Capitol District Supply’s history tells the tale of a family beginning a business and then extending beyond itself. We’re proud of our family heritage, and proud to have been a part of the growth of the upstate region since our founding in 1945.
Highlights of our years in business include:
1945 – Hy Zima opened a plumbing supply branch for a New York City business at 800 Broadway in Albany. Believing Albany to be a great place to work and live, Hy bought out the business later that year, borrowing heavily and forcing him and his wife Anne to scrimp and save wherever possible to make ends meet. Employee George Rickert joined Hy that first year and wouldn’t retire for some 52 years. The business moved across Broadway late in the decade into a bigger building that had a small fire which the owners didn’t want to repair. Hy and George would spend long nights working on the building.
1954-1970 – As the Korean War shortages ended, the area around Albany expanded. Capitol’s business continued to grow. Despite working many late nights, Hy Zima always tried to make it home for dinner with his wife and three children. Young sons Bob and Terry climbed all over the storage areas in the warehouse in Albany, learning about the business and its products, and stuffing literature for 25 cents a day.
In the early 1960s, when Capitol’s original structure was taken by eminent domain to build a parking lot, Anne and Hy decided to build a new 10,000 square foot facility across the street at 850 Broadway, with a much larger showroom, offices, and warehouse space. The Grand Opening of the facility on weekend of November 23, 1963, planned as a festive occasion with local politicians joining the celebration, was dimmed by the tragic death of President Kennedy the day before.
1970s – The 1970s brought Hy’s two sons and son-in-law into the business. Ken, son-in-law of Hy and Anne, brought his engineering and corporate experience to Capitol when he joined in 1972. He used those talents extensively when the oil embargo of 1973 made reliable space and water-heating topics of great interest. Son Terry joined the company full-time in 1974, adding his business schooling and experiences as a bank examiner. Son Bob joined the company in 1977, providing expertise in industrial arts and experience from the mills and factories of Maine.
The 30th anniversary of the company in 1975 brought a major renovation of 850 Broadway, adding 10,000 square feet to the warehouse, four new shipping docks, a two-tier shed, and new pipe yards. Capitol overhauled its office space and added a conference room. The first of two major trade shows marked the opening of the new facilities.
1980s – Capitol celebrated its 35th anniversary with a gala dinner-dance in 1980. Sadly, on Memorial Day weekend in 1982, company founder Hy Zima suffered a massive heart attack and died. His funeral was one of the largest the funeral director could remember for a non-politician—a testament to Hy’s love of his family, business associates, and community. The family decided to push on in Hy’s memory.
Changes and innovations marked the rest of the decade. Capitol was one of the first plumbing wholesalers in the area to use personal computers and main frames. In 1986, Capitol became a multi-branch company with the opening of its Saratoga Springs facility. Capitol also began exhibiting at Home Shows in the 1980s, a tradition that continued for many, many years.
1990s – While the recession of the early 90s hit the region hard, Capitol weathered the ups and downs as it always has with a focus on dedicated customer service. This was, by most counts, the fourteenth recession since Hy started the company in 1945. The company expanded its network by purchasing the assets of Marco Supply and opened in Schenectady. All during the decade, the big-box home centers continued to expand into our region, but Capitol continued to excel by offering superior service, technical knowledge, and diversified products. Our strong relationships with contractors and builders have carried us through the new “do-it-yourself” era.
Early 2000s – The new millennium began with Capitol continuing to excel in customer service. We put this commitment into action with the installation of our enterprise state-of-the-art Eclipse Wholesale Distribution System, which allows the company and all of its associates to provide immediate information to our customers. Beginning in 2004, Capitol began a renovation of all of its showrooms and counters. The remodeled showrooms, which feature KOHLER fixtures for kitchen and bath and exquisite displays of Wellborn cabinetry, reflect the continued popularity of upscale products and elegant homes in the area.
Late 2000’s – Capitol celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2005. Through the past six decades, Capitol has strived to keep current with modern times and technologies, while remaining true to its founding principles. The third generation joined Capitol District Supply during this time to take our company well into the future. When the recession hit in 2008, Capitol is proud to not only have survived, but thrived. We didn’t fall victim to expediency, as many in our industry did. We did not downsize our locations or our staffing during this time, keeping our devotion to our employees and our customers.
2013 – Capitol again began to update all our showrooms once again to bring fresh new ideas to our customers. During this time we brought on several new kitchen lines to showcase the multitude of product offerings available on the market including Decora & Kemper cabinets by MasterBrand, Executive Cabinetry, Cambria Quartz Tops and much, much more! We also re-branded our showrooms with the name ‘New Visions Kitchens & Baths by Capitol’ to better identify our showrooms’ mission to the public We want to take the customer’s vision of a new kitchen or bath and help bring it to reality!
Today – Capitol proudly continues to have decades long relationships with many of our customers, vendors, and manufactures. For example, we have been supplying Delta Faucets and American Water Heaters since the 1950’s, Kohler since the 1990’s, and many more. In addition, we continually try to bring in new products and manufactures, like Slant-Fin Boilers and MasterBrand cabinets, to continue to provide excellent product offerings to our customers.