The W.A. Roosevelt Co. had its modest beginning in the basement of a La Crosse, Wisconsin building back in 1868. At that time, Captain W.A. Roosevelt began the business as a small steamfitters shop, with boats and mills as his first customers. We were known as a wholesaler of wrought iron pipe and fittings, brass goods and engine trimmings, pumps and mill supplies.
There are many interesting historical points during the formative years of the W.A. Roosevelt Company. Several involve W.A. Roosevelt himself, as he served as one of the early mayors of La Crosse in the 1880’s, and the fact W.A. was a first cousin of Teddy Roosevelt. Equally as interesting, W.A. Roosevelt Company was lead by three female Presidents between the years of W.A. Roosevelt’s death in 1894 and 1910 – certainly far and away at the leading edge of today’s trend of female corporate leaders.
Further, W.A. Roosevelt Company was a pioneer into several new product categories of the times; electrical components at the early stages of the commercialization of electricity in 1916, the creation of a radio department in 1922 shortly after the formation of RCA to secure U.S. international control of the Alexanderson radio alternator-transmitter technology in 1919, and the formation of a residential and commercial refrigeration department very early for this technology’s beginning in 1938. Related to refrigeration, James Trane was an early employee of the W.A. Roosevelt Company, and lore has it that his W.A. Roosevelt experiences lead to several innovations and the worldwide success of what is now The Trane Company, also headquartered in La Crosse.
For 110 years, the W.A. Roosevelt Company was a fixture of downtown La Crosse, until 1978 when the business built a more modernized distribution facility in the newly formed Interstate Industrial Park on La Crosse’s north side. Today, the company remains headquartered in this La Crosse facility, along with an additional 40,000 sqft warehouse and Lights & Baths Showroom acting as bookends to the original building. Additionally, W.A. Roosevelt has four Wisconsin-based branch operations in Madison, Plover, Rice Lake, and New Berlin.
W.A. Roosevelt currently employs 98 people and has revenues of nearly $40,000,000 and is a prominent wholesale distributor of materials, equipment and supplies for the plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, and HVAC trades, as well as the industrial and institutional community throughout Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
On January 31, 2012, W.A. Roosevelt joined forces with Dakota Supply Group (DSG). DSG is one of the Midwest’s fastest-growing distributors of innovative electrical, plumbing, HVAC, communications, utility, metering technology, automation, and waterworks products. Established in 1898, the employee-owned company will now have 16 DSG locations throughout Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, as well as five W.A. Roosevelt locations in Wisconsin. With nearly 400 employees throughout its organization, DSG's headquarters is in Fargo, ND.