The story

President Dwight D. Eisenhower begins his second term in office; the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers agrees to move the team to Los Angeles; singer/songwriter Buddy Holly releases his hit single, “That’ll be the Day”; while Elvis “the King” Presley purchases “Graceland” and makes his third and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Also in 1957, U.S. Marine Major John Glenn sets a new transcontinental speed record, flying his F8U supersonic jet from California to New York in 3:23:08. On the automotive front, the Japanese company Toyota exports its first Land Cruiser to the USA—while Ford debuts its colossal flop known as the “Edsel.”

In this momentous year in history, two brothers, Bill and Alan Anixter, decide to change the way the wire and cabling business operates, borrowing $10,000 from their mother to start Anixter Brothers, a business that would revolutionize an industry characterized by lack of service, limited flexibility in purchasing options, and a requirement that even the smallest end user had to buy in bulk.

For the brothers Anixter, the American Dream was about to unfold, based on their conviction that service (like Elvis) was King. There had to be a better way than buying in bulk, they believed. And, having set out to change the cable and wire business, in just a few years, they did just that.

Within the first year in business, Anixter Brothers reported sales of $300,000. By 1966, those sales numbers soared to $10 million. And a decade after starting the business, the company went public on the American Stock Exchange.