Ideal Supply Company Ltd. was founded in Listowel in 1926 as a manufacturer of bread molding machines. Later the company purchased radio components and collaborated with a local furniture producer to assemble and distribute console radios. By the 1940’s the company had become a diversified wholesaler and retailer of hardware goods and automotive parts and supplies. Ideal’s downtown location, in what was formerly the Grand Hotel, was a lively enterprise marketing paint and appliances, toys and hardware, car parts and electronic components. By the 1960’s Ideal had opened 5 branch stores (Wingham, Mt Forest, Hanover, Goderich and Kincardine,) and had developed an aggressive sales team and professional programs to grow business in the Company’s trading area. In 1967, Ideal’s owner and president, John H. MacDonald moved the Listowel operation from the Main and Wallace corner location to it’s present site at the north end of town. The new building allowed space for a modern warehouse, office area, counter sales, and machine shop facility. This investment set the stage for further growth and the following decade saw the Company expand the branch network to include several communities in Central Ontario. An addition to the Listowel warehouse was necessary in the 70’s and another was required in the early 90’s to keep up with the space needed to stock over 80,000 SKU’s that the company now distributes to 10,000 customers, through a branch network of 23 stores from Huntsville in the north, to Woodstock in the south. Ideal’s sales organization is divided into 3 groups – the Automotive Division which markets NAPA Auto Parts and the services of the Machine Shops, the Electrical Division, which markets electrical supplies to residential and commercial contractors, and the Industrial Division, which markets all Ideal’s product catagories to Industrial customers, and includes the Automation Group, which focuses on industrial automation hardware and software. In recent years Ideal has developed expertise in the DataComm product sector to meet the need for increased data and voice connectivity in the home and workplace. Ideal Supply is still locally owned by the MacDonald family. The Listowel Head Office and Distribution Centre is home to the Company’s Sales Management, Purchasing Department, Administration and IT group, the warehouse staff and the first ISO 9002 engine rebuilding centre in North America. Ideal Associates are involved in all aspects of the community, supporting a variety of churches, service clubs, recreation and business organizations, and recently the United Way.