History of Wayne Pipe & Supply, Inc.
For over 120 years, Wayne Pipe & Supply has been a thriving industrial and plumbing distributor. By listening to our clients, we have adapted to changing industry trends and kept our roots grounded in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Our company is privately owned by fewer than 100 shareholders and governed by a board of directors. Steady leadership has grown our business by meeting customer needs. Believing that our business is about people, we have consistently employed second- and third-generation families who have developed a culture of strong pride and loyalty to our company.
The Atlantic Refining Company of Cleveland, Ohio, sent Mr. Hayner to Fort Wayne, Indiana to open a store to sell oils and grease. At that time, many Fort Wayne factories depended on steam engines for power and the men who ran the engines depended on stores that supplied materials needed to maintain the engines. In 1896, Fort Wayne Oil & Coal began as one of the first outlets for oils and grease, lubricating devices, packing and allied items for steam engines.
Our first CEO, E.W. Puckett, came to Fort Wayne six years later in 1902 and convinced many local businessmen to pool resources and buy out the store. They incorporated our business and renamed it Fort Wayne Oil & Supply Company. The headquarters was located at 220 East Columbia Street and continued to stock oils, grease and belting, but quickly added valves, fittings, transmission materials, tools and other industrial products to inventory for the growing industry.
Our company began to establish several connections throughout the country with leading manufacturers of machinery, pumps and allied products for factories and mills. The demand for industrial equipment grew, which necessitated that the company move in 1904 to a larger space at 108 West Columbia Street.
Listening to our customers, our company identified a need for plumbing supplies. In 1905, Baltes Supply Company was purchased and organized as P & H Supply Company. This newly organized unit of Fort Wayne Oil & Supply Company soon became identified with high-quality plumbing supplies, which were carried in plentiful quantities to meet demands.
The company continued to grow, adding locations at 225-227 East Columbia Street in 1907 and 229 East Columbia Street in 1914. In 1916, a large warehouse was constructed at the corner of Clay and Columbia streets to store the massive stock of steel pipe under a protective roof and also to provide space for boilers, radiators and pipe covering.
By 1920 the company began to carry bathroom fixtures and in 1925 changed its name to Fort Wayne Pipe & Supply Company. The word “oil” in the previous name had become misleading, as over the years very little oil and grease was being sold through industrial distributors.
In 1936, a five-story building was purchased and remodeled at 101 East Columbia Street in an effort to keep up with customer demand. By1956, a modern one-story office, showroom and warehouse facility was built on five acres of land at 1815 South Anthony Boulevard; the site remained our headquarters for over half a century.
The company’s name was shortened to Wayne Pipe & Supply, Inc. in 1969 as a result of purchasing our first computer system. There were limited characters that could fit into the spacing on the new computer, so we shortened our name to make it work.
Continuing to expand, we completed a 10,000 square foot building addition in 1995. By 2004, a bar-code inventory system was put in place to increase efficiency and accuracy in filling orders and receiving materials. In 2006, Wayne Kitchen & Bath Works was established as a division of Wayne Pipe & Supply to align with our growing residential building and remodeling clientele.
In October 2009, our company relocated to a newly constructed, 48,000-square-foot facility at 6040 Innovation Boulevard. The move allowed us to create Wayne Kitchen & Bath Works, a state-of-the-art showroom for our expanding residential customer base. The showroom allows customers to view and experience a vast selection of the latest kitchen and bath products. Unlike big box stores, many of our displays are plumbed and operational for the ultimate testing experience.
The Innovation Boulevard location provides easy access to major interstates for efficient and cost-effective deliveries to customers. Our fleet of six trucks offers free delivery to our customers within a 100-mile radius of Fort Wayne.
The associates of Wayne Pipe & Supply consider it an honor to hold the trust of our clients and to call the Fort Wayne community our home. We also pay homage to the legacy that our company leaders have worked hard to provide. It is a shining example to what hard work and care for customers can mean to future generations.
Wayne Pipe & Supply Chief Executive Officers:
1902 E. W. Puckett
1929 C. J. Stier
1951 E. J. Trier
1968 James M. Wilson
1983 Thomas J. Lapp
2004 James S. Wilson
2014 Anthony (Tony) B. Tranquill