Wiseway was founded by Rodney "Biz" and Jackie Cain in 1972 in Florence, Kentucky. Biz was an important player in the Northern Kentucky business arena. The nickname, and name by which most know him, came from his grandfather after he noticed Biz's thirst for learning about business.
(From left to right: David Cain, Charlie Cain, Jackie Cain, Rodney "Biz" Cain, John Cain)
Biz was wonderfully talented and was a powerful leader who wasn't afraid to do the dirty work. His experience of building, selling, and understanding the needs of Northern Kentucky residents and businesses alike placed Wiseway in a position to become successful from the beginning.
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Milestones of Wiseway Supply
In business, you have to learn how to roll with the punches. Just five years after starting the business, in 1978, the roof collapsed at Wiseway's location on Dixie Highway in Florence. That summer, Biz relocated the business across the street to a larger building that remains today.
(Biz at the Florence location on Dixie Highway)
In 1985, Wiseway made the acquisition of Bluegrass Plumbing & Electrical Supply. A couple years later, Wiseway entered the computer age with a new software system. It's hard to imagine nowadays that businesses began without laptops and cell phones!
Biz's oldest son, John, after graduating from University of Kentucky in 1988, joined Wiseway to work for his father as General Manager. His thirst for learning mirrored his father's as John continued his education, and in 1993, John graduated from Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University.
(Biz and Jackie Cain)
In 1994, John became President of Wiseway Supply. Two years later, his father retired.
In the early 2000s, Wiseway began growing quickly. A branch in Aurora, Indiana and Harrison, Ohio opened after the acquisition of Aurora Supply and by 2003, another branch opened in Loveland.
After the housing market began spiraling downward in 2007, Wiseway experienced its first lay-offs in the company history. The toll that the Great Recession took was evident in 2009 when Wiseway experienced a large loss. At the end of the year, a third and final set of lay-offs took place, cutting deep and wide.
Onward and Upward
(John and Charlie Cain behind the not-street-legal Wiseway car)
After 2012, there was a long line of growth as John steered Wiseway forward. First, Wiseway made an acquisition that turned into the Hamersville, Ohio branch. John then had his sights on a distribution center that could carry the capacity for growth that Wiseway was planning. In 2014, Wiseway built the Blue Ash distribution center combining it with the existing Loveland branch. The next area of growth and technology happened in the following year when Wiseway established the RF system that helped increase warehouse efficiency and accuracy.
In 2015, The Bank of Kentucky sold to BB&T and John served on the BB&T Local Advisory Board. In the same year, Wiseway added Kohler to their plumbing menu - pleasing homeowners, builders, and plumbers alike with the higher-end brand. Soon after, Rheem water heaters joined the plumbing line-up. In the same year, Wiseway opened a branch in West Union, Ohio creating its 7th branch.
Biz passed away at age 78 on December 1st, 2016. His passing pulled at the heartstrings of Northern Kentucky. The line for his visitation seemed to wrap around the funeral home endlessly, which spoke for how many lives Biz touched.
In August of 2017, a portion of Kentucky Route 536 was dedicated as the "Biz Cain Memorial Highway".
So the next time you happen to be driving through Northern Kentucky, tip your hat when you drive by "Cain-Tuckee Acres"!
In 2019, Wiseway acquired the Lexington-based company Kentucky Lighting. This increased Wiseway's southern reach and added 3 branches - Lexington, Georgetown, and Frankfort.
During the acquisition, Wiseway maintained their focus on customer service with virtually no personnel overlap. The joining of the two companies with similar family-owned values and history has been well received by customers and employees alike!
Alzheimer's has impacted our Wiseway family like so many others. For our 50th anniversary, we pause to honor the memories of those we've lose to this debilitating disease.
Join us in helping to end Alzheimer's!
Have a memory of Biz or Wiseway that you'd like to share? Leave us a comment below!