Mars Supply Reaches 100-Year Milestone

The company traces its roots to the late 19th century.

Mars Supply, New Brighton, Minn.
Mars Supply, New Brighton, Minn.
Mars Supply

NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — W.P. & R.S. Mars Co. — dba Mars Supply — is proud to announce that it is celebrating 100 years in business in 2024. 

Prescott & Mars Hardware Co. was founded in1893 in Virginia, Minnesota, by W.P. (Bill) Mars and his wife. They started the business to provide general industrial supplies to the burgeoning iron ore and timber industries in northern Minnesota. In 1924, their son, Bob Mars Sr., came on board, and at that time, the company moved to Duluth and was renamed W.P. & R.S. Mars Co. Along with a longtime reputation for reliable service and quality, brand name products, the round, red logo depicting Mars, the Roman God of War, was a prominent, highly recognizable symbol throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin for many decades. The tagline at the time was, “The Best Service on Earth Comes from Mars."

Bob Mars Jr. and Bill Mars, grandsons of the founder, joined the business in the late 1940s. Bill was the company president until passing away in 1983. Bob Jr. went on to become the heart and soul of the company, driving consistent growth, expanding to the Twin Cities and adding several new product categories to the company’s offering. He, like his father, Bob Sr., is in the Duluth Hall of Fame as a tribute to his civic and business-related contributions to the area.

In 2017, W.P. & R.S. Mars Co. re-branded as Mars Supply, updating its logo and entering into the e-commerce world with, its new website. The company currently has over 500,000 items on the site and does several million dollars of online business annually.

Mars Supply operates two distribution centers located in Duluth and the Twin Cities. It also has a satellite office in Winona, Minnesota, and is planning for further expansion.

Three of W.P.’s great-grandsons are in the business. Bob Mars III, company president, has been with the company since 1976. Bruce Mars has been with the business since 1991 and is president of its wholly owned subsidiary Conveyor Belt Service. CBS, headquartered in Virginia, Minnesota, installs and repairs conveyor belting throughout the mining region. Steve Mars joined the company in 2010 and oversees business development. The 5th generation is in place, as well, with Bob’s two sons-in-law holding significant positions at the company.

All three great-grandsons feel that the secret to the company’s longevity and success has been a long history of really good employees, a wide, diverse customer base, and solid, long term relationships with their suppliers.

Mars Supply made three acquisitions in the past decade and is planning for expansion and growth in the coming years. The company currently employs more than 100 people — at the branches and/or in work-from-home mode — and is optimistic about the future of the business.

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