Stewart Electric

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Profile appeared in our 31-1 Issue – April 2014

More than 70 years ago, brothers Earl and John Stewart purchased an electrical business from the Mongerson family and the duo set about meeting the electrical needs of Bakersfield and Kern County. Stewart Electric was founded in 1943 on 18th Street in downtown Bakersfield—across from the Far East restaurant.

Inventory at its first location on 18th Street, 1970s

Inventory at its first location on 18th Street, 1970s

“In the early years, the company sold and installed the electrical equipment and products,” explained Frank Yanez, the current owner of Stewart Electric. “But the company has evolved a bit. We no longer install products and instead distribute to contractors, school districts, and oil companies that need electric and data products.”
As Yanez elaborated, the early years of the company were challenging. “It was a small company, and getting it off its feet and competing with large, national companies meant that [Earl and John] had to offer something different.”
And the Stewarts did just that, focusing on service and quality products for their customer base. It was a design that worked. Stewart Electric grew steadily in the decades to follow.
After nearly 50 years, the Stewart family passed the reins over to Don and Suzie Noble, who took over ownership in 1988.
The Nobles ushered the company through major advances in electronics and technology throughout the late ‘80s and ‘90s (and also a move to a new location on 30th Street with more space for inventory).
And they did it well, growing and modifying the business to make sure that it continued to offer the best products and services to the community. “Don and Suzie ran the small business very well, keeping it consistent, but they also recognized the need to evolve with the times,” Yanez said.

Current location on 30th Street, early 1990s

Current location on 30th Street, early 1990s

In fact, Yanez came to work for Stewart Electric in 1997 when it became Stewart Electric & Data Com Supply.
“At that point, the company began really focusing on voice data and fiber-optics,” Yanez added. “That benchmark was huge for us. It was the biggest jump in growth since it had opened, nearly doubling our business. Today, that division accounts for half of our sales.”
Yanez explained that there’s been more changes within the last few years than there were in most of the company’s history.
“It’s a whole new type of industry and that makes for a new and fast-paced way of doing business,” he said. “But we are family-owned and resourceful. We make sure that what we do reflects what our customers need.”
As such, Stewart Electric is known today as a distributor and servicer of quality voice, data, electrical, fiber optics, and AV products.
After working at the company for over 15 years, Yanez, along with his wife Theresa, bought the business from the Nobles in 2014. Their daughter is also involved in the business.
“Stewart Electric has been run with same service mindset and integrity for seven decades,” Yanez said. “We know that we provide a product that others can provide, too, but our goal is to serve people right and forge strong relationships with our clients for generations to come.”

© 2011 - Bakersfield Magazine Inc.
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