Thomas Stemberg, a former grocery executive who founded Staples, passed away Friday, October 23, at home in Massachusetts, according to published reports. Stemberg was 66.
According to a history on the Staples website, former supermarket chain executive turned entrepreneur Stemberg was working on a business proposal over the Fourth of July weekend when his typewriter ribbon broke. Because of the holiday, local suppliers and stationery stores were closed. After driving from store to store and never finding the correct ribbon, he came to the conclusion the world needed a supermarket for office products.
The initial Staples store opened on May 1, 1986, the company noted.
After serving as Staples CEO through 2002 and chairman until 2005, Stemberg left the company and joined the venture capital firm of Highland Capital Partners in 2005 as a general partner.