History of Our Wholesale Company
Our sole purpose of being in business is to provide our customers with the best possible service that we are able to give, the customers are the foundation of the business.
We believe the best way to run a company is with the highest level of integrity, loyalty and honesty and give the utmost respect to our customers in the hopes to receive the same.
Our vision at Lestz Wholesale is simple, we are here to help you succeed.
Lestz Wholesale: History of Our Wholesale Company
In 1907 brothers Jacob, Samuel and Harry Lestz opened Lestz Brothers Dry Goods at 13 W. Chestnut Street. By 1944, Jacob had taken over the business and moved it to 15 S. Prince Street. In 1960, he moved the business to the old Food Fair grocery store building on 436 W. James Street in Lancaster, PA.
“Money isn’t everything,” Jacob said once about his business. “It’s good spirit and good will.”
As a side note, one of Jacobs children, Gerald Lestz was very active in local civic organizations, helping found and run many local organizations. He was a reporter for the Lancaster New Era, writing the “Scribbler” column for many years. He was also an author, writing about 30 books and booklets on the county, the Amish, folklore and history, including Baer’s Almanac.
In 1970, Jacob’s daughter Minna and her husband Aaron Cohen took over the business, and in 1978 renamed it Lestz & Company.
“With everything mega, like these Wal-Marts,” said Aaron, “we still strive to keep the small businessman alive. I feel that the small business is the backbone of this country.”
Aaron and Minna ran the business, along with their daughter Sheila, until selling it in 2002 to long-time employee Denise Cook and her husband Fred.
In 2014, the Cook’s sold the business to John Shirk, who changed the name to Lestz Wholesale LLC. He moved the business to Intercourse, PA, operating out of the old W. L. Zimmerman & Sons grocery store building, owned by his wife Kristine Shirk. Kristine still operates W. L. Zimmerman & Sons True Value hardware store on the same property, and is the 5th generation Zimmerman to run the business.
Interestingly, W. L. Zimmerman & Sons has been a customer of Lestz Wholesale since opening in 1909. Kristine Shirk and Sheila Cohen recently agreed that their grandfathers, Jacob Lestz and Elmer Zimmerman would be thrilled to see the businesses relationship continue in this way.
Today, Lestz Wholesale can boast that it has been doing business with as many as 6 generations of local family-owned business since it opened in 1907.
Though the business has evolved throughout the years, one thing has remained the same. Lestz has always remained true to its roots of supporting the small business. Many of the business’s customers can not order the large minimums required by manufacturers, and rely on Lestz Wholesale to sell them smaller amounts, as Lestz Wholesale has no minimum order amount.