The History of Steiner
George Steiner

1916 & The Founder:
George S. Steiner

George S. Steiner was born in Chicago on August 27, 1887. Steiner grew up when electricity was coming into use and witnessed the city of Chicago evolving from gas mantle to electric lights.

Before starting Steiner Electric Company in 1916, George was a jewelry salesman until a customer asked George to find an electrical part. As any good “peddler” would, George found that part and quickly realized the need to fill a growing opportunity.


Steiner Electric Company was similar to the typical turn-of-the-century electrical distributor offering basic electrical supplies and lighting. The company expanded into an appliance dealership selling blenders, shavers, washing machines, radios, clocks, christmas lights, doorbells, and other consumer goods.

1950s & 1960s

The company published two catalogs; one for electrical supplies and the other for appliances. Over time the appliance dealerships became standalone retail marketers while lighting fixture showrooms aligned with electrical distributors.

Steiner eventually eliminated the appliance dealership and expanded its operation to 3500 N. Milwaukee, Chicago. The residential lighting showroom was increased, which became the largest outside the downtown area. As industrialization was booming in Chicago, so did Steiner’s operations in the industrial market.


Automation technology began to evolve, which introduced the Automation group. Steiner provided specialized products and services for the factory floor and the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) who service that market. The market and the need for a residential showroom began to shift. Steiner exited that market to focus more on B2B.



The company began to expand by opening branches in Rockford and St. Charles. The corporate office and distribution center moved to 1250 Elk Grove Village.


Steiner began to expand into several areas around Chicago. The company also began acquiring direct competitors while getting into new markets. By the 90s, Steiner was among the top 30 largest independent electrical distributors nationwide and one of the largest in the Chicagoland market.



Steiner focused on expanding its product and service offerings. At the time, Steiner had the most branch locations that served the Northern Illinois market and the most extensive inventory, “Chances are if Steiner doesn’t have it, no one does.” Steiner acquired Crown Industrial Supply, which became the Metalworking division.

2020 and beyond...

The company founded in Steiner’s entrepreneurial spirit continues to evolve. As markets change, so has the company. In recent years, Steiner has moved towards a centralized operating model. Steiner has recently built a 150,000 sq ft distribution center to centralize most deliveries and inventory. During COVID-19, all staff members that could work from home went remote. The remote working model has enabled the company to hire top talent from all over the nation.

2020 & Beyond