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Cole Harford – Pioneers in Redistribution

Cole Harford began in 1915 as the H.J. Cole Company with offices in St. Louis and Kansas City. Six years later the original founders split to form two companies – H.J. Cole in Kansas City and Harford Company in St. Louis. The simple “handshake agreement” between them produced a unique territorial arrangement that allowed both companies to operate without any conflicts while they grew side-by-side, selling many of the same products for over 50 years.

1972 saw H.J. Cole purchase the Harford company, merging the two similar companies, and in 1980 the company name was changed to Cole Harford. Thus, the cycle and transformation back into a single corporation, begun 65 years earlier, was complete.

The founding fathers of Cole Harford were pioneers of the Redistribution industry. They were among the first to define the role of a true Redistributor on their 1915 company letterhead when H.J. Cole announced to the world they were “Distributors Of Paper Products and Associated Items to the Exclusive Wholesale Trade.”

Cole Harford has operated for almost 100 years as a Redistributor and broker of disposable products. In the early years the products included wash boards, milk bottle caps, mouse traps and lard buckets; today’s products include food service disposables, jan-san chemicals and equipment. What has not changed is the Cole Harford philosophy of sales exclusively to the wholesale trade and commitment to growing our customers’ businesses. Our distributor partners work with Cole Harford’s professional sales representatives and experience exceptional customer service only Cole Harford can offer.

As part of their commitment to wholesale trade, Cole Harford joined the R3 Reliable Redistribution Resource team in October 2006.


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