In May 1973, Ron Pappalardo, owner of Jamestown Electric Supply, rented a room on First Street in the old Broadhead Mills building.
Now, 40 years later, Jamestown Electric serves a 25-mile radius of customers for wholesale electric supplies.
Pappalardo, a native of Jamestown, first started working for other suppliers and contractors, but in the 1970s he felt there could be a better way to meet the needs for electrical supplies. So, he decided to try it himself.
Ron Pappalardo, Jamestown Electric Supply owner, is pictured with his sons, from left, Paul and Chris.
P-J photo by Mallory Diefenbach
"I worked there alone for four years," Pappalardo said. During those four years, he ordered electrical supplies, unloaded the truck, pulled wire, answered the phone, invoiced and paid the bills alone. His father would deliver for him or watch the shop while Pappalardo ran up the street to the bank. Papparlardo said he struggled during those years, counted out by competitors from the beginning.
"My competitors didn't think I'd last 40 days," he said.
Soon after he hired his first employee, the business began to pick up. Pappalardo rented room after room until he bought the building on Washington Street. In 1980 he opened up a branch in Corry, Pa., and a branch in Dunkirk in 1981. Both still operate today.
"My employees are my biggest asset by far," he said. "Without them, this wouldn't be happening."
Jamestown Electric Supply is Jamestown's only locally owned wholesale electrical distributor, Pappalardo said.
"What we sell are not retail items," Pappalardo said. "We do not go out and look for business from a retail perspective."
Currently, 15 employees work for Jamestown Electric Supply, and Pappalardo's sons, Paul and Chris, are learning how to run the business.
Pappalardo wants to thank the community for its support during the last 40 years.
"The people we deal with are more than customers," he said. "They are good friends, and we are grateful to them."
Jamestown Electric Supply can be found at 2211 Washington St. in Jamestown. It can be reached at 664-2618 or firstname.lastname@example.org.