Walgreens' parent company also owns the UK's leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer Boots. Like its counterpart across the pond, the British chain of chemists started out with just one location, a small shop at 6 Goosegate, Nottingham, which was opened in 1849 by company founder John Boot and sold herbal remedies concocted by his mother.
Georgia-based pharmacist and morphine addict John Pemberton, who was desperate to cure his addiction, invented an alcoholic drink in the 1860s containing cocaine and caffeine. When Atlanta enacted prohibition legislation in 1886, Pemberton worked with drugstore owner Willis E Venable to create a non-alcoholic variant, which was named Coca-Cola. The drink was first served in Atlanta's Jacobs' Pharmacy on 8 May 1888. The last trace of cocaine in the formula was eventually removed in 1903.
Swedish immigrant John W Nordstrom lucked out in the Klondike Gold Rush, cashing in to the tune of $13,000, around $96,000 (£67,900) in today's money. The plucky entrepreneur made a beeline for Seattle in 1901 and invested the money in a shoe store called Wallin & Nordstrom. The company expanded in the 1950s but didn't become a fully fledged department store chain until the 1960s.
Today, the Walt Disney Company is the world's largest media conglomerate, but its origins are very humble indeed. Back in 1923, Walt Disney created his first Hollywood cartoon film Alice's Wonderland in a small garage behind his uncle Robert's home at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Loz Feliz, Los Angeles.
The world's second-largest airline today, Delta's origins are exceedingly humble. Delta started out in 1924 in Georgia as a crop-dusting operation using just one plane, which sprayed insecticide to combat a boll weevil infestation of cotton crops in the Deep South.
Now one of the world's largest conglomerates, South Korea's Samsung, which encompasses everything from electronics to shipbuilding and insurance, began in the city of Daegu in 1938 when Lee Byung-chull established Samsung Sanghoe, a small grocery store and trading company that sold dried fish, noodles and other groceries.
Entrepreneur Sam Walton made his first foray into retail in 1945 when he paid $25,000, which is $351,000 (£248,300) in today's money, to franchise a Ben Franklin five and dime store in Newport, Arkansas. Buoyed on by the store's success, Walton opened the tiny Eagle department store and then a five and dime in Bentonville, Arkansas before lauching the very first Walmart location in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962.
Enormous Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries has interests in petrochemicals, retail, telecoms, and more, but the business started small. Dhirubhai Ambani and Champaklal Damani founded the enterprise in the early 1960s as a modest import/export company dealing in polyester yarn and spices.
Other major international companies started out modestly enough with a small shop or garage, but Nike trumps them all. The sportswear leviathan was founded in 1964 by college runner Phil Knight and his track coach Bill Bowerman in Eugene, Oregon with just $500, and operated out of the trunk of a Plymouth Valiant, from which Knight distributed Japanese Onitsuka Tiger running shoes.
These days Subway has tens of thousands of locations in over 100 countries but the chain started extremely small in 1965 with just one sandwich shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Pete's Super Submarines. The shop was initially named after co-founder and nuclear physicist's Dr Peter Buck's words to student Fred Deluca: "Let's open a submarine sandwich shop." It did a roaring trade, selling an average of 312 sandwiches a day, and owners Buck and Deluca franchised the concept not long after.
Southwest Airlines came into being on 15 March 1967 and started as a strictly Texas-only airline. Shrewdly, by flying exclusively within the Lone Star State, the airline avoided Civil Aeronautic Board regulations and price controls, enabling it to undercut the competition. The airline added its first routes outside of the state in 1978.
The very first Starbucks was opened at No 1912 Pike Place, Seattle on 31 March 1971 by three University of San Francisco grads and only sold coffee beans. The company stayed super-small until entrepreneur Howard Schultz bought it out in 1987 and embarked on an ambitious expansion plan.
Cardinal Health is one of the world's largest healthcare product distributors. But it wasn't always so flush with money. The company, which was founded in Ohio in 1971, was a minor food wholesaler during its early days and didn't start distributing pharmaceuticals until 1979.
