The company was founded by William Wallace Grainger in 1927 in Chicago, Illinois. He established the company to provide an efficient solution for fulfilling business consumers’ needs. The business was incorporated as W. W. Grainger, Inc., in 1928. Sales in the early days were generated primarily through mail order via post cards and a catalog. The MotorBook, as the catalog was originally called, was the basis for today’s Grainger catalog. Grainger headquarters are now located in Lake Forest, IL.

In 1967, Grainger became a publicly traded company. Grainger is a profitable corporation and has increased dividends to its shareholders for 36 consecutive years.[3] The company has grown consistently since becoming public and has passed $1 billion in annual sales in 1984 and $5 billion in sales in 2004.

The company is currently in the midst of a massive expansion,[4][5] which includes the remodeling of existing locations as well as the company’s entry into the Chinese market. Grainger also has a presence in Japan by acquiring a majority share of Japanese industrial supplier Monotaro in 2009.[6] Grainger is expanding their product offering, in 2008 their new catalog featured over 183,000 products, and customers could purchase over 350,000 products on In 2010, the catalog now carries over 400,000 products, and customers can purchase over 900,000 products on This is partly due to feedback from customers that Grainger should carry an even broader supply of products.

A unique aspect that sets W. W. Grainger apart from other industrial supply companies is that they have an extensive, on-site, U.S. based Technical Product Support for all of their products. Their Technical Product Support Specialists have hands-on experience and training, who have the ability to assist with the correct product selection, application assistance, installation and troubleshooting.

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