Editor’s Note: Chief Executive is kicking off a new annual tradition this year by celebrating every sizable (over $100 million in annual revenues) standalone company turning 100 in 2023. Check out the rest of this year’s class for tips, insights and, above all else, the inspiration you need to keep going….and going.
MRO PRODUCT DISTRIBUTOR
HQ: Columbus, Ohio
Revenues: ~$400 million
Kimball Midwest’s online product catalog is several hundred pages long. Among the offerings are zinc yellow-plated flange nuts, high-lumen flashlights, heavy-duty muffler clamps, reciprocating-saw blades, metal-cutting lubricants, non-aerosol sprayers, super-alloy drill bits and 32-compartment drawers for fasteners. In all, the company offers more than 55,000 maintenance and repair items to its customers, who enter a fantasyland of availability in the 17th edition of its catalog.
But that breadth is just part of Kimball Midwest’s strength. Another is an enthusiastic workforce that consistently places the company on “best places to work” lists. Their engagement helps explain why Kimball Midwest has prospered to the century mark. “Reaching a centennial is something only a small percentage of companies do,” says CEO Pat McCurdy Jr., the second generation of current-family ownership. “I couldn’t be prouder of every member of the Kimball Midwest team over the years for their contributions and keeping us green and growing to reach this milestone.”
Kimball Co. was founded in Cleveland in 1923. Pat McCurdy Sr. became one of three owners of Midwest Motor Supply in 1950. He became the sole owner in 1978, and in 1984, Midwest joined with Kimball to form Kimball Midwest. From its Columbus, Ohio, base as a regional automotive supplier, Kimball Midwest has burgeoned from a company with just $1 million in sales in 1983 to more than $400 million. Last year, it ranked No. 23 on a trade magazine’s list of America’s biggest industrial distributors, up three spots from 2021.
The company’s presence has spread from Ohio to every corner of the contiguous U.S., now comprising five full-service distribution centers including the most recently opened facility, in Newtown, Connecticut. But that isn’t the whole story. Kimball Midwest’s enduring success can be attributed to a handful of key characteristics. “We employ a meticulous, comprehensive approach for every product that appears on these pages,” Kimball Midwest’s president, Patrick McCurdy III, wrote in the introduction to its product catalog.
He also points out Kimball Midwest’s fundamental devotion to a domestic supply chain. “Eighty percent of our inventory spend goes to
The company’s winning culture extends to “tailored service to each customer” by sales representatives, he said, as well as “superior support” from distribution centers. “This dedication helps us ensure we ship an industry-leading 99 percent of orders the same day they are received and provide next-day delivery to more than 90 percent of our customers.”
In January, the company kicked off a community campaign to celebrate its centenary with the goal of donating a total of $1 million across the country, with employees determining the recipients of Kimball Midwest’s philanthropy.
“For 100 years, America has counted on Kimball Midwest,” says McCurdy III. “We’re an essential partner to our customers nationwide—and a strong foundation for associates to build successful, lifelong careers.”