Following the Dream in ABC Supply Marks 25th Anniversary

Posted March 5, 2007

BELOIT, Wis. – Since its founding here 25 years ago, ABC Supply Co. Inc. has revolutionized the roofing material distribution business.  In the process, the company has grown to be a $3 billion enterprise and the only truly national chain of roofing, siding and window supply stores for the professional contractor.  

The success that is chronicled in the history of ABC Supply is the result of an unwavering focus on a single, simple guiding principle – treat contractors with respect and give them the products and services they need to build their businesses.

Founder and chief executive officer Ken Hendricks spent many of his formative years working with his father, who was a contractor.  While learning firsthand the “ins and outs” of the roofing and siding businesses, Ken also witnessed the lack of respect that his father and his colleagues often received from their suppliers.  That experience – and the lessons his father taught him about the importance of hard work, never giving up, and treating people with honesty and respect – formed the basis of the dream that would become ABC Supply.

By 1982, Ken was already a successful entrepreneur and the owner of two well-established companies – International Roofing and Hendricks Real Estate Properties.  During the economic slowdown of 1982, Ken and his wife, Diane, chose not to sit back and wait for better times to come.  Instead, they chose to take a risk and acquire three supply centers from Bird & Sons Inc.  These centers were the first locations of the new American Builders and Contractors Supply.

Ken and Diane’s dream was to put their contractor customers’ needs before everything else, treating them like the professionals they are, giving them the tools they deserve, and upgrading their image along the way.  They believed there was a better approach to meeting contractors’ needs, and that philosophy is the cornerstone of the dream that became today’s ABC Supply.

Over the next quarter century, ABC Supply would grow rapidly by acquiring struggling distributors and opening new facilities.  Ken also established or acquired affiliate companies that produce some of the roofing, siding, windows and other products that ABC Supply sells.

Today, as ABC Supply marks its 25th anniversary, the company has more than 350 centers in 45 states and the District of Columbia and is the largest wholesale distributor of roofing in the United States and one of the nation’s largest distributors of siding, windows and other select exterior building products.

Following is a timeline of milestones in ABC Supply’s history.

1982 –  American Builders and Contractors Supply founded with three stores.

1983 –  Six stores.

1984 – 25 stores.  ABC Supply is number three on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies.

1985 – 37 stores.  ABC Supply is number two on the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies.

1986 –  47 stores.  ABC Supply tops the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies.  Mule-Hide Products is started.

1987 –  50 stores.  Ken Hendricks is named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Wisconsin.

1988 –  57 stores.

1989 –  72 stores.

1990 –  84 stores.  The ABC Catalog Division is started.

1991 –  90 stores.  Amcraft Building Products is started.

1992 –  94 stores.  ABC Supply celebrates its 10th anniversary and is the 12th-largest privately held company in Wisconsin.

1993 –  97 stores.

1994 –  109 stores.  ABC Supply is rated number eight in the United States on the Distributors Scorecard.

1995 – 126 stores.  ABC Supply is the seventh-largest privately held company in Wisconsin and moves up to number five on the Distributors Scorecard.  The new National Support Center opens in Beloit, Wis.

1996 –  157 stores.

1997 –  205 stores.  ABC Supply is number 321 on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

1998 –  204 stores.  ABC Supply reaches $1 billion in sales.

1999 –  200 stores.  ABC Supply moves up to number 167 on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Largest Private Companies.  The ABC University associate training and education program is established.

2000 –  200 stores.  The ABC Freedom Programs are launched.

2001 –  215 stores.  ABC Supply acquires Vande Hey Roofing Tile Co. and Houk Seamless Guttering & Supply.

2002 –  215 stores.  American Construction Metals (ACM) begins production.  ABC Supply celebrates its 20th anniversary.

2003 –  259 stores.

2004 –  271 stores.  ABC Supply reaches $2 billion in sales.

2005 –  287 stores.  $2.59 billion in sales.  ABC Supply is ranked number 145 on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Largest Private Companies.  ABC Supply enters into a sponsorship agreement with racing legend A.J. Foyt and A.J. Foyt Racing, sponsoring the No. 14 car in the Indy Racing League IndyCar Series.  The company adds patio enclosures to its product offering with the acquisition of Town & Country Industries.

2006 – 349 stores.  ABC Supply moves up to number 117 on Forbes magazine’s list of America’s Largest Private Companies.  Inc. magazine names Ken Hendricks its Entrepreneur of the Year.

2007 –  ABC Supply celebrates its 25th anniversary.