Gary Hoover

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gary Hoover
Born (1951-03-19) March 19, 1951 (age 66)
Lafayette, Indiana, United States
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Alma mater University of Chicago
Occupation Chairman & CEO at
Bigwig Games

Gary Hoover (born March 19, 1951) is an American businessperson who founded Bookstop, an American bookstore chain, and The Reference Press, which became Hoover's business information company. He is the CEO of Bigwig Games and entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hoover was born in Lafayette, Indiana, the third of the three children of entrepreneur Wilbur C. and substitute school teacher Judith. He grew up in Anderson, Indiana, a General Motors factory town, graduating from Madison Heights High School in 1969.[2]

As a child, Hoover displayed an interest in business. He invented business games to play with friends. At the age of 12 in a quest to better understand General Motors he discovered and subscribed to Fortune Magazine.[3]

In 1969, Hoover entered the University of Chicago. There, he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. Four of his teachers, including Milton Friedman, later won Nobel Prizes.[4][5]

Business career[edit]

After graduating from college, Hoover spent two years as a security analyst at Citibank, New York, covering the retailing industry, followed by two years as a buyer for Sanger-Harris, the Dallas division of Federated Department Stores. In 1977 he joined the May Department Stores Company in St. Louis, where he spent five years in tasks ranging from financial analysis and planning to shopping center development and marketing.[6]


In 1982, Hoover moved to Austin, Texas, after selecting it as the first city to launch his idea, Bookstop, the book superstore. Over seven years he and his colleagues developed the first chain of book superstores. In 1989 Bookstop was the United States's fourth-largest bookstore chain, with a total of 22 stores in four U.S. states.[7] Laura Elder of the Houston Business Journal wrote that the chain "pioneered the superstore concept".[8] Hoover himself states that "While the execution of the idea was difficult and complex, the core idea was not. We simply took the retail business model of Toys R Us — giant single-category stores with large product selections and low prices — and applied it to books."[9] Bookstop sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million in 1989.[1][10]


In 1990, Hoover, Patrick Spain, and the same friends who helped start Bookstop started The Reference Press to publish Hoover's Handbook, an annual guide to big companies and other enterprises. The Reference Press would become Hoover's under the leadership of Hoover's friend Patrick Spain. Hoover stepped down as Chief Executive Officer in December, 1992 to return to retailing, but remained on as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In 1999 Hoover's, Inc. began trading on the NASDAQ until it was purchased in 2003 by Dun & Bradstreet for $117 million.[11][12]

TravelFest Superstores[edit]

In 1994, using capital he had raised in a private placement and from small investors in Texas, Hoover opened the first of three TravelFest stores in Austin. The superstore concept lost a major source of revenue when major airlines cut back the commissions they paid to travel agents. The stores were subsequently closed.[13]


In 2005 Hoover founded StoryStores, to build a chain of for-profit museums. The first, RoadStoryUSA, a museum dedicated to the American road and all things connected with it. During the 2008 recession the project was aborted.[14]

Bigwig Games[edit]

In 2012 he started Bigwig Games, to produce business and social science strategic simulation games for the iPad and other tablet devices.[6] Hoover is the CEO and chief game designer of Bigwig Games. In August, 2014 the company launched its first game, Restaurant Bigwig, for the iPad.[15][16]

Board Memberships[edit]

From 1988 to 1993 Hoover served on the Board of Directors of Whole Foods Market.[1]

Hoover serves on the University of Chicago Alumni Board of Governors,[17] the University of Texas School of Information Advisory Council,[18] and the XADS Advisory Board.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Hoover lives in Austin, Texas with a library of over 55,000 books.[15]


In 2008, Hoover received a distinguished alumni award from the University of Chicago.[4] In 2011, he was named one of the 30 most influential people in Austin, Texas by the Austin Business Journal.[20] In 2013, he was inducted into the Anderson Indiana Schools Hall of Fame.[2]


