1945 - 1949
The roots of the company go back to the fall of 1945 when E.J. "Gene" Koblas acquired an interest in the United Hardware Distributing Company. Shortly thereafter, he organized a buying group of 100 furniture stores on a membership basis using the name United Furniture Distributing Company. On January 1, 1949, the two enterprises merged to form the United Hardware & Furniture Company.
1952 - 1953
Mr. Koblas issued stock to each of the members in the Hardware Division, while retaining the controlling interest. A year later, the furniture division was sold. Mr. Koblas retained a minority interest and served as the chairman of the board of directors.
1957 - 1967
In October 1957, the dealers exercised their option to buy out Mr. Koblas' remaining stock and established a board of directors (made up of seven member-dealers).
The board elected Elem Peterson as president. He and the board approved the appointment of Newcomb Diehl as general manager. Mr. Diehl served in this position for fifteen years. In this period the company went through tremendous growth and change in sales volume and the number of members and employees.
By the late 60s, the company had outgrown its headquarters in the warehouse district north of downtown Minneapolis. The old complex consisted of one-and-two story buildings and was split by a railroad track.
In 1967, United Hardware moved to a new warehouse and office facility in the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope. The new building had more than 300,000 square feet of warehouse and office space.
1973 - 1979
In 1973 Mr. Diehl retired and the board elected Warren R. Golberg as President and CEO. Mr. Golberg guided the company through the inflation of the 70s and the recessionary period of the 80s. The company continued to grow and prosper and in 1979 needed to move again.
The new corporate headquarters is in a 40,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, Minnesota. The warehouse was enlarged several times and remained at its New Hope location.
1990 - Present
In 1990 United Hardware entered into negotiations with Amdura Corporation. Through the resulting agreement, United Hardware acquired additional hardware stores and a new distribution center in Milbank, South Dakota. The new warehouse facility has 400,000 square feet of space and stocks more than 55,000 items.
In the fall of 1991, the board hired David Heider as President and CEO. Mr. Heider's goals were to maintain the high quality of service United Hardware's dealers have come to expect. Under the Hardware Hank trade name, United Hardware has developed a dominant presence in the upper
Midwest. With the addition of the Trustworthy Hardware Stores, Golden Rule Lumber Centers and non-franchise/independent dealers, United Hardware now services over 1,200 stores in eighteen states.
In 2009 Mr. Heider announced his retirement and accepted a new position with United Hardware. After an extensive search, the board of directors named Steven Draeger President and CEO. Previously, Mr. Draeger had been the Company’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Since succeeding Mr. Heider, he has led the organization through a warehouse expansion and an ERP system implementation.
After more than 50 years of growth, the company is not about to rest on its laurels. The United Hardware management team and employees continue to seek innovative ways to help our dealers increase their share of the ever-growing Do-It-Yourself market.