In 1962, Elmer Jeske purchased Action Products, a wholesale company that sold door hardware, and the foundations of the Jeske Company took root in Appleton, Wis. Elmer ran the one-man show out of a small garage, shipping orders during the day and selling products at night.
Action Products began to expand, adding customers in both Illinois and Minnesota. To avoid being confused with other Action Products companies in the area, Elmer changed the company name to AP of Appleton. A few years later, the name changed again, and the Jeske Company was born. Elmer’s sons, Jim and Jay, joined the team, first in the warehouse and then as salesmen.
The company continued to grow, adding more salesmen and support staff. This growth brought new advances in technology and a need for more space. The Jeske Company was one of the first companies in the area to utilize mechanical order pickers and computers.
With an increasing Minnesota customer base, the Jeske Company decided to add a warehouse in Eagan, Minn. This allowed the company to bring its exceptional customer service and one-day shipping to customers in Minnesota and other midwestern states. In Appleton, the company was growing as well, moving four times before settling on Capitol Drive in 1975.
Elmer Jeske passed away in 1988, and Jim and Jay took over the company. Since then, the Jeske Company has continued its steady progress, and a third generation of the Jeske family joined the team.
In 2001, the company bought Moore Distributing in Memphis, Tenn., expanding the Jeske Company’s customer base into the southern United States. Over the next few years, the company moved its southern warehouse twice, settling in Southaven, Miss.
Again, this growth meant improvements in technology at the Jeske Company, and, in 2002, the Jeske Company implemented a new computer system, which allowed the company to use barcodes and scanners to fulfill orders. This not only increased efficiency and reduced order errors, but it also paved the way for the company to later create its own products.
In 2006, the Jeske Company began manufacturing its own hardware, with the goal of creating “common sense” products without sacrificing quality or pricing. Four product lines were born: Cabinet Accents, Builders Essentials, Door Specialties, and Hardware Basics. Three years later, the company introduced a new line, Bath Finishings. Today, the Jeske Company carries about 1,800 of its own products.
In 2009, advances in warehouse management, inventory control and shipping methods made it possible for the company to streamline its operations. Eliminating the Minnesota warehouse has helped the Jeske Company reduce costs and improve its customer service and shipping.
2010 was a year of change and transition for the Jeske Company. The company introduced its own brand of door locks, sold under the name Stone Harbor Lock Company. The Jeske Company then rebranded its Cabinet Accents, Builders Essentials, Door Specialties, Bath Finishings and Hardware Basics lines under the Stone Harbor name. With the door locks, these products create a complete collection of quality hardware.
In November of 2010, Jim Jeske, the company’s president, passed away after a battle with cancer. While Jim’s presence and leadership at the Jeske Company will be missed, he built a strong, capable team to lead the company in his absence.
Today, the company continues to grow and thrive, with customers in 40 of the 50 states and 14 salesmen with more than 150 cumulative years of experience. As a result, the Jeske Company has maintained its reputation of providing exceptional customer service and reliability for nearly 50 years.