In 1901, a 20-year-old Russian entrepreneur named Louis Davidson boarded a ship bound for America. Louis had hoped to sail into New York Harbor, but he could find passage only aboard a vessel bound for Mobile, Alabama. That was still America, the land of opportunity, so he took it.
“For Meyer and Sammie, building relationships and trust were most important. Everything else followed.”
Undeterred, he tried his hand at a number of enterprises. In 1918, he opened a scrap-metal business and finally found his niche. The name of his new company reflected his ambitions of expanding beyond Mississippi: the St. Louis Junk Company.
Louis’s sons, Meyer and Sammie, joined the business in 1930, and in 1938, the company sold its first carload of steel pipe. Within a year, the focus of the business shifted to plumbing supply, and the name changed to Southern Pipe & Supply Company.
Meyer and Sammie weren’t business-school graduates or corporate managers, and they only knew one way to operate a business: family style. They treated both customers and employees with respect and affection—a spirit that lives on today at Southern Pipe & Supply. In fact, we still refer to our employees as “family members.” For Meyer and Sammie, building relationships and trust were most important. Everything else followed from that.
Marty Davidson, Meyer’s son, learned that philosophy early. He began stocking shelves at age 5 and took over the company in 1968. Today, he’s the Chairman of one of the largest wholesalers of top-quality, name-brand plumbing, heating, air-conditioning (HVAC), industrial, mechanical, and waterworks materials in the Southeast. Jay, his son, is president–representing the fourth generation to carry on the family legacy.
Southern Pipe & Supply now has more than 100 locations in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. We distribute products from the world’s most renowned vendors, such as Kohler, Delta, Elkay, Pfister, Rheem, Watts, Zurn, Lennox and Ridgid—just to name a few. And we offer the best customer service in the industry, simply because that’s the only way we know how to do business.
We still think about Louis Davidson. We try to imagine the excitement he must have felt as that ship carried him toward the American dream. We do our best every day to try to make him proud.