Founding

Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. is an independent wholesale electric distributor serving the state of Kansas and the surrounding states. Stanion was founded in June of 1961 when Bobbe and Jud Stanion purchased an electrical repair and supply business from a local businessman, Charlie Grassman. TJ Stanion serving a customer at the original counter at Grassman bldgCharlie Grassman’s business was located at 113 West Second in Pratt, KS, a building which now serves as a photography studio. In 1968 the corporation moved to 812 S Main in Pratt where it currently resides.

Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. opened the business with four employees: Jud Stanion, Bobbe Stanion, Jean Doris Galliart, and Eddy Galliart.

Jud served as inside/counter sales representative. Eddy served as outside sales representative. Bobbe and Jean Doris completed all the office functions such as accounts payable, payroll, accounts receivable, and pricing that are now handled by our corporate offices.

Growth

Stanion’s first location outside of Pratt was opened in 1964 in Garden City. In 1966 a third location was opened in Great Bend and then a location was added in Hays in 1969.

The decision was made to open a branch in Lawrence in 1970 after several trips visiting children attending college at the University of Kansas. A customer and friend convinced Jud to open a location in Clay Center in 1971 (which would later be moved to Junction City and then on to Manhattan). In 1974 locations were opened in Emporia and Chanute.

A location was opened in Liberal in 1975 and then another the following year in Dodge City. Then in 1980, with some urging from Allen-Bradley, a decision was made to tackle their first metropolitan area and a store was opened in Wichita. The Garden City store also agreed to take the Allen-Bradley line at that time.

Two stores were opened in 1985; one in Lenexa (which would later be moved to Olathe) and another in McPherson. The next year a location was opened in Topeka and then in 1988 a store was opened in Salina.

In 1993 a venture was made into Southwest Missouri with an opening in Hollister followed by an opening in Joplin, MO in 1995. A location was opened in downtown Kansas City, KS in 1996 and then in 1998 locations were opened in both Hutchinson and Springfield, MO (which would eventually absorb the Hollister and Joplin locations before closing in 2010).

Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. decided to purchase and operate a small tool company called Southwind Supply in 2000. The tool business adventure lasted for about five years before the assets were sold and the business closed.

Stanion’s most recent expansion was in 2011 when a small one location, independent distributor named JR Electric Supply operating in Liberty, MO was purchased.

Remembering

T.J. “Jud” Stanion, age 92, died Sunday, December 12, 2010 at South Wind Hospice in Pratt, KS. He was born November 4, 1918 in Boston, MA to Thomas and Aldah (Witherspoon) Stanion.  Jud grew up in White Plains, New York; and he earned a bachelor’s degree in Commerce from New York University.  Jud enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served as a Lieutenant during World War II at the Tampa Ship Building Co. in Tampa, FL.

Bobbe Stanion, 95, died peacefully March 11, 2016, in her home at Parkwood Village in Pratt, KS.  She was born July 20, 1920, in Joplin, Missouri, the daughter of Hazel and Frank Belden.  In 1942, she moved to Washington, D.C., and found a job in the Navy Department.  She often said that her contribution to the war effort was small; but it was there that she met Jud.  They married September 4, 1943, in Washington, D.C.; and they were lifetime partners until his death in 2010.

Bobbe and Jud were blessed with two children during their marriage. Their son, Tom, was born in Tampa, FL, in 1945; and their daughter, Cindy, was born in White Plains, NY, in 1948.

Bobbe and Jud lived in many different parts of the United States after their marriage.  Jud began his career in wholesale electrical distribution by working for Bobbe’s family’s business in Joplin, MO. Bobbe enjoyed teaching dance lessons.  After several job changes, Jud and Bobbe embarked upon a successful career in their life-long partnership when they started their own business, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co., in Pratt, KS in June of 1961.  As they experienced success in business, they expanded their business by opening branches throughout Kansas.  The company now consists of seventeen branches, with a branch and corporate office in Pratt.  Bobbe retired in 1983 to enjoy her passions of playing golf, working in her flower garden, and playing bridge but Jud remained active in the business until shortly before his death.

Jud and Bobbe believed in giving back to their community and beyond. They were very generous donors of time and resources to many charitable, educational, and community organizations.  The beneficiaries of their service and generosity include Pratt Public Schools, Pratt County Achievement Place (Jud was a founder), Pratt Community College, Pratt Regional Medical Center, Pratt Presbyterian Church, South Central Community Foundation (Jud was a founder), The B29 Memorial and Pratt Achievement Place.  Jud’s contributions included serving as an active board member of Pratt School Board, Pratt Regional Medical Center, South Central Community Foundation, Pratt County Achievement Place, Pratt Rotary Club, Pratt Community College Foundations, Kansas Cavalry, and the national Association of Electrical Distributors.  Jud was a member of the Pratt Presbyterian Church, Pratt Rotary Club, Park Hills Country Club, BPOE Elks Lodge #1451, and the Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce.  Bobbe’s special endeavor was the High Rise Apartment Building in Pratt.  She was a member of the Pratt Presbyterian Church, P.E.O. Chapter F, and Park Hills Country Club.

