The tornado that created an iconic brand – Opus Magnum
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The tornado that created an iconic brand

Weather phenomena such as tornadoes don’t often come up in business school discussions about strategy and branding.  But a tornado that hit Roseville 30 years ago this week indirectly led to the rise of one of the Twin Cities’ most prominent companies.

company logos from 1966 and 1983

company logos from 1966 and 1983

The tornado that hit the Har-Mar Mall on June 14, 1981, killed one person and injured dozens of others.  It caused severe damage to a store called Sound of Music, which sold stereos and other household electronics.  As reported in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, the merchandise that could be salvaged from the wreckage was put on sale and promoted as a “Best Buy.”

Two years later, owner Richard Schulze changed the name of his company to Best Buy, and it has become one of the largest consumer electronics companies in the United States.  A decade ago, Schulze donated $50 million to the University of St. Thomas to create the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship.   Part of the Opus College of Business, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship building opened on the downtown Minneapolis campus in 2005, providing classrooms, faculty offices, reception areas, and space for start-ups to begin their business operations.

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