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Company History

In 1935, long before it was common for women to work outside the home, Kessler Sales & Distribution got its start from a rather unlikely source -- Rae Kessler, a first-generation Russian immigrant. Mrs. Kessler's husband, Morris, was a plumber who rented space to store his equipment and supplies. One day in 1935, while Morris was working at a job site, a pedestrian happened by the storefront space and noticed a used radiator in the window. He went inside to inquire if it was for sale. The enterprising Mrs. Kessler made the sale, and decided to capitalize on the opportunity, founding what was then known as Kessler Plumbing & Heating Supply Company in Paterson, N.J.

Over the next 40 years, the company operated as a traditional plumbing supply house in the Paterson area. Because of the city of Paterson's unique designation -- it was the nation's first planned industrial city, built around the 77-foot-tall waterfall called the Great Falls of the Passaic -- it was home to numerous textile mills and manufacturing facilities. These operations provided a strong foundation for Kessler's business during the early years.

Morris and Rae Kessler's son, Robert "Bobby" Kessler, joined the business after returning from active duty as a belly gunner on a B-17 during World War II, and went on to become president of the company in 1954. He had a keen eye for real estate and was responsible for moving the company from its original location to a 48,000-square-foot facility several blocks away.

In the summer of 1975, Bobby Kessler began the process of moving away from the traditional contractor-based wholesale business and towards the role of a business-to-business master distributor. The company, by then known as Kessler Industries, began reaching outside its core New Jersey market to serve wholesalers in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In the ensuing years, it expanded to serve the entire Boston to Baltimore corridor. Between 1975 and 1990, the company systematically divested itself from contractor-direct sales to the point that it was only servicing approximately a half dozen large, local construction contractors. Recognizing that for its growth plans to continue it needed to eliminate the possibility that customers would view Kessler as potential competition, the company terminated its relationship with those contractors in 2001. That completed Kessler's transition to become a full-time, full-service, wholesale-only master distributor.

In recent years, to better service customers and accommodate its continued growth, Kessler opened a series of distribution centers in key markets around the U.S. In the later part of 2002, Kessler opened its first satellite location in Clinton, IL, followed by new facilities in Dover, NH (2004), Shelby, OH (2005) and Ardmore, TN (2007). 2008 was a very busy year for KSD as it opened two new distribution centers in Macon, GA and Hattiesburg, MS and relocated it's corporate headquarters and NJ regional DC from Paterson NJ to a 300,000SF facility located in Woodbridge, NJ. In November 2009 we moved our Macon operation north about 100 miles to Tucker, GA where the company goes to market thru the longtime and well established stocking rep Lindstrom & Associates. In the fall of 2011, KSD opened up in Kansas City, MO followed by Ennis, TX (just south of Dallas) in the spring of 2012. All total - KSD fields in excess of 1 million square feet of warehouse space.