They also encouraged and supported charitable, educational and community organizations and causes in many other communities through the company and through its employees.

Jud and Bobbe are survived by a son, Tom, of Shawnee, KS; a daughter, Cindy, and husband Bill of Pratt, KS; six grandchildren; and ten great-grandchildren.

Present Day

Currently the company operates 16 branch locations in Kansas and one in Liberty, MO and maintains its headquarters at 812 South Main in Pratt, KS. The company currently has about 200 employees across the corporation. The functions of finance, accounting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, pricing, purchasing, IT and data center, human resources, payroll, training, communications, and corporate management are all housed at the office in Pratt. Each branch location includes a branch manager, sales staff, warehouse, inventory, delivery vehicles, and other necessities needed to operate on its own.

The ownership and employees of Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. are proud to operate as a family owned independent electrical distributor. The company operates with conservative values, small town work ethic and an urgency to serve its employees, customers and vendors.

The company continues to be run as a family business by Bill and Cindy Keller (Cindy is the daughter of Jud and Bobbe Stanion) with Bill Keller serving as President. Stanion Wholesale takes great pride in supporting the communities it serves through financial support and volunteer efforts for community and charitable organizations and activities.

Charities

Stanion Wholesale Electrical Co. donates time and treasure to many worthy causes and organizations in the communities in which it operates. Following is a representative list (though not near exhaustive) of the types of contributions and support that are given annually:

  • Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. Charity Golf Classic for Special Olympics Kansas. #
  • Gold Level Sponsor and contributor of volunteers for Special Olympics Kansas State Summer Games.
  • Contributor of funds and volunteers for Relay for Life fundraiser for American Cancer Society.
  • Contributor to Pratt Regional Medical Center and Pratt Health Foundation.
  • Contributor to scholarship funds and facilities projects at four state universities in Kansas.
  • Contributor to scholarship funds and facilities projects at many of the 19 community colleges in Kansas.
  • Contributor of funds and volunteer efforts to the Kansas 4-H Foundation.
  • Contributor to American Red Cross for local and national disaster relief.
  • Contributor of funds and materials to many of the local school districts in our service area.
  • Contributor of funds to local community activities (local youth recreation teams, baseball tournaments, youth programs, etc.) in our service area.

#The Stanion Wholesale Electric Co. Charity Golf Classic has been held nearly every year since 2000 as a fund-raising event for Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) programs. The Golf Classic is organized by SOKS and Stanion; with the financial support, each year, coming from Stanion, its vendors and customers. The twelve Golf Classics held since 2000 have raised more than $916,000 for the benefit of SOKS. The 2015 event is expected to push the total proceeds and event giving to over $1,000,000.

The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of sporting events for children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympic athletes, and their communities. Chris Hahn, SOKS President and CEO, commented on the Stanion Golf Classic, “Your support has greatly enhanced Special Olympics Kansas’ ability to provide new and innovative programs. One such program is Healthy Athletes, a program that provides health screenings free of charge to Special Olympics Kansas athletes at competition sites. Offered in a welcoming, family-friendly, and fun environment, these screenings educate athletes on healthy life style choices and identify problems that may need additional, professional follow-up. The Special Olympics Kansas Healthy Athletes program has been recognized as one of the six best offered and has resulted in additional grant funding to pilot additional services.”

The Stanion Golf Classic allows Stanion to bring together some of its most valuable vendor and customer partners to enjoy a day on the golf course and to use the joy of participation in a valuable fund-raising cause to build stronger relationships and commitment to a great program. The event includes a reception the evening before the golf, a night’s stay in a nearby hotel, a luncheon at the golf course, and a banquet and awards ceremony following the tournament. Some of the SOKS athletes participate in the golf tournament and the awards ceremony.

Bill Keller, Stanion President, said “The Golf Classic is one of the favorite activities in which our people participate. Our team complements the Golf Classic with other fundraisers and volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Many of our employees and their families participate annually as volunteers at the Special Olympics Kansas State Summer Games, assisting with coordinating and running the games. Two Stanion employees serve on the Summer Games Volunteer Management Team. Further, some of the Stanion branches sponsor their own events each year to support regional Special Olympics events or teams. The value of our sponsorship of SOKS programs is evident every year in the smiles of the Special Olympic athletes and in the expressions of joy and gratitude from their families and friends.”

Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

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