Growth via opportunity – HEP Sales in Upstate New York is built on success from diverse product offerings, and is grounded in old-fashioned service.
There was a day in 1988 when John Krueger walked into his uncle George’s office at HEP Sales and had one of those moments that changes a guy’s career.
Until then, John had been working for the family company in Geneva N.Y., at a job that he took because he couldn’t find anything else in his field after college. The small chain of heating, electrical and plumbing supply shops was owned by his uncles George and Francis Sullivan. Like many, John had started out thinking he was in the wrong place because it wasn’t “what I majored in.”
John started with HEP Sales fresh out of college. He had graduated with honors with a business degree from Brockport State University, but couldn’t find a job. He was about to be married when his uncles— his mother’s brothers who opened HEP in 1961— asked if he needed a job at the store. He took them up on the offer and started the day after his honeymoon.
“We came back on Sunday, I started working here on Monday,” John said. “I’ve been here ever since. That was 32 years ago.”
John recalls doing the math on his first paycheck and realizing he was a college grad working for $16,000 a year. “From there,” he said, “I literally did everything to learn the business. One summer, at the end of August, it was 100 degrees and I was on a steel roof of our warehouse putting tar on screw holes.”
He really cut his teeth on the sales side of the business, a job that John commuted to an hour each way. He worked as a salesman for a couple of years, and was later promoted to store manager. At the time, HEP was a business that literally sold what the name stood for: Heating, Electrical and Plumbing.