Did You Know? A Tornado Gave Best Buy Its Name

June 14th marks the 30th anniversary of a tornado that tore through Sound of Music's flagship Roseville store. The company responded with a "tornado sale"-promoted as a "best buy"-and its success prompted a name change to Best Buy in 1983.

The weekend storms that ripped through North Minneapolis and Joplin, Missouri have showed just how destructive and devastating tornadoes can be.

But a tornado actually gave one of Minnesota's largest companies its name.

Best Buy Company, Inc., was called Sound of Music when it first opened a single St. Paul location in 1966.

By 1978, the company had nine stores, and, in 1981, a tornado tore through its flagship Roseville store. June 14th marks the 30th anniversary of that storm.

Sound of Music responded with a “tornado sale” (promoted as a “best buy”) to liquidate its merchandise and cover the costs of repairs.

The overwhelming success of the sale not only made it an annual event; it also prompted the company to change its name to Best Buy in 1983.

That same year, Best Buy opened its first superstore in Burnsville-a move that marked the beginning of “big-box” retailing as we know it today.

Best Buy went public in 1985 and has continued to grow its sales and offerings since. It is now based in Richfield and Minnesota's fourth-largest company based on revenue, which totaled $50.3 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February.