Universal Supply, now nineteen locations strong and servicing New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut, was founded in 1965 by Joseph Umosella, Jr.
…with a single building, a part-time employee and one pallet jack. From the start, Joe applied his personal code of ethics that were instilled in him as a child, which serves as Universal Supply’s business philosophy to this day — unsurpassed customer service, top of the line products and a focus on customer success, rather than his own.
Through hard work and their ability to bring an authentic value proposition to the market, Universal Supply not only survived their first decade in business, but thrived. Their second location was opened in 1977 in Gloucester, New Jersey which enabled them the ability to respond to a growing customer demand in the western half of Southern New Jersey.
Ten years later, Universal opened their third location in Cape May Court House. Their commitment to people, relationships and the local communities remained a point of distinction between Universal Supply and their “big box” competition and their business continued to grow at a steady rate. As locations and demand grew, so did the product offering. While remaining specialists in the roofing and siding industry for contractors, remodelers and their commercial base, Universal Supply also expanded into other products to support customer needs. Lumber, windows, doors, decking and railing as well as other commodity building products were added to their product offering.
Understanding that accessibility was an integral component of their commitment to service, Universal put plans in motion to open additional branches all within thirty minutes from each other and along major highways. The first branches put in place to implement their strategy were Manahawkin in 1992, followed by the Pleasantville in 1995 and Vineland in 1999.
In 2001, Universal Supply expanded another key area of their business, their Millwork Center. In order to successfully keep up with demand, Universal relocated their Millwork Center to a 95,000 square foot warehouse attached to corporate headquarters. The Center was established to serve as a distribution hub of windows, doors and millwork to all of their branches. The new warehouse allowed Universal to further expand their millwork offerings from top manufacturers.
In 2004, the company reigns were passed on to another member of the family, Jeff Umosella, Joe Jr.’s son. After joining the family business in 1989 as a warehouse associate and driver, Jeff quickly moved through the ranks from sales and servicing customers at the counter and in the field to Location Manager. Following serving as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for seven years, Jeff was named President of Universal Supply. Jeff’s firsthand experience with the operations, market, products and people made him the perfect candidate for the job.
Shortly after Jeff’s induction, the team at Universal opened their seventh branch in Lakewood, New Jersey in order to better serve Northern Ocean and Southern Monmouth Counties.
Although the housing industry and economy posed challenges over the next several years and required some adapting, Universal Supply stayed true to their core business of contractors and remodelers. With a significant market shift from new construction to remodelers, Universal opened a Cabinetry Design Center in Egg Harbor New Jersey in 2011. The Design Center was established as a tool for their remodeler contractors and assist with their sales process to homeowners by providing them with a place to see cabinetry and countertop products first hand. In addition to the new Cabinetry Design Center, Universal opened a new branches in Trenton and New Brunswick, New Jersey to continue with the implementation of their location accessibility marketing and sales strategy.
In 2018, Universal Supply expanded outside of New Jersey and opened a location in Salisbury, Maryland. With immediate success in Salisbury, locations in Columbia and Edgewood, Maryland and Connecticut were added in 2019.
Always in search of innovative efficiencies, Universal currently utilizes several systems to support their second-to-none customer service philosophy—a computerized warehouse management system (WMS) to improve fill rates and delivery speed, a sophisticated auto-stack bin system to simplify product storage and loading processes and two delivery and fleet logistical based programs.
While investments in state-of-the art technologies and facilities are an on-going focus for Universal, fostering relationships is still a priority and a cornerstone of their success. With an environment of respect and trust and opportunities for personal and professional growth, Universal’s employees have unusually high tenure rates and as a result, a unique wealth of industry specific knowledge and experience. This cohesive team and work environment has enabled Universal to efficiently and effectively respond to changing markets and growing customer needs.
As industry leaders, Universal continues to bring new products to the table for their builder and remodeler customers. Today, their product breadth and depth has expanded smartly and consists of 100’s of options to meet virtually any project or customer demands. Their core strength lies in an offering of a complete product mix of brand name, reputable products that are tried and true.
Although the building industry and economy continue to change and evolve, some things will never change at Universal Supply. Today the Universal team, under Jeff’s leadership, continues to maintain the traditions and business practices that the company was founded on — respect, fairness and trust.
With nineteen locations that reach into the markets of New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Connecticut, and over 230 employees, Universal Supply has become the premier source for building and remodeling products and services in south central New Jersey.
Universal Supply Company 40th Anniversary Gala from Gregory Bossert on Vimeo.
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“I truly believe our success has been a team effort. Our team is second to none.”
– Jeff Umosella, President
“My philosophy on treating customers is to follow the Golden Rule—treat others as you would like to be treated.”
– Joe Umosella, Jr. Former CEO