Fostering customer relationships for more than 80 years
Since 1928, employee-owners at Van Meter Inc. have enabled the company – and our customers – to accomplish extraordinary things. We’re proud to be part of a legacy where unparalleled customer service, superior products and solutions, employee ownership and involvement in the community matter most.
In May 1928, just before the start of the Great Depression, The Van Meter Company was founded by R.L. Van Meter and R.W. (Pete) Lemley. They began in a 3,200-square-foot building located at 6th St. and 4th Ave. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Even then, Van Meter was setting the standard for innovation – it was the first building west of the Mississippi to have fluorescent lighting. Van Meter and Lemley were the only employees and their motto was “Service is our first thought.”
As one of the area’s first electrical distributors, the company was committed to supporting what was still a new and developing technology. The struggle of starting a business during such tough economic times became a major test.
During those difficult times, Van Meter did more than survive. The company grew because employees knew that hard work wasn’t enough. They succeeded because they believed that owners, employees and customers should treat each other like family.
They also believed in their products. They worked to learn what customers needed and pushed manufacturers to come up with better solutions. Then they rolled up their sleeves to make the solutions work for each customer. Training and support became a part of Van Meter because when customers grew, the whole “family” grew.
More than 80 years later, 350+ employee-owners remain committed to these principles. Our business has evolved to meet our customers’ ever changing needs. We listen to our customers’ challenges, no matter how big or small, and develop the services they need to be successful.
Beyond products, we provide a broad range of value-added services, from wire services, technical support and continuing education classes to project management, quotes, inventory management and more.
We’ve learned that we can improve our business by sharing best practices with others. That’s why in 2002, we entered into a 50-50 venture with Werner Electric Supply (Wisconsin), and together we purchased what is now known as Werner Electric Supply (Minnesota). We are three distinct companies that work together to gain efficiencies, improve customer service and grow market share.
Van Meter is 100% employee-owned. Every day, we continue to develop successful solutions for our customers. And we still treat each other – and our customers – like family.