For many retailers throughout the western United States, Jensen Distribution Services is their lifeline, supplying them with more than 65,000 items with pinpoint accuracy and on-time delivery. The wholesale distributor has been a fixture in the West for more than 130 years, and has seen five generations of the Jensen family lead it to greater success with each passing year. As a member of the fifth generation of family leadership of the company, President and COO Micah Dunlap says the scope of Jensen Distribution Services’ operations has changed a lot, but the company’s main goal has remained the same. 

“We’re all out there just trying to get our customers the best pricing and the best deals that we can,” she says. 

The company’s roots date back to 1883, when Danish immigrant O.C. Jensen opened a hardware business in the territory that is now Washington. Over the years, the company grew steadily through organic expansion as well as some significant acquisitions. In 1958, for example, the company purchased the Spokane, Wash., branch of Marshall Wells, and in 1981 it purchased Seattle wholesaler Pacific Marine Schwabacher, which at the time was the largest wholesaler in the Northwest. 

Home Products International (HPI), with its HOMZ brand, offers simple, smartly designed home organizational solutions that make life a little easier and a lot nicer for its customers, the company says.

It specializes in the design, marketing and manufacture of quality, innovative housewares products. “We are a manufacturer and marketer of storage and organization products and garment-care products servicing a broad range of retail and B2B customers,” CEO George Hamilton explains.

As a distributor, Grainger faces heavy competition. Its customers can buy much of what it sells from other companies. But Grainger has created a legacy of success by building strong customer relationships thanks to a team of highly engaged employees who believe in providing exceptional service.

Founded in 1927 in Chicago, Grainger has grown to be North America’s leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products serving businesses and institutions. Its catalog offerings include everything from motors, lighting, material handling and fasteners to plumbing, tools and safety supplies. The company’s revenue mostly comes through business-to-business sales rather than consumer sales. 

Today, the company has more than 22,000 global employees and a presence around the globe that includes 400 U.S. facilities. It also has operations in Asia, Europe and Latin America. In 2013, the company had sales of $9.4 billion. Additionally, Grainger is the 15th-largest e-retailer in North America, according to Internet Retailer, with approximately $3 billion in online sales.  

The old adage says the only constant in life is change. Change is also necessary for businesses to evolve and grow. Sonepar USA, a leading electrical supplies and services provider, embraced this fact of life recently when it welcomed a new leader into the role of president and COO this year. Tony Burr, a veteran of the European electrical wholesaling industry, began his post at Sonepar USA on Jan. 1, 2005.

When Overstock.com first hit the Internet scene in the spring of 1999, the concept of liquidating excess inventory through an e-commerce website was still in its infancy, and Overstock.com was one of the few players in existence.

While Overstock.com can claim its role as a pioneer for e-commerce, it certainly isn’t alone anymore. There are thousands of online retail sites the Salt Lake City-based company must compete against these days, ranging from cyber extensions of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Bestbuy.com, all-encompassing department store-style websites like Amazon, auction sites like Ebay, or specialty niche online stores like Etsy.

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