In 1865, H.B. Newton and George W. Hubbard opened Newton & Hubbard Hardware Store in Flint, Michigan. The business prospered and five years later, Hubbard bought out his partner and renamed the store “Hubbard Hardware.”
Much of Hubbard’s success can be attributed to the personal attention he gave his customers. He was known to arrive early, before the store opened, to attend to paperwork and business matters. He would then spend the rest of the day at the door, personally greeting and interacting with his customers.
After Hubbard’s death in 1937, the Burrough family, a prominent local business family Hubbard’s daughter had married into, became major stockholders in the company and took the reins. The Burrough family retained the company name and added an industrial supply division before selling it to Charles “Chuck” Shelley, a local businessman, in 1963.
Shelley wanted to capitalize on the growing industrial market and decided to close Hubbard’s retail and wholesale divisions to focus on the industrial supply division. This move pushed the company in a new direction, and the name was changed to Hubbard Industrial Supply. Shelley also convinced his son-in-law, Robert Fuller, to join the company. When Shelley retired in 1977, Fuller took over as president and continued the momentum Shelley started by looking for growth opportunities. Soon after, he opened a regional distribution center in Saginaw, the first of many expansions. Branch offices in Lansing and Livonia were opened and later closed as the business changed once again.