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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 30,000 people and ranked 58th on the 2016 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 relocate 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 more than 24 countries, employs approximately 56,000 people worldwide, and exports its products to more than 130 nations.
Sales of around $22 billion annually are derived from businesses located primarily in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Canada. International Paper employs about 2,000 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 re-manufactured automotive hard parts, maintenance items, accessories and non-automotive products. Ranked 280th on the 2016 Fortune 500, AutoZone is opening more stores per year than any other retail auto parts chain in the nation.
AutoZone had sales of over $10 billion in fiscal year 2015, and has over 5,000 stores in 46 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Brazil. AutoZone employs 81,000 people globally including nearly 2300 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 produces an annual gross revenue of approximately $2.5 billion and was ranked 816th on the 2016 Fortune 1000 list. ServiceMaster employs over 2,000 people in Memphis and in 2016, announced they were moving their headquarters to Downtown Memphis.
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 is internationally recognized for its pioneering research and treatment of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing overall U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, St. Jude is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. St. Jude is also a leader in research and treatment of life-threatening blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude currently has more than 3,700 employees and in 2015, announced a $7 billion dollar expansion plan that will expand both their patient services and their research efforts.
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 60,000 volunteers nationwide and 170 local employees in Memphis.