Wolseley plc, Reading, England, parent company of Ferguson Enterprises, acquired wholesaler Parnell-Martin Management LLC, based in Charlotte, N.C., in December. Also in December, Newport News, Va.-based Ferguson acquired R Supply Co. based in Reno, Nev., in a stock transaction.


Parnell-Martin distributes plumbing and hydronic heating supplies from 17 locations across Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

According to Wolseley, Parnell-Martin had sales of $93 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2003, and net assets, excluding net debt, of $34.9 million at that date. Parnell-Martin was ranked No. 57 in SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES' 2004 Premier 150 list of wholesalers.

This acquisition will increase Wolseley's market share in the region and will enable Parnell-Martin to benefit from access to Ferguson's distribution centers, Wolseley said in a statement.

John L. George, who has been executive vice president of the company for more than 30 years, has been named president and general manager of Parnell-Martin. Steady Cash, who had been the company's chairman, CEO and president, told SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES he will remain there on contract for another couple of years to help with the transition. Cash has been with Parnell-Martin more than 40 years. His father-in-law, Ed Martin, was one of the company's co-founders.

Cash said that all 17 Parnell-Martin locations, half of which have showrooms, will remain open and continue to operate under the name Parnell-Martin.

“I think we will keep right on trucking,” Cash said. “The company has been growing at a consistent rate for 40 years. This will help the company grow even faster.”

Currently, all plans are for Parnell-Martin to coexist with Ferguson locations as a sister company, said Larry J. Stoddard, senior vice president/branch operations, Ferguson Enterprises. “We feel two brands in the market is a positive for our customers.”

“We have no plans other than to grow and develop the Parnell-Martin name and business model,” Stoddard said. “We plan to be able to give them access to some of Wolseley's assets in the United States to further enhance their ability to serve their customers.”

Parnell-Martin will report to Wolseley, he said. There are no plans at this time to change Parnell-Martin's IT systems to what Ferguson is using, but when Wolseley converts to a new system throughout North America, those plans would include Parnell-Martin, Stoddard said.

R Supply

Ferguson announced its acquisition of R Supply Co., based in Reno, Nev., in a stock transaction completed Dec. 6, 2004. The acquisition also includes three other Nevada locations in Carson City, Winnemucca and Elko. Bob Edmonds, president of R Supply, will continue with the business as president and general manager.

Since 1949, R Supply has been a wholesale distributor of plumbing, heating, air conditioning, waterworks, irrigation and industrial tools serving the northern regions of Nevada and California. Employee-owned R Supply developed a reputation for establishing strong working partnerships with its customers, Ferguson said in a statement. R Supply has annual sales of about $36 million and employs 95 full-time associates, Ferguson reported.

“Chip Hornsby, Ferguson's president/ CEO, sent a letter to our employees welcoming them aboard Ferguson,” Edmonds told SUPPLY HOUSE TIMES. “I signed a letter to all my customers telling them our name stays the same and it will be business as usual. The management team remains intact. I stay on as president and general manager. We are now a subsidiary of Ferguson.”

R Supply expects to enjoy the future with an influx of capital, Edmonds said. “Ferguson's acquisition mode and objectives are greater than mine. This will mean job opportunities and transfers for existing employees. One individual at R Supply has already been given a promotion within Ferguson.”

The relationship with Ferguson will enable R Supply to further expand its showroom operations, Edmonds said. “We will continue to use our mobile showroom at a satellite facility. We just completed a 2,800-sq.-ft. high-end showroom in October at our headquarters. Our showroom customers are custom builders, developers and homeowners.”

- Pat Lenius