Prior to starting Lewis-Smith Supply, Ralph Smith was no stranger to the plumbing supply industry. He began his career as a salesman for a local plumbing distributor in Dothan where he met co-founder, William Lewis, while on a sales call in Georgia. They combined their different backgrounds and industry experiences and started Lewis-Smith in 1974. Ten years later, Ralph Smith bought out William Lewis' portion of the business. We started out with three employees, Ralph, his wife Carolyn, one warehouse guy and a 10,000 sq ft warehouse in Dothan, AL. With Ralph's goal of diversifying the supply industry in the Dothan area, and Carolyn by his side to keep things in check, his goal was accomplished. Lewis-Smith expanded our business beyond plumbing with the addition of an HVAC division, irrigation, well pump, and water works supplies. We started in a building located at the current central Dothan fire station on Columbia Highway. Two to three years later we moved down the highway, closer to downtown Dothan and before we left that location, we had expanded into approximately eight different buildings in a three-block area.
In the 1990's, Lewis-Smith moved to our current main location, 1306 Columbia Highway, Dothan, AL, a 63,000 sq ft building and had 40 employees. In 1994, we bought out a competitor and opened a small branch on Ross Clark Circle and were up to 55 employees. In 2001, we opened our first non-Dothan branch in Marianna, FL. In 2005, we added 10,000 sq ft to our main branch. In 2007, we opened branches in Eufaula, AL and Enterprise, AL. Now we operate with over 70 employees, including five outside sales representatives who cover roughly a 100-mile radius in the tri state area to properly serve our loyal customer base. Our salesmen and delivery routes cover southeast and south-central Alabama, southwest Georgia and the Florida Panhandle, making Lewis-Smith one of the largest suppliers of plumbing and HVAC products in the area.
Almost 50 years after Ralph started Lewis-Smith - we are still a family owned and operated business. We firmly believe several factors attributed to the growth and success of our business, including dedication from hard working and experienced employees. Ralph’s son Mark Smith currently serves as our President. Carolyn serves as the chairman of the board. Benny Buchanan, who started working with Ralph in 1977, serves as the company’s executive vice president. Tim Benton serves as the company's personnel director and director of the air condition division. One thing that is always on our minds is how to take things to the next level. Whether it's opening a new branch or buying an existing distributorship. We recognize the importance of customer service and strive to have a personal relationship with our customers in hopes of encouraging them to want to continue to do business with us. Having experienced employees who treat customers right and having the inventory to back it up is what we pride ourselves on. Although selling to contractors is a large part of our business, we have two showrooms for homeowners, and anyone is welcome inside one of our five sales counters.