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History

WinWholesale Inc. is a leading supplier of residential and commercial construction, and industrial supplies and materials to a diversified customer base. Since its founding in 1956, the company has provided enterprising entrepreneurs the opportunity to be an owner and operate their business as part of the Win Group of Companies. WinWholesale is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

In the Win Group of Companies are companies conducting business-to-business wholesale distribution of plumbing and heating supplies; hydronics systems; industrial pipe, valves and fittings; heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; electrical equipment; industrial and commercial fastening hardware; waterworks and utility supplies; domestic, commercial and industrial pumps; and irrigation and landscape supplies.

WinWholesale’s vision is to create loyal, profitable customers by offering them superior solutions for their everyday needs and unique challenges.

The company’s mission is five-fold:

  1. Provide customers with The Win Customer Experience
  2. Provide enterprising wholesalers the opportunity to run a distribution business
  3. Provide an ethical work environment that will attract and retain employees
  4. Provide distribution services that provide a competitive advantage for local wholesalers and their customers
  5. Provide shareholders with an above-average return on investment

WinWholesale developed the business through many years of experience beginning in the 19th century.

From Our History

In 1875, Nils Olas Nelson founded the N.O. Nelson Mfg. Co. in St. Louis, Mo. The company manufactured and distributed plumbing supplies of all kinds including faucets, water closets, water heaters, valves and fire hydrants.

N.O. Nelson Company realized that it could not effectively be both a manufacturer and a distributor. But unlike competitors, N.O. Nelson decided to concentrate its efforts on distribution rather than manufacturing.

By December 1954, N.O. Nelson, or NONCO as it was known, had a net worth of about $6.8 million, with 22 branches, 20 regional sales offices and 450 employees in 15 states.

Opportunity, disguised as tragedy, came on March 21, 1958, when the Pueblo, Colo., branch of N.O. Nelson suffered a serious fire. Nelson's management decided it would not rebuild, so they discharged the employees and offered to sell the burned inventory for its book value.

Meanwhile, a company called Primus Inc. was founded two years earlier by a group of friends and entrepreneurs in Darien, Conn., led by Dick Schiewetz, Robert Kuhns and Hastings Baker. Through Bob Kuhns, Primus found out about the Pueblo fire and stepped in to help.

Three N.O. Nelson employees offered to mortgage their homes and invest all the money they could borrow if Primus would help them reopen the business. By 8 a.m. the following Monday, March 24, 1958, the new N.O. Nelson Co. of Colorado had been formed, a warehouse leased, a profit-sharing plan established, and the employees were calling on customers. And so, the present-day Winnelson plumbing supply companies were born.

Primus kept majority control of the Pueblo company, but the local employees received all the benefits of their partial ownership. This is a core philosophy still in effect today known at WinWholesale as The Spirit of Opportunity. It means that an entrepreneurial spirit, hard work and the willingness to invest money in one’s own company are rewarded accordingly.

...To Today

Over the years since 1958, the company has added other industries and has grown to more than 560 locations in 45 states. Annual sales exceed $2 billion. In 2005, Primus adopted the WinWholesale name.

WinWholesale acquired Noland Company in 2005, a wholesaler based in Newport News, Va., making it a wholly owned subsidiary. Noland, a wholesaler founded in 1915 by Lloyd U. “Casey” Noland, provides plumbing, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, and electrical and industrial supplies to contractors mainly in the Southeast.

There are more than 470 Win companies with local ownership and operation under the following brands: Winnelson, Winair, Winlectric, Windustrial, Winfastener, Winpump, Winwater and Winsupply. In addition, there are more than 60 Noland locations. WinWholesale also owns Wyatt Irrigation and a majority financial interest in Carr Supply. All of the companies are collectively known as the Win Group of Companies.

Under the WinWholesale business model, the company provides consulting and support services to its locations for wholesaling operations. These services include accounting, payroll, insurance administration, IT, fleet management, marketing, distribution center services and more.