The Company

In 1970 the success story of OBI began with an 870 m² store in the shopping centre Alstertal in Hamburg-Poppenbüttel.

At the end of the 60´s, the founders, Dr. Emil Lux and Manfred Maus, developed an absolutely new business model in Wermelskirchen which had been very successful in the USA for some time and unheard of in Germany, namely the do-it-yourself stores.

Under one roof, these stores offered all ranges of products for do-it-yourself. At that time, the employees of the first 870 sqm large OBI store in the shopping centre Alstertal in Hamburg-Poppenbüttel amounted to 12.

Up until this moment in time tools and nails were obtained only from the ironmonger, paint, and wallpaper from the specialist paint shop and wood from the timber merchant. Now the customers could obtain everything from the OBI store. Promotionally the idea was transferred as „At ironmongers or at OBI.".


Since then and now, there have been the most imaginative theories as to the origin of the name OBI and the beaver belonging to it. It has absolutely nothing to do with an abbreviation, but the „phonetic spelling“ of the French word for hobby.