Butler Bros. was founded in 1952 by John and Frank Butler to serve the booming footwear industry that was prevalent throughout Northern New England following World War II. John and Frank, the original “Butler Brothers” saw a need to provide products and service for the growing industry. They became the “go-to” experts on shoe eyelets, abrasives, rubber products, and stitching supplies all used in shoe factories and tanneries. They stocked product locally and often delivered in their station wagons. Their vision then, was much like the vision today – “to provide personalized service at a fair price.”

John’s son, Pat Butler, joined the company after college in 1979. At that time, the shoe industry was going through a transformation. Factories producing footwear had many people doing lots of hand work (stitching, sanding, cementing, etc.) and with the increasing costs, the industry began moving offshore to Mexico, China, and Vietnam where labor costs were much lower.

Since John and Frank had built a great foundation of sales and service, Pat quickly realized that the company needed to pivot and serve other industries if it was going to survive into the future. With a great foundation of local stock and great customer service, Pat recognized that he could take some of the products sold to the footwear and tannery industries to other industries.

In 1980, Pat began selling Norton coated abrasives to the furniture industry and landed a big contract with a large ship builder in Maine – Bath Iron Works. He also hired two people from an industrial distributor in Portland, Maine that was closing. The two individuals were strong in cutting tools and equipment related to the metalworking industry. Now, Butler Bros. was becoming a full-line industrial distributor of cutting tools, abrasives, safety, packaging, and general MRO products.

In 2000, Butler Bros. moved into their current home, a 68,000 sq. ft. building in Lewiston, Maine. In subsequent years they acquired smaller distributors in other regions that shared their same vision of providing exceptional customer service. Today, with home base still in Lewiston, Maine, they have branch locations in Syracuse, NY, Randolph, MA, Greensboro, NC, and New London, NH. Over the years, Butler Bros. has hired many hard working and dedicated people who remain the cornerstone of their success.