At Werner Electric Supply, our story is defined by progress. From our modest beginnings in 1948, we have grown to serve the needs of our loyal customers and valued partners. While 400+ employees now serve in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it all started with just one man in a small shop in Neenah Wisconsin.
From humble beginnings
Werner Electric began with Walter Werner, who opened an appliance store with an electrical contractor shop in downtown Neenah, Wisconsin in the 1930s. Within a few years, Walter realized he needed better pricing and better access to products for his crew of electrical contractors to serve customers. On September 13, 1948, Walter filed papers with the State of Wisconsin to officially found Werner Electric Supply Company.
More progress came in 1955 when Werner Electric partnered with Allen-Bradley, allowing Werner Electric to support the needs of the local electrical industry and the many customers who exclusively used Werner Electric’s products. After Lynn Werner took over the family business as president and CEO in 1961, the company expanded further to a new location in Green Bay in 1973.
A new vision for a growing company
The next wave of progress for the company came in 1984. Lynn T. MacDonald, a former Allen-Bradley branch manager, joined Werner Electric as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, bringing with him a bold vision to expand the company into new territories and serve customers in new markets.
After Lynn Werner’s death, Lynn MacDonald purchased the company from the Werner family in 1986. In the same year, the company began construction of a new 30,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and warehouse in Neenah. Over the next nine years, the company’s growth supported the addition of five new locations serving the majority of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. This success continued, spurring a 10,000-square-foot addition to the Neenah headquarters and an 8,000-square-foot addition to the Green Bay warehouse in 1998.
Acquisitions and new partnerships
In addition to its own company expansion, Werner Electric grew to better serve its customers by bringing existing businesses into the fold. The company acquired Cole Electric Supply in 1999, adding three locations and new services in the automotive and food and beverage markets. This acquisition also increased the number of employees to more than 250 and placed the company in the top 50 electrical distributors in the country.
Two years later, Lynn MacDonald led Werner Electric to a joint venture with Van Meter Industrial to purchase Northland Electric Supply, which is now Werner Electric of Minnesota. This partnership has allowed the companies to bring in more employees to serve customers, including those in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, while continuing to offer volume discounts with many key suppliers.
Werner Electric’s expansions over the years brought services to nearly the entire state of Wisconsin. The final piece of the map—southeastern Wisconsin—was completed in 2005, when the company purchased Best Electric Service, Inc. and began seeing customers from areas such as Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties.
Through economic ups and downs, Werner Electric Supply has done what it takes to firmly establish itself as a key partner to its customers in all areas of business. Through continued product and service expansion and diversification, as well as the expansion of its geographical territory, the company is dedicated to long-term growth as an independent distributor. From small beginnings in the back of a shop to 12 locations and counting, Werner Electric Supply will continue to move forward by putting its customers first.