Peters Coal and Supply Company had its beginning as the Gorman Coal and Supply Company, March 1, 1919 at the current Bellevue, Kentucky location.
Mr. Frank B. Peters, a wholesale cement salesman, had a dream of owning his own business. The Peters’ family acquired the business and incorporated in Kentucky on April 30, 1933. Mrs. Barbara Neekamp Peters, Frank’s wife and company treasurer, ran the daily operations of the coal company. After graduating from Highlands High School in 1935, their son Alford C. Peters came to work in the family business. To help keep up with the demand, Frank and Barbara hired Kathryn “Queenie” Thompson, a friend of Al’s and an employee of the H.S. Pogue Company. Queenie and Al were later married and worked together until their retirement in the spring of 1971. In the late sixties, two fires occurred at the company. A third fire occurred on December 26, 1970. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the fires had taken a toll on the Peters’ family business.
On April 1, 1971, at the age of fifty-six, Fred W. Grause purchased the Peters Coal and Supply Company. Fred was already a seasoned business owner. He owned and operated the Fred Grause Tile Company in Bellevue since the mid nineteen fifties. In a few short months, Mr. Grause literally turned the business around. He constructed a six thousand square foot concrete building and moved the entrance from the east end of the 200 block of Grandview Avenue to the west end. In 1971, Fred’s youngest child, Kenneth Grause, a student at Highlands High School, began his career with Peters Coal and Supply Company as part-time yard help and driver. While attending Thomas More College at night, Ken began full-time work in the fall of 1974. In January of 1975, the company’s name was changed to d.b.a. Bellevue Home Improvement Center. Coal was dropped from inventory by the end of the nineteen seventies, and Ken and his wife, Denise Lawrence Grause, acquired the company from Fred.
The 1980’s were exciting years. In December of 1981, the six thousand square foot addition to the main store building was completed. This doubled the square footage of the retail store. In the fall of 1983, two adjacent parcels of land were acquired. During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s the lumber yard was completely overhauled with a new main lumber shed, perimeter cantilever racked buildings and concrete pavement. In 1990, the main building was remodeled into a Do it center and the name was changed to Pilot Lumber Do it center.
On January 1, 1998, Peters Coal and Supply Company, Ken and Denise purchased the assets of Hess and Racke, Inc. in Alexandria, Kentucky from A. Kenneth Racke, the second-generation owner operator. During the first year, two new lumber buildings were erected more than doubling the storage capacity. This acquisition brought the company back to its roots, with its main focus again on the professional residential builders and remodelers.
Thirteen years later, in September, 2011, Ken and Denise purchased the assets of Moore’s Home Center in Fort Thomas. The Fort Thomas location was closed and all full time employees were merged into the two existing locations of Pilot Lumber.
2015 brought another generation to the Peters Coal and Supply Company. Liesl, the middle daughter of Ken and Denise joined the team on a full time basis after working part time while in school. There appears to be another family member to lead the business into the next hundred years.