Throwback Thursday: A Long-Lewis celebration

In 1987, a regional hardware distributor threw a party to celebrate its centennial achievement.

From the July 13, 1987 issue of National Home Center News.

Long-Lewis Hardware Company celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1987, and National Home Center News, the forerunner of HBSDealer, attended the party at the Birmingham Civic Center. During a 16-hour period, Long-Lewis gave away $100 every 15 minutes to dealers in attendance at its buying market. Total giveaway: $6,400.

And at a party to cap off the event, attendees consumed 600 pounds of shrimp and a four-tier cake.

It was a period of optimism for the regional hardware distributor. The company was investing heavily ($100,000) in a computerization effort, and annual sales were up a record-breaking 9% for the year to $17 million.

“In an area where Moore-Handley, Ace Hardware, and Cotter & Company all play strong roles, Long-Lewis has remained successful by carving out and maintaining a strong position as a secondary supplier,” the article wrote.

Long-Lewis was founded in 1887 in Birmingham, originally under the name Bessemer Cornice Works, changing its name after buying Lewis Hardware, a competitor,

As a hardware distributor, the company went on to celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2012, covered by HBSDealer here. But the end of the road came in November 2015, when House-Hasson completed its acquisition of the Birmingham-based company. (Long-Lewis continues to operate a highly successful Ford dealership in Alabama.)

The 1987 article closed with a comment from sales manager A.M. Curly Turner, who described hardware wholesaling as a recession-proof business:  “When a man loses his job, the first thing he does is start to fix up around the house. He does it himself, so he goes to the local hardware store.” 

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