Our History

Fastenal's First Location


The Fastenal story began in 1967 when Bob Kierlin pooled together $30,000 with four friends and opened the first Fastenal location, a 1,000 sq. ft. shop in his hometown of Winona, MN. (The original business plan was to dispense nuts and bolts via custom vending machines, but the technology proved impracticable at the time. Several decades would pass before Fastenal finally popularized industrial vending.)

After surviving the typical struggles of a startup business, Fastenal gradually found its niche – by going the extra mile for customers and providing the kind of service that kept them coming back. Kierlin later drilled this approach down to four simple words: Growth Through Customer Service®.

This motto has guided us forward as we’ve grown from a small regional supplier into one of the world’s most dynamic growth companies – from one location to more than 2,700 branches and counting. Along the way, we’ve aggressively invested in things that make a difference for our customers, continuously improving a multifaceted service network that today includes:

  • A stringent quality management system anchored by our engineering teams and testing laboratories around the world.
  • Thousands of manufacturer-partners, making each Fastenal branch a one-stop source for a huge range of OEM, MRO and Construction products.
  • A multi-site custom manufacturing division, quickly producing machined, hot forged and cold formed parts to provide solutions for our customers.
  • Regional distribution centers across North America, working with local branches to anticipate customer demand and keep product flowing when and where it's needed.
  • A large fleet of big trucks and local delivery vehicles, enabling us to move product faster and more cost-effectively than the competition.
  • The world’s largest industrial vending program, FAST Solutions, helping thousands of customers reduce consumption and operate more efficiently.
  • And at the heart of it all: 2,600-plus Fastenal branches spanning all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico, with additional locations in Central and South America, Europe and Asia – each striving to be the best industrial supplier in the market it serves.

Learn More

Want to delve deeper into the Fastenal story? Watch this video about the history of Fastenal and hover over the years below to learn more about key milestones in our history.

Want to delve deeper into the Fastenal story? Watch this video about the history of Fastenal and the story of the founders.