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Companies That Started in a Garage: Amazon

Did you know that Jeff Bezos started his company in a garage? You’ve surely heard of a little company called Amazon that sells everything from clothing to kitchen appliances to lava lamps. Oh, and you can buy books there, too. I recently discovered that Amazon is just one of the many companies that got its start in a garage. So I decided that once a month, I’m going to shine the spotlight on a well-known company started in a garage! I hope you enjoy learning the stories behind these companies.

Amazon: The Beginning

With money from his parents, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, started Amazon in the garage of their rented home in Bellevue, Washington, in the mid-1990s. He had an ambitious plan to create an online bookstore and expand from there to sell everything. He set up desks made of old wooden doors and started working on software that would one day make him the richest man in the world.

Success Delivered Quickly

Within its first month, Amazon sold books to people in each of the 50 states as well as in 45 countries. In a matter of two months, sales at Amazon zoomed to $20,000 a week. There was a bell in the first office of Amazon that rang each time a book was sold. Soon, the bell was ringing so often that they had to take it down to remove the distraction.

Today’s Amazon

Amazon’s success eventually took it from Bezos’s garage to a headquarters in Seattle, Washington. The Seattle campus has 40,000-plus employees who work in a collection of energy-efficient buildings in the city.

What Makes a Garage an Excellent Place to Start a Business?

Chances are good that Bezos appreciated the secure shelter his garage provided for the costly electronic equipment he used in his daily work. If you’re thinking about starting a business in your garage, security is just one of the benefits of making your garage the headquarters of your new business.

Whether you’re drawing up plans for an online business, working on a great new invention, or writing a book, a metal garage gives you the quiet and privacy you need to focus on the work at hand. I like the idea of closing the door of the garage for the day and returning to your house until you feel inspired once again.

Set up your business in your garage and you also can enjoy soft breezes while you type, write, make designs, or tinker with a new invention. Just open the main garage door, the side door, or even the window. You’re sure to be more creative in a comfortable environment.

Fun Facts About Amazon

  • Bezos’s original name for his company was Cadabra, but he was persuaded that it sounded too much like the word “cadaver.”
  • The servers Bezos used to operate Amazon out of his garage required a lot of power. If a vacuum or hair dryer was turned on in the house, it would blow a fuse!
  • The first book sold on Amazon, back in April of 1995, was Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter.
  • Amazon’s logo has an arrow pointing from the letter A to the letter Z. This indicates that Amazon sells a wide range of products, everything from A to Z.
  • In the company’s early days, Bezos put orders together for customers himself and drove boxes to the post office to mail them.

I hope you decide to make your garage the site of your new business venture. In the meantime, enjoy my new series, and thanks for reading. – Alan

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