In 2009, Hoover became the first entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.[1] In 2012, he became the entrepreneur-in-residence at the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. He teaches classes through his independent Hoover Academy, and speaks worldwide.[21] Much of his personal energy has gone into igniting entrepreneurial thinking and action in diverse industries worldwide, and he has delivered his message to groups in the United States Canada, Mexico, Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Hoover has mentored hundreds of young entrepreneurs.[1]


In 2001, the University of Chicago opened the Hoover House dormitory, named in honor of Hoover for the gifts of stock in his companies made to the University over the last 20 years.[22]


In 2001, Hoover's book Hoover’s Vision: Original Thinking for Business Success was published by Texere, New York.[23] An updated version of the book re-titled The Art of Enterprise is available on scribd in pdf form.[24]

In July 2017, Hoover's book The Lifetime Learner's Guide to Reading and Learning was published by Assiduity Publishing House, Philadelphia.[25]

Hoover maintains a blog, Hooversworld, and a YouTube channel - hooverbits.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Hoover Joins McCombs School as Entrepreneur-in-Residence" (Archive). University of Texas at Austin. September 9, 2009. Retrieved on April 7, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "ACS Hall of Fame Booklet 2012" (PDF). Anderson Community Schools. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Lessons from Detroit: Gary Hoover on the Auto industry". YouTube. April 25, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Alumni Award Winners 2008". University of Chicago Magazine. August 7, 2008. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ Frost, Wendy (August 11, 2009). "UTSA economists discuss Milton Friedman's legacy at special event". University of Texas at San Antonio Communications News. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "MiniTends 2013 Conference Keynote Speaker – Gary Hoover". Minitrends. Technology Futures, Inc. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Miller, Laura. Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption. University of Chicago Press, September 15, 2008. ISBN 0226525929, 9780226525921. p. 50.
  8. ^ Elder, Laura (16 November 1997). "Barnes & Noble ends self-competition by closing Bookstop store". Houston Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Hoover, Gary. "Two key skills for entrepreneurial thinkers, leaders to have." Austin Business Journal. September 14, 2012. p. 2. Retrieved on April 7, 2014.
  10. ^ Calnan, Christopher. "Gary Hoover likens biz creation to craftsmanship." Austin Business Journal. August 13, 2013. Retrieved on April 7, 2014. "Hoover knows of what he speaks. He founded book superstore Bookstop Inc., which was acquired by Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million,[...]"
  11. ^ "Hoover's, Inc. S-1". SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. 20 July 1999. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Hane, Paula J. (16 December 2002). "D&B to Acquire Hoover’s". Information Today, Inc. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Solomon, Stephen D. (1 February 2002). "My Next Business Few are better than Gary Hoover at identifying big opportunities. Which one of these ideas will he pursue now?". Fortune Magazine Small Business. Fortune. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Hacker, Tom (14 September 2005). "Entrepreneur Hoover describes next venture: Museums". Bizwest. Bizwest Media, LLC. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Egan, John (18 July 2014). "Austin entrepreneur Gary Hoover is launching his 5th startup: Business-oriented iPad games". Austin Culturemap. CultureMap LLC. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  16. ^ Calnan, Christopher (18 August 2014). "Austin entrepreneur releases first of 100 planned business-based games". Austin Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "he University of Chicago Alumni Board of Governors". Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "ISCHOOL ADVISORY COUNCIL". Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "XADS Advisory Board Members". Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "Austin’s 30 most influential". Austin Business Journal. American City Business Journals. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Lorek, Laura (14 August 2013). "Gary Hoover's Entrepreneurial Journey". Silicon Hills News. Silicon Hills News. Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "History of The Hoover House". Retrieved 18 November 2014. 
  23. ^ Hoover, Gary (2001). Hoover's vision : building lasting enterprises. London: Texere. ISBN 1587990598. 
  24. ^ Hoover, Gary. "The Art of Enterprise by Gary Hoover January 2010". Scribd. 
  25. ^ Hoover, Gary (2017). The Lifetime Learner's Guide to Reading and Learning. Philadelphia: Assiduity Publishing House. ISBN 0999114948. 
  26. ^ "Hooversworld - Entrepreneurial Thinking". Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]