Adam Lewin vividly remembers “learning to work.”
He got an early start at his family business, Hamilton Parker – which sells building materials, such as tile, brick and other construction products – where he began stacking bricks and sweeping floors as a child. The company, which is celebrating 85 years in business, is marking the one-year anniversary of its Brooklyn Heights location at
1100 Resource Drive.
“The company was part of our lives,” Lewin said, fondly recalling his early years there. “It was the place I went when I was little on Saturdays to be with my dad.”
He’s still with the Columbus-based company – but now as owner. He’s the third generation to guide the Ohio institution which marks 85 years in business this year.
COO Christie Miller explained the longevity.
“We go out of our way to help the customer,” said Miller, who lives in Blacklick, Ohio, and attends Temple Beth Shalom in New Albany, Ohio.
Miller shared the story of a customer who needed a fireplace screen to complete the permitting process on their building project. With no delivery drivers available, a desk clerk offered to make the delivery on their way home. That type of can-do, roll up the shirt sleeves, work attitude has been with the company since its founding, she said.
In the early 1930s, the Hamilton-Parker Fuel and Supply company was struggling. The company changed hands twice, with Alvin and Gertrude Lewin eventually gaining ownership. The couple guided the company out of those tough early years, transforming it from a coal-selling company to one focused on a more forward-thinking inventory.
In 1960, Milton Lewin, Alvin Lewin’s son, joined the company, eventually purchasing it. With the new owner came a new look at the future of the company. As his father had, Milton Lewin diversified Hamilton Parker’s offerings to include tiles, brick and masonry, pre-fab fireplaces and garage doors.
After working his way up to become president, Adam Lewin purchased Hamilton Parker in 2005. While he’s overseen a number of “updates” to the company, the biggest has been its expansion across the state. In addition to the Northeast Ohio location, the company also has locations in Sharonville, a suburb of Cincinnati, and Delaware.
Even though the company grew substantially, it’s never strayed far from the roots of its success, Adam Lewin said. All of that history is important to the Bexley, Ohio, resident who attends Congregation Tifereth Israel in Columbus, not just personally, but professionally as well.
“As we’ve grown,” he said, “I wanted to make sure our story, our history, was known to our employees.”
While some of the 140 employees are an intrinsic part of that history, having been employed there for more than thirty years, continuing to connect them with the fabric of the company is important to Adam Lewin.
“My grandparents would be very proud of the attention we pay to our employees,” he said.
You don’t stay somewhere 85 years without becoming involved in the community. The company and Lewin family support a number of local Jewish organizations and community groups. They encourage employees to give back as well by providing them with paid time off to use for volunteer efforts.
What do the next 85 years hold for Hamilton Parker? The only certainty is the opening of a new and expanded Columbus showroom later this year. As for the next generation of leaders, Adam Lewin has hope – he has three children, Lola, 11, Mila, 7, and Gage, 2, with his wife, Stephanie – but no plans are lined up
“The next generation isn’t old enough,” he said.
The company's Cleveland showroom in Brooklyn Heights is celebrating its one year anniversary.
Noell Wolfgram Evans is a freelance writer.