From its humble beginnings in 1974, with a single location in Big Rock, VA, United Central Industrial Supply has grown to become the largest mine supply distribution company in the United States and Canada. While the company has certainly changed in the last 31 years, one thing has not, the company's commitment to being the best mine supply distribution company in the mining industry.
    Quality products, technological awareness, a strong focus on customer service, value added services and dependable deliveries have been the cornerstones of United Central's success. Mine operators have come to rely on United Central for a full range of mining supplies, electrical and electronic products, many of which are offered exclusively by United Central.
    Growth has been a key component of United Central's success. Not content to be a regional player in the mining supply industry, United Central grew by virtue of seven key acquisitions made at various points in its history. In 1976, the purchase of Buchanan Wholesale added a second Buchanan County, VA location in Oakwood. This was followed by the addition of a Man, WV branch store in 1978 and a branch in Martin, KY in 1980. Moves such as this significantly broadened the company's sphere of operations within the Appalachian coalfields.
    In 1989, the purchase of Central Supply Company more than doubled the size of United Central. This was followed by the purchase of the Buchanan Supply and Erwin Supply companies in 1993. The addition of R & H Supply in 1995 marked the company's first acquisition with locations outside the Appalachian coalfields; R & H having locations in western KY and in southern IL. 
    In 2001, United Central acquired certain assets of Morgantown National Supply, that being particularly the components that comprised the former National Mine Service. This acquisition brought with it, United Central's first branch locations in the west (CO, UT, and WY) as well as locations in AL, PA, and Canada. 
    Now truly a nationwide, as well as multi-national company, United Central's management might have been content to rest on its laurels. Not so, for in June of 2005, United Central's newest acquisition was brought on line. A & C Cable & Equipment Company, located in Stanaford, WV, carries one of the premier lines of mining electrical cable in the industry, that being General Cable's Anaconda brand. A & C also provides electrical cable repair services and equipment rebuild services.


Darrell Cole

Seldon Johnson

Allen Curtis

Henry Looney

    Today, United Central is comprised of 19 US branch locations in ten different coal-producing states, including: Va (5), Wv (4), KY (3), PA, AL, IL, IA, CO, UT, and WY. The company also maintains a location in Saskatchewan, Canada operating under the name of National Mine Service of Canada. From these locations, the company is capable of serving all of North America's mining regions.
    The most important element in United Central's growth and success is its people. Three of the company's senior managers have been with the company for over 26 of the company's 31 years. "Not many companies can say that their management team has stayed together as long as ours has," stated Company President and CEO, Darrell Cole proudly. "Just as important, more than half of our 220 employees have been with this company or this industry for more than 15 years, many of those for more than 20 years," Darrell stated. "This experience level allows our people to have a unique understanding of our customer's needs and solutions to their everyday problems. Very few companies can say they have the experience, expertise, and stability that United Central offers its customers," he concluded.


    Darrell Cole, a Russell County, VA native, has devoted nearly his entire career, almost 30 years, to United Central. Darrell, along with Vice Presidents, Henry Looney, Seldon Johnson, and CFO, Allen Curtis, are equity partners in United Central with The Riverside Company of New York, NY. The Riverside Company is one of the leading private equity firms specializing in premier companies at the lower end of the middle market.
    Another of United Central's strengths can be found in the product lines it has to offer the mining industry. "We have over 43,000 SKU's (Stock Keeping Units) representing the largest and most recognized manufacturers of mining related products," says Henry Looney, United Central's Vice President of Materials Management. "Our employees work closely with our customers to insure that the products critical to their operations are always in stock. We also are constantly on the lookout for new products, which can improve the efficiency and productivity of our customers," concluded Henry. Henry is a 26-year employee of United Central and a Buchanan County, VA native.


    "We have one of if not the most experienced sales force in the mining supply industry," says Vice President of Sales, Seldon Johnson. "Our sales our customer s. They are constantly being updated on new products. We also employ product specialists who can provide their expertise on many of our more technical lines. This is a critical service to our customers, since many of the products that we offer are exclusive to United Central. This is just one of the many ways that we add value to the products that we sell," states Seldon. Seldon began his career at United Central 30 years ago, as an outside salesman. Seldon is an eastern Kentucky native and has served the mining industry his entire career. 
    One of the tools United Central utilizes to keep abreast of issues and trends that affect its individual customers, the mining industry in general and the industrial distribution business is its participation in numerous trade associations. These include but are not limited to the: Industrial Distributors Association, Virginia Mining Association, West Virginia Coal Association, Illinois Mining Institute, Eastern Coal Council, Alabama Coal Association, Mine Safety Institute, Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the Instrument Society of America. United Central personnel actively participate in these organizations by serving on their boards and committees.
    United Central maintains its corporate headquarters in Bristol, Virginia. At the Bristol location, the company houses its executive management, centralized accounting, purchasing, information services and human resources groups.
    Where does United Central's management see the company's future? "We certainly plan to continue to seek additional market share," says Darrell. "Our private equity partner, The Riverside Company, is also not bashful in its support of additional acquisitions that will both grow and strengthen our company. On behalf of the management team and all the employees of United Central, I would like to thank our customers for their past and continued patronage. I can emphatically say that our commitment to the mining industry has never been stronger and that we look forward to a bright future together."


For more information on United Central, please visit their web site at 
www.unitedcentral.net . cl

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