Muncie’s Knapp Supply is celebrating an impressive 140 years of serving its customers on Sept. 12. The company, which has 32 employees, is marking the anniversary with a big party and its customers and the public are invited. Here are the details:
- When: Friday, Sept. 12
- Where: Knapp Supply office, 420 S. Ohio Ave., Muncie
- Time: noon – 8 p.m.
- RSVP to: [email protected] or (765) 288-1893
We also spoke with David Stanley, Knapp Supply’s director of sales and marketing, to learn more about this storied Hoosier company.
Tell us about the history of Knapp Supply:
“Our founder, Capt. Alexander Knapp, was a Civil War veteran who was wounded in Georgia — in the Battle of Chickamauga, I think. He came back to Union City to open a plumbers’ steam and gas center supply house in 1874. He operated that into the early 1900s, selling everything from black pipe fittings to terra cotta pots and vases. He was sort of diverse in the things he sold.
Then the company moved to Muncie in 1926, because it was more of a hub of industry, and to cater to some of our industrial clients at that time.”
What do you sell today?
“Today, we’re basically a distributor of plumbing supplies, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and industrial supplies.”
With so much longevity, you’re obviously doing something right. What sets Knapp Supply apart from others in the industry?
“From reading and talking to different wholesalers, (our strength is) that we’ve been able to adapt quickly to changing times. Going back to the housing crunch (when houses were built at a slower rate), we were already heavily into the remodeling business at the time so we could roll right over. We were so versed in new construction years ago, we knew what people had installed and we could jump into the remodeling business.
And our employees (are a great asset). We have well over 500 years with the company in these thirty-some people. Many people have been here for many years – myself for 27 years, and our owner for 37 years. Our employees just have a wealth of knowledge.”
And what is it that makes staff stay with the company for so long?
“It’s a family atmosphere and we all get along really well. It’s a good, steady job with fair pay, health insurance, life insurance, all those things that add up – and it’s operated by a local family that takes big pride in helping their employees.”
How beneficial is it to be in Muncie?
“We operate in a daily delivery service of about 125 miles around Muncie. So from that we stretch up toward Valparaiso, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and Bloomington – being centrally located in the Indiana/Ohio area allows us to get material out fast and provide good service.”
Tell us what will be happening at your Sept. 12 customer appreciation celebration:
“Without our customers, we obviously wouldn’t be here. We want to give back to them; we have customers who are the third and fourth generation of families that keep coming here. All sorts of our vendors will set up expositions. There will also be show tents with brand new items so our customers can see new things that are coming out and even talk to some of the people that had a hand in engineering or manufacturing some of these items.
We’re going to have food (lunch and dinner), a band for their enjoyment, free drinks and all sorts of knick knacks that will commemorate 140 years.”
If you plan to attend the celebration, just RSVP to David at [email protected]