Farewell to Aaron & Company
Aaron & Company was a plumbing supplies firm started by my great-grandfather about 100 years ago and incorporated in 1932. And now it is being sold. Unlike the rest of my family I have almost no memories of the business, but being able to talk about it was always a point of pride. Today, with it existing for just a few days more, I wish I had spent more time there as a teenager and adult.
The firm was more than just a business. My great-grandfather started the company, but his son progressively took care of their workers. For decades they all got good pay, full benefits, and everyone's opinion was respected. These are good values many companies refuse to even consider, or if they want to match them, struggle to do so. Yet Aaron and Company has done it for decades.
They also were selling solar equipment in the late 1970s, if not sooner. Considering my career mission of addressing climate change, I find that really awesome.
Note: As more stories and photos emerge I'll be expanding this article.
From an uncle who was the last Aaron family partner in the firm:
Effective May 23, 2022, Aaron & Company will cease to exist as Aaron & Company after roughly 100 years, a few weeks shy of twenty years since my retirement.
It will be sold to Ferguson Supply.
History of Aaron and Company
This was the official history of the company:
Now one of the region's largest plumbing-heating-cooling wholesalers, Aaron & Company began nearly a century ago in New Brunswick, NJ. Founded by immigrant plumber Isadore Aaron in the early 1900's, and incorporated in 1932, the business began serving local plumbers out of Aaron's basement.
Isadore's son, Maurice, took over the supply house, then located at a New Brunswick storefront, and moved it to a larger downtown location in 1950. Maurice Aaron began to expand the company westward, opening branches in Flemington (1961) and Somerville (1970). Headquarters moved to New Brunswick's industrial zone in 1979, where new partners Frank Laudino, Jeffrey Aaron and Gerald Portnoy opened the first Aaron Bath Centers showroom. A second showroom was added later to the Flemington facility.
Under the next generation leadership of Barry Portnoy, Jeffrey Aaron, Frank Laudino Jr., and Richard Laudino, Aaron & Company added a branch in Trenton (1994) and a full showroom branch in Freehold (1996). We opened a new 120,000+ square-foot computerized central distribution center in Piscataway in 1998, where our corporate headquarters is now located. Four years later, Jeffrey Aaron retired. In 2006 we renovated our New Brunswick facility and created a brand new facet to our business, Kitchens. We now offer design services, and an outstanding selection of kitchen cabinetry and accessories. In addition, the plumbing showroom in New Brunswick was renovated and all of the showrooms have been renamed to become: The "Aaron Kitchen and Bath Design Gallery".
In 2010 Aaron & Company acquired S.Franklin and Son in Fairfield, NJ; the 11 Gloria Lane location is Aaron & Company’s most northern location to date. With the S. Franklin acquisition Aaron & Company becomes a commercial HVAC supplier with Sheet metal, Greenheck fans and Reznor.
In 2013, shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Aaron & Company acquires Dickson Plumbing Supply in Brielle, New Jersey. After almost a year of working in a temporary “pop-up” branch due to the extensive damage done to the building due to Hurricane Sandy, Aaron & Company officially opens 1 Union Ave, Brielle NJ in May of 2014.
Today, Aaron and Company employs over 150 people at eight locations including the four that house the Aaron Kitchen and Bath Design Gallery showrooms. We are now considered one of the largest independent wholesale distributors of plumbing, heating, and cooling products in New Jersey.
If anyone has photos or other media related to Aaron & Company, share and I'll add them below.
The logo was designed by my grandmother. It was the official company logo. It was on all signs and trucks at all the locations. It was a source of pride for my mother and I that her effort was used for decades.
This photo of the company catalog taken in autumn of 1958 features my grandfather.
This photo was probably taken in 1979, during the move from downtown New Bruinswick to Piscataway. The sign mentions "solar", meaning my family has been into renewable energy for decades.
The HQ marked by the arrow opened in 1950 and closed when Johnson & Johnson bought the site for its headquarters in the late 1970s. I have faint memories of visiting there as a child.
Another aeriel shot, but no arrow. What's striking is the massive town gas container in the upper left of the neighborhood, something that was common in the older era for cities all over the world.
Tags: family climate-change