Ten Companies That Almost Weren’t: Front Page

By Minyanville Staff  DEC 11, 2009 8:00 AM

What if Ben & Jerry's had made bagels instead of ice cream?


Not every great company is launched on the strength of in-depth market research or a sturdy business plan. In fact, some of the biggest and most beloved brands out there are really only happy accidents of history. Take Ben & Jerry's. The two friends who launched the company are so blessed with ice-cream making skills that it's hard to imagine them producing anything else, let alone the very different product that initially caught their interest. Glen Bell of Taco Bell fame started his restaurant business selling hot dogs. And the company that has created most of our favorite toys, including classics like GI Joe or Transformers, once only dealt in fabric remnants and sensible school supplies.

Here, we look at 10 companies with surprising back stories. These businesses started down one path, but changed direction to become trailblazers in their category. Click on a would-be product below to get started.

No positions in stocks mentioned.

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