipment and was founded in 1977, in Los Angeles, California. The company, which employs over 20,000 people, operates in 1,000 locations throughout the country. One of the company’s strongest points is its range of quality, inexpensive, in-house tool brands.
What’s your favorite shopping destination before starting a home improvement project? Let us know in the comments!