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Entries : Grainger (W. W.) Inc.
Grainger (W. W.) Inc.

Grainger (W. W.) Inc.

William W. Grainger, an engineering graduate from the University of Illinois, started an electric motor wholesaling business on West Cermak Avenue in Chicago in 1927. Along with his sister Margaret, Grainger built a business based on mail-order catalog sales. By 1937, when annual sales hit $1 million, the company had sales offices around the country. In 1968, as sales passed $100 million and the company began to sell stock to the public, William Grainger retired and was succeeded as company chief by his son David. During the 1970s, the company bought electric motor factories and moved its headquarters to suburban Skokie; by this time, it employed about 700 people in the Chicago area. By the end of the 1990s, when its headquarters moved to suburban Lake Forest, Grainger's annual sales of motors and other industrial machines stood at $4.5 billion. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the company employed about 2,500 people in the Chicago area and another 14,000 in other parts of North America.