Robinson Supply, Fall River, Mass., a wholesaler with six locations, is celebrating 50 years of service to the New England area in 2004. The company was founded in 1954 by Rudy Robinson, father of current President Russell B. Robinson.

At first the company operated in the basement and garage of the family's home, with help from Rudy's wife, Dot, and from son Russell during school vacations. In 1956 the company was moved into a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility in Fall River, which remained its headquarters until May 1984.

Russell Robinson joined the firm in 1967. He called on prospective accounts in neighboring New Bedford and Newport, R.I. “I was fortunate in having a father that would let me try new products and ideas without question,” he said. The operation has further expanded to cover Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Boston's South Shore areas between Framingham and Attleboro and the state of Rhode Island.

The headquarters was relocated to a 60,000-sq.-ft. facility at 195 Broadway in Fall River in 1985. The company's in-house computer handles almost every paperwork function including billing, inventory control, and accounts payable.

In 1991, Robinson Supply opened an 18,000-sq.-ft. facility in Plainville, Mass., which was later expanded to 24,000 sq. ft. Its Hyannis, Mass., branch, opened in 1976, was expanded to 16,000 sq. ft. in 1994. The company's 40,500-sq.-ft. facility in Cranston, R.I., which opened in 1995, will be expanded by 18,000 sq. ft. in the coming year. Robinson Supply opened an HVAC branch in Reading, Mass., in 2000, followed by another in East Hartford, Conn., in 2002. All locations also have showrooms.

Today the wholesaler has more than 80 employees, including 10 outside salesmen.