It was a big year for us at Best Buy, complete with a golden anniversary, some flashy new wheels and a whole lot of cool tech. Now, as 2017 starts to unfold, here’s a quick look back at some of the key moments that defined 2016 for us.

Best Buy turned 50

It all started with a small store in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Aug. 21, 1966. It was called Sound of Music back then, but it went on to become Best Buy, a company that now has 1,400 stores and 125,000 employees across North America.

We took the opportunity to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and look ahead to where we’re going next. And Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton designated Aug. 22, 2016, as “Best Buy Company Recognition Day” in honor of our anniversary and contributions to the state.

Geek Squad gets a refresh

As tech changes, we too must change.

In April, Best Buy announced a major brand refresh for Geek Squad, complete with the dispatch of nearly 1,000 Toyota Prius c hybrids to serve as our new vehicles for house calls. The new Geekmobile, boldly bearing an updated logo, better reflects today’s Geek Squad — a nationwide tech-support task force that is continually expanding its services to keep pace with ever-changing technology.

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We added a new player to the team

Speaking of Geek Squad, we added a high-profile, new Agent to the fold this year.

Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, a self-proclaimed nerd, was deputized as an official Geek Squad Agent. He even got his own badge. (It usually takes 18 months for agents to earn one.)

He has since appeared in Geek Squad commercials and on social media, helping out with some house calls along the way.

Spotlighting startups and innovation

In an effort to stay on the forefront of tech innovation even better than ever before, Best Buy launched Ignite, a program that gives customers access to even more of the latest technology from some of the world’s most inventive entrepreneurs and startups in consumer electronics.

The program includes a new Ignite page on BestBuy.com where customers can browse, learn about and buy the newest products from startups. And customers can see some of those products up close at a revamped store in the heart of Silicon Valley.

VR gets real

Virtual reality finally went mainstream in 2016, and hundreds of thousands of Americans experienced it for the first time at Best Buy. Best Buy was the first retailer to host free demos for Oculus Rift and one of the first to host PlayStation VR demos when the highly anticipated headsets first hit the market last spring.

Customers marveled at what is possible. “It’s entirely immersive,” said Aaron Neuhouser, who tried Oculus Rift at our Mall of America store. “It’s incredible to see.

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Building a Tech Home

In August, Best Buy rolled out the welcome mat to Tech Home as part of our 50th anniversary celebration. It was a hands-on display of all things smart home, seamlessly connecting devices and appliances in a kitchen, living room, bedroom, office space and entryway.

Tech Home included top options for Wi-Fi, security, comfort and organization — including gadgets from Samsung Smart Things, NETGEAR, Canon, Philips Hue, Qualcomm Technologies and more. It debuted at the Mall of America in Minnesota, then hit the road to North Point Mall in suburban Atlanta.

‘Holiday Gifting Made Easy’

Tech was at the top of many wish lists this holiday season, and Best Buy was once again the best place to find it all. We even released our Top Tech list of 20 must-have tech gifts for holiday shopping — all handpicked by our experts.

Our “Holiday Gifting Made Easy” ad campaign added a little laughter to the season’s to-do list, with a series of 15 commercials that demonstrated just how wonderfully easy Best Buy’s expert Blue Shirts and Geek Squad Agents make holiday shopping. Many customers waited in line outside our stores for hours — if not days — to score some of the top doorbusters as soon as the doors opened Thanksgiving night.

 

Thanks for visiting the Best Buy Blog in 2016. Be sure to check back in the new year for more Best Buy news, tech tips and lifestyle stories.

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