100 Years of Hunzicker

A tradition of excellence, a century in the making

One Hundred years ago this summer, Walter Hunzicker Sr. sent a letter from Oklahoma City to his wife back home in Lafayette, Indiana. His Brother, Fred Hunzicker, was living in Oklahoma and pitched a business idea. The brothers should start a lighting company together. Starting the business would require the purchase of a train carload of Mazda lamps (light bulbs manufactured by the company that would later become General Electric) to build an inventory, so Walter wrote home asking his wife to send his half of the $7,500 investment. 

In his letter, Walter explained to his family their philosophy. He and his brother would start small, offering only a few lines in the beginning: the light bulbs, Reflex spark plugs, and the Cadillac sweeper. As Walter put it, they would "establish themselves gradually," instead of "going into too many things at one time and not putting any of them over." He felt that focus was essential to prevent the common pitfalls of a business spreading themselves too thin and "loafing and wasting valuable time and orders." They would put their earnings into stock to build the business. 

Walter was an electrical engineer, and Fred was an attorney and inventor. They counted on the fact that Fred already seemed to know everyone in the Oklahoma City area. Less than two months later, Hunzicker Sales Co. issued the first invoice for $210.87 to Reed Supply Co. The brothers sold that train car full of light bulbs and built a business that has stood the test of time for a century. 

In 1926 the brothers contracted to build their new building at 105 E. California Street in present-day Bricktown. Though the company has since moved, the original name is still visible on the side of the building. In 1933 Walter Hunzicker Jr. was appointed President of the company, a role he would keep until his passing in 1989. Today, Mike Lockard, who has been President since 1996, is heading the company into its second century. 

Going into that second century, Hunzicker Brothers Inc. is anything but small, and they provide commercial and residential customers in Oklahoma much more than just light bulbs. When I visited with Jack Henderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, he explained what the company does. "We don't sell electricity, but we sell everything that goes from the pole and on throughout the house." From fixtures, bulbs, panels, receptacles, breakers, transformers, and motor starters, Hunzicker is a one-stop-shop from pole to switch, working directly with customers as well as contractors and designers. With more than 100 employees, they have experts in every facet of the lighting business. 

In 1981, the company opened the second store in Woodward, OK. Locations in Stillwater and Shawnee soon followed. There are now 11 locations throughout the state, including the lighting gallery. 

The times have changed a great deal since 1920, as have the technology and trends in lighting. Hunzicker is proud to be moving forward along with the changes by bringing customers the most advanced, cutting-edge options. LED and freeflow designs have replaced the standard light bulbs and sockets in many homes and businesses. Energy efficiency is a crucial factor for so many consumers. A stroll through the Lighting Gallery at 501 NE 122nd will showcase hundreds of brands in every form imaginable, whether something more traditional or the newest technology.

In recent years, Hunzicker has used technology to enhance some of Oklahoma City's most recognizable projects. The lighting at the Oklahoma City National Memorial ______________________________________.

The recent beautification at Scissortail Park, including the adjacent Convention Center feature _________________________________________________________________. 

Along the canal n Bricktown, ___________________________________________________ illuminates the building that became home to Hunziker Brothers Electrical Fixtures and Supplies.

Today, guests are welcome to come to browse on their own or to set an appointment, whether they need a single fixture or an entire home full of lighting options. 

The company is putting the safety of their employees and guests first, so all employees are utilizing masks, and plexiglass dividers have been installed at counters so you can shop with confidence. 

One hundred years after Walter Hunziker Sr. wrote that letter home, his words continue to be proven. They would "work hard, and where that is done, there is very little chance for failure."

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