Brammall Supply began in 1873. The Civil War had been over for just eight years and Ulysses S. Grant was President. Susan B. Anthony was fined 100 dollars for attempting to vote, and Levi Strauss had just been awarded a patent for blue jeans. In Benton Harbor, a young English immigrant founded a new business that would eventually span three centuries.
A tinsmith and plumber by trade, Edward Brammall began his work life in Chicago. In 1869, after several years in the Windy City, Brammall heard word of a bustling community across Lake Michigan, Benton Harbor. The economic activity generated by Benton Harbor’s new ship canal spelled opportunity. Four years later, in 1873, Edward Brammall opened the E. Brammall farm implement and hardware store near Water Street in downtown Benton Harbor.
The company evolved into a key supplier of farm, plumbing and industrial mill supplies. The warehouse was strategically located at the end of the ship canal, where in winter months Brammall was known as a champion figure skater. In time, he became a Benton Harbor alderman, a member of the Masons, and a leader in the city. Edward Brammall lived to the age of 96, leaving a legacy and a business that still carries his name.
Wallace Nichols was a long time employee to Edward Brammall and became owner in the early 1900s. In 1940, Nichols sold Brammall Supply to Howard Ankli and later partnered with his brother, Kenneth, in 1943. Kenneth was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1945. His son Kenneth Jr. joined Howard in ownership at the conclusion of World War II.
Since the formation of Brammall Supply by Edward Brammall, the company has shared ownership with only 3 other families: 1 generation of the Wallace Nichols family, three generations of the Howard Ankli family, and current ownership resides with the Nemic family.
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