This year marks the 75th anniversary of Orlando, Fla.-based Hughes Supply, and Hughes is showing appreciation for its customers by partying at a series of celebrations across the country. On April 3, organizers kicked off the festivities with a shindig in Atlanta that drew 2,000 attendants, including many electrical contractors. Hughes also hosted a 3,600-attendant blow-out at the Daytona International Speedway.

Founded in 1928, Hughes’ regional supply services can be found through more than 450 locations in 34 states. In a renewal of their commitment to customers, the celebrations will include locations convenient to their widespread customer base: Phoenix; Tampa, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Washington, D.C.; and Dallas/Fort Worth, among others.

“This is our opportunity to say, ‘Thank you.’ to our many customers and manufacturing partners who have been with us over the years,” said organizers. “We have worked hard to keep our promises of providing the finest materials at the most competitive prices, and with the best customer service in the industry. With this promise we have built many long-term friendships and business partnerships.”

“Our customers deserve a sincere thank-you for being so loyal to Hughes,” said Tom Morgan, Hughes Supply President and CEO. “These events serve that purpose.”

At the Daytona International Speedway event, as with the Atlanta party, attendants were pooled into a random drawing to win a free “Richard Petty Driving Experience.” One-hundred winning customers were able to ride around the track with a professional driver at speeds up to 175 mph. “We couldn’t stay the whole time,” said Jerry Masters of Masters Electric Inc. in South Daytona, Fla. “There were about 75 of the 100 winners posted when we left. The event was a lot bigger than we’d expected. It was a terrific party for them to give their contractors and other customers. I was very impressed.”

“We’re trying to carry the NASCAR theme through our events,” said organizer Lee Flasher of Hughes. “Our customers are into NASCAR, so this approach is in response to their interests; it’s what a lot of them enjoy as a leisure activity. And NASCAR events offer opportunities for fans to get ‘up-close-and-personal’ with some of the sport’s stars, so it’s a great opportunity for us, and a natural pairing.”

The celebrations also include booths and displays by Hughes’ manufacturing partners. “Their displays had some good products and tools used in the electrical industry as well as plumbing and building department products and tools,” said Phil Whisenant of Olson Electric Company Inc., also in South Daytona. “We deal with Hughes Supply almost on a daily basis, and receive very good service from them.”

Masters concurred: “My father, who is currently president of our company, has been dealing with Hughes Supply since the mid-’80s. Our relationship with them goes way back.”

Hughes’ NASCAR emphasis so far has been enormously popular among their customer base. “Daytona is such a major landmark,” said Flasher. “It was a great opportunity to get our customers into something they’re already so excited about.”

“Some of the Winston Cup cars and drivers were practicing at the Speedway, preparing for the upcoming race,” noted Whisenant. Hughes partnered with various local sources to provide additional entertainment and food.

“There were Hooters girls everywhere you looked, and lots of free food and cold drinks,” said Masters. “Any time you work with construction folks, you’re going to impress them with free food,” he laughed.

“It was a great break from the routine for our guys to be there, even though it was hot.”

The third event, held June 12 in Tampa, was at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “At that event, customers were able to tour the famous Raymond James Pirate Ship, they could meet some of the retired Bucs players, and there were some Tampa Storm players on hand as well,” said Flasher. Like the previous events, vendor booths, food and a showcase of local talent were included.

Check out the Hughes Supply Web site for more information about when and where the remaining series of 13 celebration events will take place. Go to www.hughessupply.com and click on the “Celebrating 75 Years” icon. “We’re trying to make each event a benefit to the local communities where they’re held as well,” said Flasher. “This is in honor of our customers and our communities, so we want the events themselves to be great for everyone.”