A Short History of Coburns



"The purpose of the company is to provide opportunity and security for it's people.”
– Albert Coburn, Founder
 
 
Born and raised in New Orleans, Albert J. Coburn was an entrepreneur – a man who saw opportunity and went after it with nerve, imagination and persuasiveness. He believed in fair play, hard work, and reward for a job well done. Most of all, Albert Coburn had a strong commitment to his family and his faith. This would be the biggest influence on not only his career, but on the lives of those who have come to work at Coburn Supply Company.
 
The Early Years
 
In 1936, Albert Coburn's nephew, Arthur J. Maloney, moved from New Orleans to Beaumont to work for Coburn Supply. His first job with the company was to establish credit with manufacturers and vendors to buy material.
 
In 1937, Jim Hayes joined the company as a truck driver. He moved with Arthur Maloney to open a second location in Lafayette. Jim had a long career with the company becoming president of Coburn's of Beaumont, senior vice president of Coburn Supply Co., Inc., and vice chairman of the board.
 

 
The Fifties: Suburban Expansion
 
This was the era of suburban expansion for Coburn Supply. Now an established plumbing and heating supplier, Coburn Supply sold Day and Night water heaters, panel ray heaters, and wall furnaces. By 1955, sales included central heating and HVAC. In the early 50s, Balcom Supply in Baton Rouge was acquired from Charlie and Lonnie Balcom. Charlie Balcom moved to Beaumont, where he served for the rest of his life on the Coburn Supply Company Executive Committee as Vice President- Treasurer. James Maloney moved to Baton Rouge to begin working at the Baton Rouge location.
 
The Showroom Philosophy: In an effort to help plumbing contractors sell product, Coburn opened a showroom in the Beaumont office. The showroom concept spread to all branch locations.
 
 

 
The Seventies: Decade of Transition
 
Founder and Chairman of Coburn Supply, Inc., Albert J. Coburn passed away in 1976. In his mid 80s, he considered himself virtually retired since the early 1970s. After his death, no one was appointed to the position of Chairman. Arthur Maloney, who had been president of Coburn Supply, Inc., since the 1950s, assumed leadership of the company.
 
In 1977, Arthur Maloney created the Silver Club to recognize employees with 25 years of service to Coburn Supply. Members of this illustrious group meet each year and celebrate at a special gathering in their honor. In 2009, there are more than 100 active members of the Silver Club, 77 of whom are retired. More than 40 members of the Silver Cub are still working for Coburn's.
 

 
The Nineties:Changing Competitive Landscape
 
Consolidation in the industry began to heat up with national distributors growing at a faster and faster pace. In a move to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment, Coburn's became a founding member of Embassy Group, Ltd., which quickly became one of the largest and most respected wholesale buying groups in the industry. In 1992, Coburn's continued to innovate by converting all locations to Point of Sale computer terminals. This was the first time the branches utilized a centralized computer system and ended hand ticket writing. The entire process of conversion to the POS system was complete in 18 months.
 
The launch of Coburn's Website in 1999 provided convenience and increased efficiency by allowing customers to check stock, order materials, and pay bills online.
 

 

2000 to the present: Consolidation

Since the 1950s, Coburn Supply, Inc., had consisted of separate corporations with separate management and stockholders. To increase overall efficiency and to facilitate growth, in 2001 the separate entities were consolidated into a single corporation.
 
This move to consolidation positioned Coburn's for the extensive growth it has experienced this decade and allowed for a singular company focus with everyone working together.
The third generation of Albert's "Boys” took leadership responsibilities when Don and A.J. Maloney – Albert Coburn's great nephews and Arthur Maloney's sons – took over leadership of the company.
 
 

   

 

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