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A rich tradition of entrepreneurship combined with Memphis’ business climate produces a long and diverse list of companies calling Memphis home. “Home-grown” companies like FedEx and AutoZone started small and discovered that Memphis is a nurturing place for talent and business growth.
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FedEx, Memphis’ largest private employer employing 31,000 people and ranked 63rd on the 2013 Fortune 500, moved its corporate headquarters to Memphis from Little Rock, AR in 1973.
Memphis was selected for its geographical center to the original target market cities for small packages. In addition, the Memphis weather was excellent and rarely caused closures at Memphis International Airport. The airport was also willing to make the necessary improvements for the operation.
In 1978, Federal Express Corporation was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. FedEx has evolved and grown as a company, originally a package courier, to a highly diversified entity offering an array of services through its family of companies.
In 2005, International Paper decided to relocated its global headquarters to Memphis. International Paper has significant global businesses in paper and paper distribution, packaging and forest products, including building materials. This Fortune 500 company has operations in nearly 40 countries, employs approximately 70,000 people worldwide and exports its products to more than 120 nations.
Sales of almost $26 billion annually are derived from businesses located primarily in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Canada. International Paper employs almost 2,200 people in the Memphis area.
AutoZone is a Fortune 500 retailer and distributor of automotive replacement parts and accessories. The chain opened its first retail store in Forrest City, Arkansas on July 4, 1979. Their stores carry an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks, including new and remanufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products.
AutoZone has more than 5,000 stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, Mexico and Brazil. AutoZone employs over 70,000 people globally including nearly 1,500 employees in the Memphis metro area.
ServiceMaster Consumer Services has their operational headquarters and headquarters for ten of their corporate divisions in Memphis. ServiceMaster provides a wide range of services from lawn care, pest control, home cleaning, inspections and warranties to disaster recovery, furniture repair and plumbing services.
ServiceMaster employs about 2,100 people in Memphis and produces an annual gross revenue of approximately $3.1 billion. ServiceMaster ranked 678 on the 2013 Fortune 1000 list.
The ServiceMaster divisions located in Memphis include Terminix International, American Home Shield, Merry Maids Corp., TruGreen/Chemlawn, ServiceMaster Clean, Furniture Medic, and AmeriSpec.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital was founded by entertainer Danny Thomas and opened in 1962 in Memphis, TN. It is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of catastrophic diseases in children, primarily pediatric cancers. The hospital recently completed a five-year $1 billion expansion that increased its research efforts and doubled the size of the its campus. The hospital’s operating costs are approximately $1 million per day. St. Jude employs about 3,500 people from the local Memphis area.
Ducks Unlimited, a world leader in wetlands conservation, is a non-profit organization with 750,000 members and over 11 million acres conserved. Ducks Unlimited, Inc. moved its headquarters to Memphis in 1992 from Chicago. Currently the organization has over 47,000 volunteers nationwide and 130 local employees from the Memphis area.