Built to Last

Working to your Advantage

In 1982, Jim Hoagland
James Hoagland was CEO from 1980 to 1989. He refocused Graybar by moving its corporate headquarters from New York to St. Louis, withdrawing from the low-margin household products distribution business and emphasizing growth in the contractor and communications markets.
, a second-generation employee and then Graybar President, moved the company’s headquarters
1982 Graybar relocates its corporate headquarters from New York to St. Louis.
to St. Louis, after being based in New York for more than half a century. Hoagland chose St. Louis because of its cost advantages, central geographic location and quality of life.

In 1984, Graybar developed a zone warehouse strategy and opened its first regional zone warehouse
1984 Company opens first zone warehouse—in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
in Bethlehem, Penn. Today, seven zones and nine service centers help speed up Graybar’s distribution network.

In 1987, Graybar implemented a mainframe computer
Graybar increased its investments in desktop terminals and other new technologies beginning in the 1980s.
system from Honeywell Bull, the first enterprise-level technology platform for the organization. By the mid-1990s, the company developed an extensive library of online training programs, began using personal computers to improve productivity and even established its first website.

The late 1990s were marked by rapid growth, fueled by the dot-com boom. But by 2000, the economy began to slow, dramatically affecting Graybar’s business. Graybar’s earnings sank to a 21-year low in 2003, Graybar’s then Chairman, President and CEO Bob Reynolds
Reynolds was with Graybar for 40 years, including nearly 12 years as Chairman, President and CEO. During his time as CEO, Reynolds successfully led Graybar through times of economic prosperity and recession, strengthened the company’s financial condition and invested in technology to prepare the business for future growth.
decided to make a bold investment in the long-term health of the company. He and the company’s board of directors decided to dedicate $100 million toward an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform designed to improve business operations and revitalize the company’s business.

Today, this system supports virtually every business process at Graybar. Better yet, the company experienced its three most successful years in the history of the company from 2006-2008.

In 2009 and 2010, Graybar expanded its online presence into social media, opening new channels for our customers to interact with us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+. In September 2012, Graybar started its first blog, posting articles that are relevant to energy savings, lighting, Graybar PowerSmart, Graybar ESP for contractors and the Industrial markets.

In 2012, Kathleen Mazzarella
Kathleen Mazzarella, Graybar's 11th President and CEO.
became the first woman to lead Graybar. Her current focus for the company is all about specializing in customers, driving profitable growth and preserving Graybar’s employee ownership structure.

In 2014, Graybar celebrated 145 years of the company’s original founding as well as 85 years of employee ownership.

On April 1, 2015, Graybar acquired Advantage Industrial Automation, a leading control and automation solutions provider with robust engineering, technical and system design capabilities based in Duluth, Ga.

From our humble beginnings as a small shop in Cleveland to the multibillion-dollar organization Graybar has become, our philosophy of working to the advantage of our customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders and communities continues to withstand the test of time.

As we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2019, stay tuned for the next chapter in The Graybar Story. If you have a media or interview request please contact our Corporate Communications Department.

To view the history of the Graybar brand, click here.