2020 marks the 40th year since ARB Electrical Wholesalers was founded by Alan Ronald Burke. Through his innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and unyielding passion for providing customers with exceptional service, the business has grown to one of the largest distributors of electrical products on the continent.
From humble beginnings, operating from a shipping container with a single employee and a bakkie, ARB Electrical Wholesalers’ is now proudly represented nationally with a footprint of 21 branches across all nine provinces, a successful e-commerce platform and a staff complement of over 650 employees servicing Southern Africa.
The following milestones mark significant moments in a proud history; serving as reminders of what ARB has achieved through passion and hard work.
1980: ARB Founded by Alan Ronald Burke from a shipping container in Richards Bay.
1981: Operations move from the shipping container with Richards Bay branch opening its doors.
1988: Durban branch opens at 5 Joyner Road, Prospecton.
2000: Pietermaritzburg branch opened.
2001: The head office relocated to a new site in Prospecton, effectively expanding the facility six times in comparison to its previous location.
2002-2004: ARB made inroads across SA, establishing branches in Johannesburg (2002), Cape Town (2003), and East London (2004).
2005: Recognising the importance of empowerment as a strategic business imperative, ARB Holdings sells a 26% stake in its key-operating subsidiary, ARB Electrical Wholesalers to BBBEE partners Batsomi Power (Pty) Ltd.
2006: JHB branch relocates to 13 000m2 premises in Alrode to service provincial & international markets.
2007: ARB Holdings acquires the operations of Xact Business Solutions, which was then incorporated into wholly owned subsidiary, ARB IT Solutions (Pty) Ltd. In November of the same year, ARB’s trajectory of growth culminated in a listing on the ‘Electronic and Electrical’ sector of the Main Board of the JSE, celebrating 28 years of commitment and growth.
2008: Nelspruit branch opens.
2009: Cape Town branch relocates to newly developed 7 300m2 group owned premises in Montague Gardens, providing additional space for greater stock holding to service the Cape Town market. 2010: Polokwane branch opens. The acquisition of Paragon Electrical, a leading group of five electrical wholesaling operations across the Pretoria and Centurion areas, represented ARB’s first acquisition since its JSE listing in late 2007.
2011: ARB Connect launched. A chain of smaller, centrally located retail-styled stores with the opening of its first two stores in Bellville, Western Cape, and Durban North, KZN.
2012: ARB Holdings acquires a 60% controlling interest in Eurolux (Pty) Limited, a leading importer and distributor of light fittings, lamps, and ancillary electrical products. In July, ARB EW acquired 100% of the issued share capital of Industrial Cable Suppliers (Pty) Ltd.
2013: ARB Electrical Wholesalers acquires 100% of Elektro Vroomen, with branches in Bloemfontein and Kathu. Following this acquisition, ARB is represented in all nine provinces in South Africa. CED was incorporated to house the exclusive CHINT distribution agreement.
2014: Relocation of the Nelspruit branch to newly developed 4 700 m2 premises in Riverside Industrial Park.
2015: In an effort to provide a more convenient means of purchasing electrical supplies, ARB Electrical Wholesalers launches an E-commerce solution. ARB Electrical Wholesalers launches its new Quick Pull concept which allows customers the opportunity to grab & go. The new flag concept store in Silver Lakes, Pretoria opens its doors in December 2015.
2016: Diep River branch opens.
2017: East London branch moves to a larger location.
2018: ARB broke ground and built new distribution centre at Lords View in JHB.
2019: Gauteng branch relocates into 44 000 m2 purpose-built Distribution Centre at Lords View in Johannesburg.
2020: ARB celebrates 40th year in business. Over the years, the company has enjoyed the support of many customers and suppliers who have helped ARB to where it is today.