Since its beginning in 1887, Reeves-Wiedeman Company has been a locally-owned family business. The name comes from the families involved; the Reeves family until 1940, the Wiedeman family from 1940 to the present time. City directories of the late 1800′s show that in 1887, William K. Reeves a bookkeeper; his brother Edward K. Reeves, a plumber; Elizabeth (Reeves) Gray, and her husband, Alexander Gray formed Gray Plumbing & Heating at 1005 Walnut in Kansas City, Missouri. The firm sold and installed plumbing supplies. In 1894 the business moved around the corner to 113-115 East 10th St.
1897, Louis apparently split off from the others, incorporated as Reeves Supply Company and moved into new space at 1008 Grand.
In the 1920′s and 1930′s the business moved to 1304 McGee and was operated by Louis along with his loyal assistant, Edward R. “Eddie” Victor. Louis worked in the office, and was well-known for his morning suit, spat, derby hat, and cane, which is said to have contained a sword! Eddie handled the warehouse and delivery.
The two men earned a good reputation in the industry developing strong loyalties to both manufacturers and customers. Reeves became the first American Standard distributor west of the Mississippi River.
In the meantime, Wally Wiedeman, who was born in Chicago, son of a poor immigrant, moved to Kansas City with his family, and at a very young age went to work at US Supply Company. Wally had learned the business by working in every job in the business – warehouse, office and sales, while attending night school. He was there from 1915 until 1939. At that time he became interested in striking out on his own. He was attracted to Reeves Supply Company because of the availability of the American Standard fixture line. Louis Reeves wanted to retire, but had no-one to take over the business.
In early 1940, Wally bought Reeves Supply Company. To recognize the 53 years Louis Reeves and his family were involved in the business, Wally renamed the company and we have kept the name ever since. In 1946, the business was officially incorporated in Missouri as Reeves-Wiedeman Company.
Wally’s business grew from friendships he built over many years. He is remembered for most for his surprises and gag gifts. He always had something in in his pocket for those he met!
His sons John A. Wiedeman and Ted A. Wiedeman joined him in the late forties and early fifties. They had learned the the business by growing up in it. About that time Eddie Victor who had helped Wally those first few years on his own, retired.
After the war, in the 50′s, business was booming, so the company built and moved from 2611 Warwick to a larger, more modern facility, at 2711 Warwick. The company had now grown to 40 employees with branch operations in Wichita (1948), Kansas City, KS (1950) and Topeka (1957). In 1956 company headquarters in KCMO was completely destroyed by fire. Thanks to good friends among customers, manufacturers,and even our competitors, we were able to recover from the fire and continue growing stronger than ever.
In 1966 a branch was opened in Manhattan, KS. By this time John & Ted were running the company. In 1969, Wally’s son-in-law Jack Rogler, joined the company, and brought us into the computer age. In the seventies we started a branch in the Ozarks, got into the heating and air conditioning equipment business, duct fabrication business, later closing all of these. In 1975 we also opened a branch in Lawrence, and built and moved to our new headquarters and distribution warehouse in Lenexa, Ks in 1976.
In the mid seventies, and during the eighties, the third generation of Wiedemans began with the company. Ted G. Wiedeman (Ted Jr) & Walter A. (Wally) Wiedeman, came on board in 1976. Kurt A. Wiedeman joined us in 1983 and William P. (Bill) Wiedeman joined us in 1986. The new generation reintroduced the computer age to the company and began taking on new responsibilities leading to eventually taking over the management and ownership of the company from John & Ted in February, 1994.
The company opened branches in St. Joseph (1987), Riverside (1989), relocated Kansas City (1991), Lee’s Summit (1994), Leavenworth (1996), Olathe (2000), Emporia (2000), and Maryville (2001). Independence opened in 2005. In 2006, Waldo (KCMO) and Junction City opened. Liberty was opened in Jan 2008, Grandview in May 2008 and Midtown-KC in Sept 2008. All of our locations are now self service stores, on line to headquarters.
Today, the company still strives to provide the best value in residential and commercial plumbing products, to plumbing professionals, here in the Heart of America!