Back in 1975, Don and Doris Fisher were enjoying the early success of the store they founded six years earlier – The Gap. That year they splurged $211,000 (equal to $1.07 million today) to buy a home 30 miles south of San Francisco in the town of Atherton. Intended to be their summer home, the couple added onto the estate over the years, growing to about eight acres. Atherton in the mid-1970s was largely a summer escape for people from San Francisco. Since then, the chic suburb has grown to become one of the priciest enclaves in the Bay Area and is home to, among others, legendary former venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and former CEO of Google Eric Schmidt.
The Fisher family has put their longtime home on the market for $100 million. If it sells for even near that amount, it will set a residential sales record for the town. The current highest price paid for a home in the chic town is a 12-acre spread that sold in 2011 for $53 million.
The Fisher estate is one of the 10 largest in Atherton. Don and Doris Fisher purchased the first piece of their property in a probate sale on the day after Christmas 1975. Over the next three decades, the Fishers spent $17.5 million putting together the eight acres the estate is today:
The main home has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a tennis court, a pool, and a pool house on four acres. An adjacent two-acre parcel has a lushly landscaped garden that covers the rest of the property. The estate has four gated entrances and several wells to water the extensive gardens.
The Fishers spent their summers at the Atherton home every year until 2009 when Don Fisher died. The estate was his favorite place in the world. The Fisher property also has a sculpture garden with paths, flower beds, and trees. The couple is well known for being serious art collectors. Proceeds of the sale of the Atherton estate will be distributed to the Doris & Donald Fisher Foundation, according to a family representative.
The Fishers founded the Gap in 1969 after Don Fisher couldn't find a pair of jeans that fit. The couple raised $63,000 to open the store and made a profit of $2 million in the first year of operation. The couple went on to found Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Their retail empire is one of the largest in the world with 3,494 combined stores across the globe as of late July 2021.
Directly or indirectly through various family trusts, Doris and her sons William, Robert, and John own around 43% of the company's shares. At the peak of the company's performance, the Fisher family received $100 million a year in dividends alone. The family is one of the 30 largest landowners in the US, owning 440,000 acres in California alone.