If you love working with your hands, you most probably have visited Lowe’s for some supplies as you took on various DIY projects. As you walk through the aisles, have you ever stopped to wonder who the genius behind the renowned home improvement store was? Maybe you have also seen the company change its logo a few times but never asked yourself why it kept modifying it. We have researched for you and below is the history of, and story behind Lowe’s logo.
It Started as North Wilkesboro Hardware
Funding Universe gives a detailed account of how Lowe’s came to be after its founding in 1921 by Lucius S. Lowe. Lucius established a small-scale hardware store in North Wilkesboro hence the name North Wilkesboro Hardware. He ran the business for almost two decades until his death in 1940 when his daughter, Ruth, inherited it. However, she was not interested in running the business; therefore, she sold it to her brother, James Lowe. Ruth still found herself running the business when her husband, Carl and brother James went to serve in the US Army during the Second World War. When Carl was injured in 1943, he returned to help his wife operate the business. Carl was a smart businessman who anticipated that after the World War, there would be a rise in construction projects. Therefore, in 1946 he took over 50% interest of the store and sold the remaining inventory. He chose to re-focus the store’s new inventory on home improvement products, thus reorganized the hardware into a wholesaler of building and hardware supplies.
The Founding of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Carl was determined to grow the business; hence in 1947, he opened another store in Sparta, North Carolina. When James returned from the war, and they bought a cattle farm and an automobile dealership, Carl traded Lowe’s stake in the two stores for his in the two other businesses. With that change of ownership in 1952, also came a modification in the name of the company to Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware, Inc. As Carl had predicted, demand for construction materials was on a meteoric rise.
By 1955, he had opened six stores which helped the business increase profits from $4.1 to $427 million between 1952 and 1959. His savvy entrepreneurial knowledge also saw him grow his earnings by buying directly from manufacturers which kept the retailing price low enough to increase the customer base. When Carl died in 1960, the company decided to go public on October 10, 1961, hence was renamed Lowe’s Companies Inc. As per the company’s website, on the first day of trading, 400,000 shares were sold at $12.25. In 1961, for the first time it served 1 million customers and it has never gone below that figure since then. Since it had changed from DIY to pro in 1958, the company felt the impact of the changes as people started gravitating towards DIY.
Customers no longer could afford to have the expensive remodeling done by contractors, and they chose to do the construction projects themselves. As a result, sales kept fluctuating, but they never went low enough to be alarming. Lowe’s had already cushioned itself against such unforeseen circumstances by establishing a financing program that provided loans to builders. Therefore, profits kept growing and reached over $900 million by 1979 by which time the company had opened more than 200 stores. Consequently, it was listed in the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 1979.
Global Expansion and Gaining Recognition
Currently, Lowe’s is a globally-known store, and as Business Insider published in 2018, it has retained its focus on DIY from where it draws most of its customers. Thus in 1982, it earned its first billion dollars which increased to$1.43 billion in 1983 when it sold to more consumers than contractors. By 1984, Fortune Magazine praised it as among the top 100 best company to work for in America, a feat it once achieved in 2001. With such a reputation, it opened its first store in Canada in 2007. It expanded to the Asian market by establishing an office in Bangalore in 2015. The store continues to make changes to its various stores as they strive to drive sales and improve the brand.
Although “Lowe’s” was incorporated the company name in 1952, some sources such as 1000Logos inform us that the business began using it as its logo since 1946. At the time it was merely the name “Lowe’s” in red, and it remained in use until 1965; some sources say that it was in use from 1955 to 1965. In 1965, there was not much modification of the Lowe’s logo except for the color and font. The color changed from red to blue, and the apostrophe was replaced by a square period between “E” and “S.” Also, in the previous logo only “L” was capitalized while in the replacement, all the letters were in upper case, with “L” being slightly bigger than the rest. This logo was in use until 1997.
In 1997, the logo started giving a clue to what the company dealt with using an image of a house and introduction of “Home Improvement Warehouse” tagline. The house emblem was blue with a red and grey outline. Inside the emblem was “Lowe’s” this time in white; below it were the words “Home Improvement Warehouse” also in white. The logo we know of today was introduced in 2008. The house emblem remained, but the shade of blue changed to a much lighter one; also, the outlines were removed. “Home Improvement Warehouse” was also eliminated- maybe they saw the redundancy since the house emblem already revealed what they sold. The white color in “Lowe’s” also was unchanged; the only change in the name was the period between “ E” and “S” which was tweaked from a square to almost resemble a trapezium.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith