Marcus: We Couldn’t Start Home Depot Today

Home Depot founder tells Detroit Economic Club "we are in trouble"
Press ReleaseOctober 10, 2013

(DETROIT, MI) – Job Creators Network founder Bernie Marcus today told the members of the prestigious Detroit Economic Club that America has changed drastically since he started The Home Depot – so much that he could not possibly start the successful national company today.

“We started with four stores and a dream, and a small bank believed in us enough to invest,” the 84-year old retired CEO told the luncheon crowd. “With laws on the books like Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank, that banker would be breaking regulations today. The next Home Depot could never get off the ground.”

The son of Jewish immigrants, Marcus grew up in a Newark, New Jersey tenement to become a pharmacist and retail entrepreneur. He co-founded Home Depot and was the company’s first CEO; he served as Chairman of the Board until retiring in 2002. Today, The Home Depot is an international company with 340,000 employees and 2,500 locations in the US alone. Marcus retired in 2002 and no longer serves on the company’s board of directors.

“For the first time in my life, I have real concerns about this country. That’s why I came here today: we are in trouble,” Marcus said. “What has happened to my America? Where did it go? I’ll tell you what happened: regulations. Today government figures out every way to stop entrepreneurs. And, I’ll tell you what, a country that is not supportive of entrepreneurs is not going to succeed.”

Marcus is busy in retirement as a philanthorpist and spends much of his time working with other leading chief executives. In policy discussions, his peers have one common concern: the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform law.

“I talked to business owners, small and large, and they all say Obamacare is a killer,” Marcus said. “These companies are all going to part time because they can’t possibly comply with the law’s employer mandate. And they’re afraid to say anything publicly about it because they know they’ll be vilified.”

“That’s why we started the Job Creators Network,” Marcus said. “To give small businesses a voice in the debate about government policies that hurt the little guy.”


Job Creators Network (JCN) is the voice of real job creators that has been missing from the American debate on jobs and our economic crisis. JCN members talk about paychecks, not politics, helping the public and policymakers understand how to create jobs. For more information, please visit for more information.