Our History

Coburn Supply Company has been a family-owned distributor of plumbing, electrical, waterworks and HVAC products and services for nearly 90 years. While our team has grown immensely since 1934, we’ve never lost sight of the real reason we exist: you, the customer.

Take a trip down memory lane below, and see how we grew from a one-man show in Beaumont to a national leader trusted by thousands.

1930s  -   The Beginning

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.

Putting the Pieces Together

When his employer Fisher-Meek closed, Albert Coburn asked to buy its material on consignment, thus launching Coburn Supply Company in 1934 as a plumbing supply distributor. Albert’s nephew, Arthur J. Maloney, moved from New Orleans to Beaumont soon after to work for Coburn’s. His first job was establishing credit with manufacturers and vendors to buy material.

Jim Hayes first joined Coburn’s as a truck driver and ultimately worked his way up into corporate leadership. He moved with Arthur Maloney to open the company’s second location in Lafayette — shortly before World War II began.

1940s  -  The War Years

Needing more space at its booming Beaumont location, Coburn’s dismantles its Lafayette store in 1941, which was shuttered due to WWII.

The materials for this store are shipped via rail to Texas. Shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Coburn’s rebuilds the store at 990 Bowie in Beaumont.

Lafayette Reopens

Years later in 1946 — with the war now over — Coburn’s opens a new store in Lafayette. This branch is run by Arthur Maloney, who would later be joined by his brother James Maloney. One year later (and one hour west), a new Lake Charles location opens with Roy Breaux named owner and operator.

A Growing Team

In 1948, the Coburn’s team expands as Lucille Maloney begins her career in the Beaumont office as bookkeeper and office manager. She would go on to become the company’s first corporate secretary. During this decade, the Polaroid camera and first computer were invented, the first nonstop flight around the world is successfully made and the average cost for a gallon of gas was 16 cents.

1950s  -  Suburban Expansion

Welcome to the era of color television and McDonald’s. Now an established plumbing and heating supplier, Coburn Supply begins to sell Day and Night water heaters, panel ray heaters, and wall furnaces. By 1955, sales included central heating and HVAC.

The Showroom Philosophy begins to take hold
during this time. In an effort to help plumbing contractors sell products, Coburn’s opened its first showroom in the Beaumont office — giving customers the ability to see and interact with options in person.

This sales concept was a success, quickly spreading to other branch locations.

Thrifty Moves & Purchasing Power
To make delivery trips up north cost-efficient, Coburn’s begins transporting Louisiana yams via its trucks bound for a Wisconsin supplier. After unloading the yams, the trucks are then reloaded with plumbing supplies for the return trip south.

Meanwhile, at headquarters, steady growth leads Coburn’s to create a central purchasing office in Beaumont. The new building is designed to handle credit management, advertising, disbursements and other purchasing administrative duties, while the sales location is moved across the street.

1960s  -  Innovation on the Horizon

During the 1960s, an influx of new products sparks trends in home design across the country. All the exciting styles and options available begin to fuel showroom growth as homeowners realize they can access a wide selection of fixtures in a variety of finishes and colors — all in one place.

Meanwhile, computing technology has seen many advancements across industries. In order to take advantage, Coburn’s purchases its first computer — an NCR Punch Card System with a paper tape archive. The 
computer and its installation cost the company over $200,000 — the equivalent of more than $1.6 million today. This system helped lay the groundwork for Coburn’s digital inventory and transaction processing today.

Ascending the Ranks
After completing a management training program with Sears in Houston, Arthur’s son Don Maloney returned to his hometown to join the Lafayette Coburn’s branch. Later, he is named assistant manager at this location. During this decade, Niel Armstrong becomes the first man on the moon. Meanwhile, Coburn’s opens five new stores across the Gulf South and acquires Wilkinson Supply in Tyler, Texas.

1970s - Decade of Transition

The 70s certainly brought about a changing of the guard for Coburn’s. Vice President Charlie Balcom passed away, leaving his position to Don Maloney after he moves to Beaumont. Meanwhile, Edna Mae Jones joins the executive team as the secretary & treasurer, and Lucille Serio returns to Coburn’s to manage Coburn Blue Books.

As the company continued to grow, Arthur Maloney believed it was important to recognize consecutive years of service among his employees.

He believed recognition at key milestones could encourage new employees to invest their time and grow their careers at Coburn’s. With that in mind, he established the Silver Club to celebrate employees with at least 25 years of service.

