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Electric Supply

Celebrates 100 Years of Business

During the 1910s, the number of homes wired for electricity grew steadily from 16% in 1912 to 20% in 1917 and 35% in 1920.

Joseph Kovalsky and Hyman Carr founded Kovalsky-Carr Electric Supply in Rochester, New York in 1921. “Electricity was new, and he looked at it as an opportunity,” Arnold Kovalsky, president of Kovalsky-Carr, said of his grandfather.

Although the business started out as an electrical distributor and contractor, it eventually got out of the contracting business to solely focus on distribution and, like electrical current, is still going strong a century later.

Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, the company has partnered with a preferred vendor each month, beginning with Legrand in January. Each month begins with a webinar that features the vendor of the month, as well as raffles and other contests.

Kovalsky-Carr is unique in that it has remained a single-branch operation while most of its competitors have been bought out by large chains. The company is a third-generation, family-owned electrical distributor. “We’re big enough to service customers’ needs and small enough to care,” Larry Kovalsky, vice president of Kovalsky-Carr, said. “We’re not a big chain where each customer just becomes a number.”

Charles Kovalsky, Arnold’s and Larry’s father, took over as company president in 1961. Arnold joined the family business in 1972 and became president in 1977, a year after his brother, Larry, started. The company primarily serves the commercial, institutional, industrial and residential construction markets and has always been dedicated to increasing market share through strong relationships with suppliers and customers.

Since the beginning, Kovalsky-Carr has remained focused on serving electrical contractors. “We’ve been loyal to them through difficult times,” Arnold Kovalsky said.

The company has extended its footprint through most of upstate New York as its contractor customers have extended their territories. “Rochester, New York is not a huge city,” Larry Kovalsky said. “Everyone tends to know everyone else, and we have developed good personal relationships with our customers.”

A company that directs its attention toward people, products and performance, Kovalsky-Carr is committed to providing growth opportunities for all associates. “We have good people working for us,” Larry Kovalsky said. “We have been able to attract some pretty good talent and I think that’s the future of our company.”

IMARK Electrical membership has been financially rewarding for Kovalsky-Carr and “the networking we’ve been doing over the years through the group has been beneficial to us as distributors,” Larry Kovalsky said.

The Kovalsky family and business also strongly believes in giving back to the community. The Kovalsky-Carr Research Fund provides Wilmot Cancer Institute with a perpetual source of income to bring together scientists with diverse expertise to uncover and address the mechanisms that drive cancer, as well as the side effects and toxicities of various types of cancer and their treatment options. An annual golf outing has helped the company raise $750,000 for the institute.

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