Harbor Freight Tools was founded in 1977 by Eric and Allan Smidt in North Hollywood, California. The original location was a very small building, with the name Harbor Freight Salvage. As the company expanded and grew, Eric became CEO and changed the name in 1985.
Today, Harbor Freight Tools has more than 700 locations in 47 states, as well as an eCommerce site. From the original two employees, the company now has more than 17,000 full time employees. US General, another mail order tool supplier, was acquired in the mid-1980’s. The company now has headquarters in Camarrillo, California.
Harbor Freight Tools is a discount tool supplier, as well as offering other kinds of equipment, depending on the location, such as farm tools. The company sells many of its own in house store brands such as Chicago Electric, Portland, and Earthquake.
The coronavirus of 2020 has been a crash for some businesses and a boon for others, such as Harbor Freight. Long lines and empty shelves for facemasks, an item Harbor Freight usually stocks, along with bottled water, and packaged snacks.