KE Electric Supply celebrates 25th anniversary; parent company marks 50 years in service

This month marks the 25th year of service for Mount Clemens, Mich.-based K/E Electric Supply.

Employees are also recognizing their 50th year of service to contractors in metro Detroit area, since the company was originally founded as a subsidiary of parent company Kuchenmeister Electric Supply Corp., which began operations in November 1962.

The 50/25 celebration kicked off with a surprise champagne toast for employees as they began their work day on Nov. 1. A special 50/25 celebration logo was also rolled out during the morning toasts.

One of the highlights of the 50/25 celebration will be a semi-formal “Grand Celebration” at The Fillmore Detroit on Jan. 12, 2013. Guests of the 50/25 Grand Celebration will include employees, customers and vendors.

In November 1962, Wayne Kuchenmeister founded Kuchenmeister Electric Supply, with his brother Norman in a location that can only be described as an “Old Feed Shed” on the property of the former Mount Clemens Farmer’s Mill.

In 1978, Kuchenmeister Electric Supply built its first new facility adjacent to the original site. 

By the end of 1983 the company had grown substantially and began building a duplicate facility of the original 1978 building. This new structure was added immediately next door, but only after the original Feed Shed was moved to a new location on the property.

The brothers strategically split the company, opening two new subsidiary companies of Kuchenmeister Electric Supply, on October 31, 1988.  All inventory items were counted, split equally and disbursed to the new companies. 

K/E Electric Supply was founded as a result of the split of Kuchenmeister Electric Supply. Shortly thereafter, Wayne Kuchenmeister passed the reins of the company on to his three children Cheryl, Rock and Randall.

In February 1991, the company opened its first branch location in Port Huron, to better service customers, after a local distributor closed its doors. Almost simultaneously, K/E Electric Supply purchased the assets of two more failing distributors, Pine River Electric and Tarnow Electric.  These assets were merged into the growing inventory of the company in February 1992.

Wayne Kuchenmeister continued to work for his children, until one day in 1997 he interrupted a board meeting stating that rather than retire someday, he thought he’d just quit. He had never done that before. The company found this an opportunity for a celebration and threw Wayne a retirement party anyways.

During February 2000, the company moved a large amount of its team to newly rented facilities on Schoolcraft Road in Livonia, as a third location was opened to service “west side contractors” of the Detroit Market.  The Livonia location was a substantial expansion in warehouse space and employees.

Once again, in February 2005, the company expanded by adding a fourth location in Brighton, Mich. when a former competitor left a new void in that market.

In late October 2008, with the Livonia lease up for renewal, K/E Electric Supply seized the opportunity to purchase newer facilities and the branch moved to a 25,000 square-foot Livonia facility.

After 23 years of growth as K/E Electric Supply, Rock Kuchenmeister accepted the challenge to continue the family legacy created by his father, by purchasing the outstanding shares of his former partners. The deal closed in November 14, 2011 and was effective as of Oct. 31, that same year. Today, K/E Electric Supply is owned and operated by Rock Kuchenmeister and his family.

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