Fastenal fills industrial supplier niche in Lynn

LYNN ? If you need to buy a single nut and bolt or a light bulb for your bedside reading lamp, don’t go to Fastenal.In fact, if you’re in the market for a pair of rubber gloves, a battery for your radio, or a tube of glue to fix Aunt Emma’s broken china platter, Fastenal isn’t the place to shop.But should you require dozens of screws and bolts, a case of mops and buckets, concrete anchors, welding equipment, threaded rods, construction adhesives, pipefitting devices, or a variety of industrial power tools, odds are you’ll find in on the shelves at the 211 Broad St. storefront on Route 1A, near the corner of Washington Street.Fastenal might be described as a hardware store on steroids, able to accommodate demanding customers who require voluminous quantities of each product. For instance, Fastenal provides some customers like G&J Towing in Revere with a bin that is delivered to the business and kept stocked to the requested level with screws, bolts, washers and other fasteners.”Customers like G&J go through a lot of hardware,” said Matt DiGiovanni, manager of the Lynn store. “We have to keep them stocked so that they aren’t constantly having to run back here to order more of whatever it is they need. One of our employees can go to the bin at G&J, scan the bar codes on each compartment, and know exactly what has been used and what needs to be restocked right on site.”Other major customers in the area include the GE River Works aircraft engine factory and the Old Neighborhood meat company, both in Lynn; Ribcraft, the inflatable boat builder in Marblehead; and Aggregate Industries in Swampscott, Saugus and Peabody.”Ribcraft goes through a lot of fasteners and electrical contacts. Ninety percent of the fasteners and contacts they use are bought from us,” DiGiovanni said.Fastenal does $2 billion in annual sales and the name goes a long way toward explaining what goods and services it provides. “We carry just about any kind of fastener you can think of n mechanical fasteners, chemical fasteners. And we carry the tools you need to do the job,” said DiGiovanni. “We sell a lot to MROs (maintenance and repair operations) and also to the automotive industry. So we’re less a hardware store, or what most people think of as a hardware store, and more of an industrial supply store. If you need a certain size screw, you go to the hardware store. If you need a box of 100 of those screws, you come to us.”The Lynn store, which opened in November 2006, stocks an array of power tools from manufacturers such as Dewalt, Bosch and Metabo.”We’re actually the largest Bosch dealership in the U.S.,” said DiGiovanni, a Marblehead resident.The shelves are laden with janitorial supplies, everything from cleaning solutions to food service equipment. Storage and packaging materials like casters, ladders, bins and pallet trucks are also available, as is a line of hydraulic and pneumatic products including fittings, hoses, valves and high-pressure hoses.The first Fastenal store opened in Winona, Minnesota in 1967. The company has since grown to 2,150 locations worldwide. Of those, 147 were opened in 2007.”We were looking for a location in Lynn when this building came to our attention,” DiGiovanni said, referring to the single-story structure that was the site of the first Sonny’s Car Wash decades ago. “It’s perfect. It’s easy to find. Right on Route 1A. It has plenty of room and a secure shipping area that allows our trucks to pull in and unload even if we’re not here.”Stores are also located in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, China, the Dominican Republic, and Singapore. The company has more than 12,000 employees.Fastenal has a fleet of 180 tractor-trailers, a cargo plane, and more than 3,600 smaller delivery vehicles so that the company need not depend on commercial carriers.The store interior is brightly lit, the aisles wide, the shelves neatly stocked. If customers can’t find what they’re looking for in Lynn, the company catalog is thick as a M

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