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Tom Stemberg (Staples), HBS 1973, started his career in the supermarket industry. By the mid-1980s, out of work and looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity, he stumbled on an idea for a new business--a supermarket for office supplies. At the time, a boom in entrepreneurship was driving demand for office supplies yet small businesses had to rely on expensive and inconvenient "mom and pop" type stores for these. Staples, a kind of supermarket for office supplies, where customers wheel their own carts through aisles of supplies, was born. Staples launched in 1986 and not only created but now leads a thriving retail sector for office supplies, with online services from Staples.com as well as over 1400 Staples stores in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany. In April 2001, Stemberg described his experiences as an entrepreneur.