Editor’s Note: This is the 348th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — A long-time Huntington wholesale firm, the Van Zandt Supply Co., was founded by Carl Van Zandt and originally was known as the Van Zandt-Leftwich Auto Supply Co.
Born in Noblesville, Indiana, in 1886, Carl Van Zandt was educated as a pharmacist and in 1909 opened a drug store in Beckley before coming to Huntington in 1915. He opened Van Zandt-Leftwich Auto Supply in 1919.
Carl Van Zandt was a pioneer in radio broadcasting in Huntington, working alongside W.C McKellar in the early years of radio station WSAZ. In 1922, he began selling radio receiving sets and later added washing machines and refrigerators. Shortly thereafter the company dropped auto supplies and changed its name to the Van Zandt Supply Co.
Carl Van Zandt died in 1941 and his son, Richard K. Van Zandt, took over the company. In 1973, Henry E. Thornburg was named the company’s president and general manager and the younger Van Zandt became chairman of the board.
Long located in downtown Huntington at 1123 4th Ave., the company built a new building for its offices and warehouse at the Kyle Industrial Park on W.Va. 2 in 1978.
For decades Van Zandt Supply distributed RCA consumer electronic products and Whirlpool appliances to retailers in southern West Virginia, southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and parts of Virginia. In 1981, the Huntington firm was absorbed by Hamburg Brothers Inc. of Pittsburgh.
Richard Van Zandt, who died in 1985, was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church, an emeritus trustee and honorary board member at the First Huntington National Bank and a board member at the Cammack Children’s Center for more than 50 years.