Wholesale Trade Sector Summary

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In the wholesale sector, goods are sold in bulk to retailers, who then sell smaller quantities directly to consumers. As with the retail sector, the businesses found in the wholesale sector cover a wide range of products, from dry goods to automotive parts and from food to equipment.

In the 1856 Baker's Map, there is a business directory for Wooster, Ohio. Some of the wholesalers listed include: W. J. Frost & Co.; Isaac Jones; and J. W. Kobh & Co. Most were wholesalers in groceries and dry goods.

Today’s wholesalers include businesses that supply: automotive parts to manufacturers, car dealers, and retail stores; packaging materials and other business needs to restaurants and other food services; plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and other construction parts and equipment to local businesses; and more.

One such notable business began in 1909, when John and Peter Schmid borrowed $300 from a neighbor. With the money, they purchased two horses, two wagons, an assortment of milk bottles, cans, dippers, and a hand-crank ice cream freezer. With their new purchases, they set off to make a name for themselves. With their horses and wagon, the two brothers delivered about 60 gallons of milk to nearly 200 homes in Orrville, Ohio. The residents soon started to call them "the Smith Brothers". This small venture has led to one of the largest industries in Orrville today -- the Smith Merchant Wholesalers - Durable Goods Company (Generations of Excellence: Smith Merchant Wholesalers - Durable Goods Company, page 2).