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Our History

We were born June 6, 1948

Our founder, Bernard (Ben) Nathan Yanow, was born and raised in, what was then known as, Boston’s “West End”. Times were tough. Ben was unable to afford an education at Boston University, without working. He searched, eventually finding an open position with the “Baron-Lewis Radio Company”, (for $12.00 per week). Baron-Lewis would eventually close, and reopen as “United Electrical Supply”, (The electrical distribution market was just “20” years young when United entered into it). This launched Ben into his electrical industry career path.

Ben invested many years at United, building a solid reputation as an electrical distributor. But he aspired to become more than an employee. After a decade he resigned, trying his hand as a manufacturers’ representative.

On June 6th 1948, The B.N. Yanow Co. Inc. was born.

The early years weren’t easy. Ben literally worked from the trunk of his car, with only 2 product lines; “Fisher Armor Fittings”, (who manufactured 6 connectors total), and “Ender Fluorescent Lighting”.

In time, his drive and hard work would be justly rewarded. Between 1949 & 1962, Ben progressed from his trunk, to his basement, to a small rental space on Purchase Street-Boston, (for $50.00 per month), to Atlantic Ave-Rowe’s Wharf, (Times were different then….), to Albany Street-Boston, to Brookline Street-Cambridge.

As time passed, Ben created a need for succession. Reaching out to his many contacts and friends in the industry, one name was frequently mentioned by his manufacturers and contemporaries; Alyn Pinkofsky.

Alyn’s career in our industry began at age 18. In the summer of 1952, he accepted a position working for Gem Electric Supply, as a truck-driver/”lumper”, then a counterman, (Point of Interest: His father Louis, who retired as Sergeant Detective of Homicide for the Boston Police in 1968, also worked there as a salesman).

In 1954, Electric Specialty approached Alyn, recruiting him as their lead counter man. In 1956, due to poor business conditions, Alyn was laid off. He was forced to collect unemployment. The registration form required all people to list a position they may be interested in. Alyn listed “Electrical Supply Salesman”. Unfortunately, as he was filling out the form, “Lucky” Alyn, (at 22 his priority wasn’t a career selling wire…..), became the recipient of a position open for interviews, at “Ralph Pill Electric Supply”. And who was the interviewer?, freshly discharged from the Army, Alfred Pill, who coincidently knew Alyn. For the record; Alyn interviewed in Alfred’s office which was no larger than a small bathroom, containing a very low desk, and a World War II Surplus Bomber’s Chair for a seat……… Alyn knew he was cut out to NOT be a salesman, as he attempted to convince Alfred, he couldn’t have picked a worse person for this position……….. However, Alfred, in his inimitable style, offered Alyn a car, knowing he did not own one. Alyn was pumped. Of course, he eagerly accepted. What vivacious 22 year-old wouldn’t? Well Alyn soon discovered the meaning of “buying a bridge in Brooklyn”, as he was quickly assigned to pick Ralph, (Alfred’s father), up daily, drive him to his office, drop him off, complete his sales route for the day, pick Ralph up at the office, and drive him home. And so on……….

In 1957, Alyn was drafted by the Naval Reserve thru 1959. He traveled around the globe on two aircraft carriers; The USS Wasp, and USS Intrepid, (Yes, the one in New York many of you have seen. Try living on that for one year).

After two years, Alyn was discharged, and again accepted a position at Electrical Specialty, where he continued his career in multiple capacities. In 1961 Ben hired Alyn as a salesman. In 1968, he became a partner. In 1985 Ben retired, and Alyn took sole ownership.

Sadly, April 30, 1994, at the age of 79, Ben passed away from cancer. To say he was a great man, and a role model, is a strong understatement.

The years that followed saw Alyn lead Yanow through deserved, continuous growth, and success. This included yet another move, (great problem to have), to Braintree, MA.

In 1994 Kevin Kossbiel, a veteran of our industry, joined us as a partner, at “B. N. Yanow of Connecticut”. Kevin’s tenure is impressive. He grew up in Western, PA, with GE, (his father George, was a GE veteran). Schooled at GE, Kevin worked in salvage, surplus machinery, graduated the technical marketing program, and moved on to outside sales. He then broadened his horizons as a Regional Sales Manager for OZ Gedney, along with similar positions in electrical distribution, and a manufacturers’ representative. Kevin has significantly influenced Yanow’s strength and success in the Connecticut and Western, MA territories. As a partner in Yanow of CT, I’m proud to be associated with him.

I officially began my career in 1976, a year before graduating high school. As many sons do, I visited work from the age of 5, during vacations, school days off, etc., torturing everyone, (some things never change), emptying baskets, sweeping floors, and stocking truckloads of rigid conduit one piece at a time, (ugh-No loading dock). In College, I schooled mornings and nights, while working days, at my dad’s warehouse. To further round-out my knowledge & experience, I worked for an electrical distributor, and a manufacturer.

During the mid-90s, an opportunity presented itself, allowing me to develop a start-up manufacturers’ representative; “Powerlines”. We opened with “2” manufacturers; General Cable & Eagle Wiring Devices. Over time, our team successfully expanded, with such manufacturers as Appleton Electric, Electroline Fittings, McGill Lighting, and several others. We were fortunate to recruit Top-Shelf personnel, all of whom, to this day, successfully trade in our industry. After several years, my father and I were presented with several growth-based opportunities. However, there would be heavier resources required. We decided to merge, as mergers from strength, can prosper. Dinner conversation suddenly became more relaxed…. We became partners, and rolled out “The Yanow Companies”.

We rebuilt the business: Manufacturers; Personnel; Software; Hardware; Phone systems, The Building, you name it. Since we were now operating out of “4” buildings, two owned, two rented, we began our search for a facility that would support our growth for years to come. We found and purchased a 110,000 square foot building in Brockton. For 22 years, we’ve called this home.

Today, we are proud of our earned status and reputation, marketing a First- Class portfolio of personnel, manufacturers, including; 10 outside sales & specification representatives, 13 inside technical & customer service personnel, a top-shelf lighting & energy team, a marketing dept., project dept., central distribution center, on & off/site training & education team, etc. We constantly position for continued success, educating the next generation of electrical professionals.

Randy Pinkofsky

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