Leed Samples has been providing high-quality material samples for over 60 years. Although Leed Samples was officially incorporated in 1962, its roots date back to the early 50s and a young man in his early twenties from Ireland, Indiana – Wilbur E. Edwards. Wilbur printed and sold advertising specialties, such as desk pads and calendars, to the numerous furniture manufacturers that dotted the nearby countryside of southern Indiana.
As rumor has it, one day Wilbur was calling on the owner of a local furniture manufacturer who had shipped a truckload of office chairs that were upholstered with the wrong fabric because his supplier had misidentified one of the skus on the sample card. Since the owner knew Wilbur was a good printer, salesman and businessman, with the utmost regard for quality and accuracy, he suggested that Wilbur expand his printing operation to include sample cards. This was all it took to set the wheels in motion for this young man with an entrepreneurial spirit beyond his years.
In Leed Samples’ infancy, Wilbur would print the sample cards during the day and, with help from his wife and children, apply the swatches at night as they sat around the kitchen table. It wasn’t long before the sample business outgrew that kitchen table. Luckily, Wilbur’s parents owned several acres of land adjacent to their home, including a dilapidated chicken house. With a little help from his father, Joe, Wilbur converted this chicken house into Leed’s initial manufacturing facility. The location of that chicken house is still the center of our manufacturing facility, which has grown to over 150,000 square feet.
After converting the chicken house, Wilbur needed someone to supervise the swatching operation while he continued to do the printing and selling. In the early 60s he took on his younger brother, Richard A. Edwards, as a business partner. That Edwards family partnership still exists today, with Wilbur’s son Doug as President and Rich’s son Jamie as VP of Manufacturing.
In the early years, Leed Samples’ product line consisted primarily of swatch cards and its customer base consisted primarily of local furniture manufacturers. Today Leed Samples has grown into the largest full spectrum sample company in the United States, providing samples nationwide to hundreds of companies in varying industries. We are proud of the fact that many of the companies that we serviced in those early years survived and prospered along with us and remain valued customers today.
Although those early years are often forgotten, Leed Samples’ founding commitments to customer service, product quality and accuracy still remain the cornerstones that guide our decisions today.