Like most Americans in the 1930’s, Harold Eggleston was working hard to provide for his wife and three children. While visiting an electrical supplier to buy parts for his radio repair service, Harold met the owner of Acme Neon Accessory who wanted to open a Grand Rapids Michigan branch. Never one to pass up an opportunity, Harold agreed to manage the branch. In 1937, Wholesale Electric and Neon Supply Company (yes, we used to answer the phone this way) was born.
In the early 1950’s Harold’s son, Harold Jr. (JR), had the idea of a “warehouse on wheels”. Every week JR would load up one of the trucks and make his way through the Midwest, stopping at every sign shop he could find. When the truck grew empty, JR would head back to Grand Rapids, fill it back up, and pick up where he left off.
The “warehouse on wheels” system was so successful that by the 1960’s JR had grown the business enough that Wensco needed another warehouse. This led to the purchase of LaSalle Sign & Artist Supply in Detroit. In 1969 we shortened our name to WENSCO, much to the relief of the receptionists!
In the following years the sign industry continued to grow. By 1996 we had outgrown our warehouse space and in July built a 25,000 square foot warehouse and office space in Belmont Michigan, just outside of Grand Rapids. That same year we moved from Oak Park Michigan to Livonia, and moved our Davenport Iowa branch to a larger facility.
JR went to be with his Lord in July of 2014, but his legacy lives on. His daughter, Judy Nelson, is President and CEO, and continues growing the company. Today, Wensco maintains large inventories at locations in Grand Rapids and Farmington Hills, Michigan, Chicago, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, supplying companies with sign supplies and a wide range of other products and services. And you should see that fleet of trucks today! At last count there were twenty, still delivering products to a diverse list of customers, far and wide.