E.B. Horsman and Son History

At the turn of the 20th Century, George Dennis Horsman left home in Hamilton, Ontario and bought a CPR rail pass to move west. Not knowing what to expect, his only possessions were a Colt revolver and a knapsack. He stopped in Regina to work at a local hardware store. Shortly thereafter, a hardware store in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, a village on the CPR main line, became available. Unfortunately, because he was underage (under 21 years of age), he was unable to proceed with the purchase. Undeterred, George Dennis contacted his father, Edward B. Horsman who agreed to meet his son in Moosomin and in the early fall days of 1900, the company E.B. Horsman and Son was formed.

In 1907 George Dennis Horsman married a local Saskatchewan girl. Their honeymoon was a trip to Vancouver, B.C. Whatever their reason, it took them only 24 hours to fall in love with Vancouver. In a matter of hours they had cashed in their return tickets and telegraphed “E.B.” to sell out and join them in paradise. In the fall of 1907 the Company name, E.B. HORSMAN & SON RETAIL HARDWARE MERCHANTS, appeared in Vancouver at 819 Granville Street.

The hardware business prospered. After Thomas Edison invented the incandescent lamp, a whole range of electrical materials swept North America. In 1923 George Dennis decided, with good insight, to open a small “Electrical Supply” division. Within two years and business being so successful, he decided to drop the balance of the hardware business and become an electrical wholesaler. In 1928 the Company constructed its first company-owned 8400 square foot warehouse at 562 Burrard Street, which in those days was a residential area

The E.B. Horsman & Son success story is a tribute to the dedicated and hard-working employees who treat their customers in an honest and consistent manner.

George Dennis had two sons, Harry and Edward. In the 1930′s, both sons went into the business. Because George Dennis and Edward were “not compatible in the same office”, George Dennis’ wife insisted that a position be found elsewhere in the Company for Edward. And so it was that in 1937, the Company opened its first branch in Victoria. We were one of the first independent distributors in Canada to begin a Branch Sales Network. With the success of this branch, during the 1940′s and 1950′s branches were opened in the interior of British Columbia at Penticton, Prince George, Kamloops, and Dawson Creek.

Harry and Edward took full responsibility for the Company after their father’s death in 1948. It remained under their direction until 1965, when Edward died unexpectedly. With the assistance of Harry’s son, George, Harry Horsman remained active in the Company until the mid-1970′s. After that date, George and his team of managers took over the day-to-day control of the firm.

During the 70′s and 80′s Terrace, Campbell River, Williams Lake, Richmond, Vernon, Cranbrook, Langley, Surrey, and Duncan saw branches added to our network. The 90′s have seen new locations opened in Parksville and Courtenay on the island as well as complete facelifts or brand new facilities established at each of our existing branches. 1996 saw the opening of our Cloverdale Head Office and ISO9001:2000 registered distribution facility featuring state of the art radio frequency scanners and bar code equipment and associated software. This facility provides daily stock replenishment to our entire sales branch organization allowing for unparalleled product service levels.

In 1979, Harry Horsman was the first person to be made an Honorable Life Member of the Canadian Electrical Distributors Association, in recognition of the many years’ service that he gave to the industry. Today the company is still 100% independently owned and operated with Tim Horsman, a fifth generation Horsman, as President and CEO. Tim joined the company in 1999 and is actively involved in all facets of the company’s operations. Tim actively contributes to the Canadian electrical community where he currently sits on the Electro-Federation Canada Membership Committee; a member of the Affiliated Distributors Executive Council & Board; and is the past Chair of both the BC Electrical Association and Electrical Federation of Canada. Tim looks forward to ensuring long term sustainable growth for one the few family businesses to thrive for 5 generations.

We have the largest branch network in the province. We provide quotation services to electrical contractors and have substantial contracts with government and prime resource companies. To support our industrial and OEM customers, we have a Process, Automation, and Controls support group, who provide a range of industrial automation and control products and services including Industrial PC’s, programmable controllers, sensors, variable speed drives and motion control packages. As well, we continue to make considerable investments in computerization in order to have the technology to respond to our customers’ needs in the future. As active members of Affiliated Distributors, North America’s largest marketing group for independent distributors, we enjoy the purchasing power, technical prowess, and business synergies of this 13 billion-dollar organization.

The E.B. Horsman & Son success story is a tribute to the dedicated and hard-working employees who treat their customers in an honest and consistent manner. Two such people, George Dennis Horsman, our co-founder, and Harry George Horsman, his son, epitomized these virtues. Both of these men were tireless workers who made it their life-long passion to see E.B. Horsman grow and prosper, while offering compassion, fairness and decency in their business dealings

When we speak of “company image”, we think both of them would succinctly point out that the Company’s image is a composite of how each of them lived on the twenty-four hour basis, not some glitzy, Madison Avenue slogan. We believe “good customer service” is the foundation of our success and it goes deeper than that.