End of an Era

In 1976, Founder and Chairman of Coburn Supply, Inc., Albert J. Coburn passed away. In his mid-80s, he considered himself retired since the early 1970s. After his death, no one was appointed to fill his position as Chairman — a move made to show respect for the role he

played throughout his years. Arthur Maloney, who had been president of Coburn Supply, Inc., since the 1950s, assumed leadership of the company.
1980s  -  Changing Competitive Landscape

After decades of steady growth, the economic downturn of the early 1980’s led to the first decline in Coburn’s sales, dropping 50% in a single year. During this time, Coburn’s worked to increase efficiency and better position itself for future growth. By pivoting to full truckload orders, Coburn’s leveraged more competitive pricing terms.

Larger branches became product centers and served as distribution hubs — setting the stage for today’s distribution centers.

Through key acquisitions of Cagle Supply Co. and American Supply, Coburn’s becomes a fully-stocked HVAC distributor able to service the entire state of Louisiana. The company’s first Eunice store and Beaumont stand-alone showroom also open at this time.

The Torch is Passed

In 1984, Coburn’s president Arthur Maloney passes away. He was one of Coburn’s first employees and became instrumental in the company’s growth. As Coburn’s marked 50 years in business, James Maloney takes over as president and, later, chairman of the board.
1990s  -  A Decade of Consolidation

Consolidation in the industry began to intensify 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.

With its growing network of warehouses and distribution centers, Coburn’s was also beginning to need more structured oversight. So in 1996, the team establishes a Vendor Committee to consolidate and steer group purchases. This committee laid the foundation for what would eventually become the General Management Team.

New Technology Emerges

Within this time, Coburn’s converted all locations to point-of-sale computer terminals. Within 18 months, all branches gained access to centralized computer systems and completely eliminated handwritten tickets — making transactions easier, faster and more efficient for both customer and storefront. By 1999, Coburn’s is ready to launch its first website storefront — coined Coburn’s 1.0 — allowing the brand to connect with thousands of new customers online.
2000s - New Frontiers in the New Millenium

After operating as individual corporations regionally, the company consolidates into a singular corporate entity, Coburn Supply Company, Inc., with unified management to position the company for continued growth. In 2003, James Maloney passes away after serving as president and chairman of the board.

Hurricanes Spark Improvements

In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Coburn’s developed emergency procedures and protocols that are now used during and after national disasters. The company’s emergency preparedness plan included adding a backup information server in Longview, TX.

Growing the Footprint

During this time, Coburn’s opens new locations and distribution centers across Louisiana (Abita Springs, Harvey, Natchitoches, Bossier City, Harahan). The company also extends its reach into Mississippi and two new states with stores in Hattiesburg, Laurel and Pearl, Mississippi, as well as Memphis, Tennessee and Conroe, Houston and Athens, TX.
2010s  -  The Next Generation
Entering a new decade, Coburn’s pushes its regional expansion forward with new locations in Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee. During this time, our company also added a Distribution Center to support its growth into the Mississippi market.

In addition to new branches in new places, Coburn’s also created Coburn’s Cares in response to the devastating 2016 flood that affected much of South Louisiana. As the company’s first and only 501(c)(3) foundation, Coburn’s Cares was founded to offer employee aid in times of crisis.

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.
2020s  -  Pandemic Times Yield Progress
With the beginning of the 2020 came the unexpected: a global pandemic that shuttered brick & mortar stores across country, leaving the economy in a state of uncertainty. Despite significant setbacks, the Coburn’s team continued to adapt and grow brand recognition. Within the first few years, we welcomed a new flagship distribution center in Eunice, LA along with sales locations in Meridian, MS; Texarkana, TX; Houston, TX;  Beaumont, TX; and Lindale, TX to name a few.

In 2022, Patrick Maloney steps into the role as President of Coburn’s. Meanwhile, Michael Maloney becomes the Executive Vice President, and AJ Maloney and Don Maloney become chairman and vice chairman of the board, respectively.

Passing the Torch

Albert Coburn, Arthur Maloney, James Maloney, and all those who came before left us quite a legacy. With our fourth generation of leadership, Coburn’s stands ready to meet the future with confidence, dedication and a solid foundation.

Join the Coburn's Team

Are you a friendly go-getter with a passion for getting things done? Is “Dependable” your middle name?
You might be the perfect match for a job at Coburn’s!
From front-of-house customer service and consultation to behind-the-scenes fulfillment and operations, explore our current openings today and find a job that fits you.

See Our Open Positions

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