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Abt Electronics began in 1936 when Jewel Abt gave $800 to her husband David to start a business. The firm was originally named Abt Radio because it only sold small electronics in its early days. The original location was a small storefront and service department in the Logan Square area of Chicago. Abt Electronics expanded over the years to employ 1100 employees on a 65,000 square feet (6,000 m2) sales floor in Glenview, a suburb of Chicago. By 1955, the store was strictly a showroom, with merchandise kept at a separate warehouse.
1936 - Jewel and Dave Abt opened Abt Radio with $800, located at 2835 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. Abt Radio had a small service department. The store sold small electronics
1953 - Bob Abt (former CEO; died July 23, 2015) began working at Abt Radio part-time and over summers.
1955 - Moved to Logan Square Location at 2858 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Merchandise was kept off-site at the Hollander warehouse. One van made all the deliveries.
1971 - The Abt Family opened a store in Niles, Illinois and kept both locations open for 6 years.
1975 - The Abt fleet grew from one van to four 16' trucks.
1977 - The Logan Square location closed.
1985 - Fire at Abt, the only time that Abt was closed when it was scheduled to be open.
1986 - Abt expanded the Niles location, doubling in size from 12,000 to 24,000 square feet (2,200 m2).
1990 - The Niles store closed on December 9 at 9 p.m.
2017 - Voted the #3 place to work in Chicago Tribune's "Top Chicago Workplaces" 
In 2006 the company built a recycling center which collects the company's used cardboard, plastic and plastic-foam packaging and prepares it to be sold for recycling. The recycling center processes 150 loads of Styrofoam and 200 loads of cardboard per week. Abt recycles 20,000 wood pallets and plastic bags per week.
In 2008, Abt installed two small wind turbines and solar panels on the roof to help reduce energy costs at their store.