Fast-fashion retailer Amancio Ortega and his late ex-wife Rosalía Mera opened the first Zara store in 1975 in A Coruña in northwest Spain, initially calling it Zorba after the Zorba the Greek. Fast-forward and the Inditex Group of which Zara forms part has thousands of stores in 93 countries and turns over tens of billions of dollars a year.
Amancio Ortega: the Zara founder's journey from poverty to billions
Whole Foods Market co-founders John Mackey and Renee Lawson borrowed money from friends and family in 1975 to set up their first business, a vegetarian natural foods store in Austin, Texas called SaferWay, and were forced to live in it for a time after they were evicted from their apartment. Two years later, the store merged with Clarksville Natural Grocery and Whole Foods Market was born.
Another incredibly successful company that was born in a garage is Microsoft. Originally named Micro-Soft, it was founded by childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen in a garage in Albuquerque, New Mexico on 4 April 1975. The fledgling computer firm started out developing software for the Altair 8800, the game-changing device that sparked the PC revolution.
Apple was born in 1976 in the garage of Steve Jobs' parents in Los Altos, California, where Steve Wozniak worked on the the company's first prototype computer, which Jobs funded by selling his hippie van – so the story goes. Wozniak has admitted that the bulk of the work on the Apple I was done elsewhere and the garage thing is “a bit of a myth”. Still, the tech firm did start out very small.
Now a subsidiary of Unilver, ice cream company Ben & Jerry's started out in May 1978 as an ice cream parlour in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield invested $12,000 to open the store.
Europe's biggest budget airline Ryanair had a very modest beginning. When the Irish carried was established in 1984, it operated just one route, from Waterford Airport in the Republic of Ireland to the UK's London Gatwick. By operating a very 'no-frills' service it undercut the competition. The airline carried 148.6 million passengers in 2020.
Founder Jeff Bezos, now the world's richest person, created the game-changing e-commerce site Amazon in 1994 in the garage of his three-bedroom rented home in the Seattle suburb of West Bellevue. Incidentally, the house (pictured) sold for just over $1.5 million (£1.1m) in 2019.
The UK's number one budget airline, easyJet was founded by British-Cypriot entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou in 1995. The airline was launched with two leased Boeing 737-200 aircraft and started out with just two routes, London Luton Airport to Glasgow and Edinburgh. In 2019, it carried over 96 million passengers.
Like Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, Google operated out of a garage during its early days. The search engine's founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page rented a garage in Menlo Park, California from September 1998 for $1,700 a month courtesy of their friend and future colleague Susan Wojcicki, who was struggling to meet her mortgage repayments.
One of the world's biggest and most valuable companies, Chinese e-commerce and cloud computing giant Alibaba started out just 20 years ago in a tiny apartment. Founder Jack Ma created the firm in 1999 along with 17 friends in his poky pad in Hangzhou.
Entrepreneur Sara Blakely single-handedly developed and financed the shaping hosiery concept she named Spanx, and launched the brand from her Atlanta apartment in 2000, two years after coming up with the initial idea. At first, Blakely handled everything from sales and marketing to accounts. Today, Spanx turns over hundreds of millions of dollars a year and its products are worn by women and men worldwide.
Business networking service LinkedIn is an indispensable tool these days for professionals the world over and boasts over 740 million registered users but, believe it or not, the networking social media firm began in 2002 in co-founder Reid Hoffman's living room in Mountain View, California (pictured).
Facebook has achieved bona fide global domination, but it actually started out in a dorm room at Harvard University. Mark Zuckerberg created the first version of the social media network in his residence halls at the Ivy League institution and launched the site from his dorm room back in 2004 during his sophomore year.
Back in 2007, roommates Joe Gebbia and Brain Chesky were struggling to pay the rent on their San Francisco loft apartment and decided to snap up three air mattresses they could hire out to paying guests. The duo hobbled together a simple website and Airbnb was born. Just 142 years down the line and the site offers millions of lodging options worldwide and floated last year.
The photo and video-sharing social network started out as a side-hustle and was created in 2010 by software professionals Kevin Strysom and Mike Krieger at a rented desk in a shared office in San Francisco that lacked proper heating, so the pair had to wear their coats while developing it. Little did they realise that two years later their bright idea would be snapped up by Facebook for $1 billion (£763m).
Now take a look at some of the most unusual trademark battles