Jameco Electronics 40th Anniversary

Quality Components at Low Prices Since 1974

Forty years seems like a long time, but when you're busy doing what you love, you really don't notice the passing of decades. Jameco Electronics' founder Dennis Farrey noticed in the early 70s that electronics hobbyists were being ignored by large electronic distribution companies. This void gave him an idea that would change his life forever.

He sourced some good opportunity buys for 100 of the most popular electronic components and ran a 1/3 page ad in the August 1974 issue of Radio-Electronics magazine to see if there was any interest. The ad worked better than Dennis could have imagined. He quickly began filling orders as they came by working out of his home and garage. Jameco was just getting started.

Customers responded to the concept of buying small quantities at pricing previously available only to volume buyers. Dennis' business became well known for its quality components at surprisingly low prices. Within a few years businesses and schools took notice and started placing large orders. The garage was replaced by a warehouse and by the early 80s Jameco Electronics had moved again and made its home off of U.S. Route 101 in Belmont, California.

By the time Jameco had settled into its new home, the business had grown far beyond a one-man operation or even a small team effort. Employees were needed to process orders, provide customer service, publish the catalog, manage the tens of thousands of products in the warehouses, etc. Today, the average length of service for a Jameco employee is 9 years, but many have been here for much longer. You can walk into just about any Jameco department and easily find someone who has been with Jameco for 20 years or more. In the eyes of the owners, it's the dedicated and hard working employees that have made all of Jameco's success possible.

Radio ElectronicsThe first ad appeared in the August 1974 issue of Radio-Electronics.
Click to enlarge and see what components were for sale.

As Jameco grew in size and scope, it quickly became famous for having the best catalog in the industry. Design engineers appreciated that it was organized in the same way as they designed. The catalog continues to be one of the few full-color electronic component catalogs still published today. Jameco's website first appeared on the Internet in 1996, a year before Google.com was even a registered domain. While it wasn't an e-commerce site in the beginning, it helped Jameco reach new customers around the world and would soon allow Jameco to expand its offerings well beyond the confines of its catalog.

Over the years, Jameco's product offerings grew, the size of the catalogs grew and Jameco.com grew, too. Jameco became an expert at sourcing and driving down the cost of electronic components and those techniques are what allow Jameco to pass on value and lower prices to customers even today.

Jameco CatalogThe August 2014 Jameco catalog has a special montage cover commemorating our 40th anniversary and highlights 10 long-time employees. You can order or download the catalog here.

Jameco's relationship with its customers extends to buying back excess inventory thus being able to further bring down the price on some components. In 2004, Jameco introduced its own "house brands," the Jameco ValuePro line of products, to offer customers a new cost-saving alternative.

Jameco recognizes that low priced products is the starting point but it's service that Jameco puts most of its energy into, from technical support to access to the management team, to our sales team treating customers as they would want to be treated. Jameco's operational quality is another business fundamental. Walk through Jameco's primary warehouse (possibly the tidiest warehouse in the country) and you'll notice that same attention to detail and customer satisfaction are top of mind for every employee, whether they're organizing product shelves and bins, or carefully packing an order for shipment.

Providing Jameco customers with a wide selection of high quality products at the best prices possible has become a family tradition. Today, James Farrey is the second generation CEO of Jameco as well as its namesake. The Farrey Family has seen many changes since the business was first founded in 1974, however their commitment to customer service remains constant. On any given day you can find James talking to a customer or entering orders into our system.

Jameco 1996
The Original 1996 Jameco Website (Click to enlarge)

This year, Jameco is celebrating 40 years of serving millions of customers. As part of Jameco's 40th anniversary activities, Jameco is also hosting a Customer Appreciation Day event on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public is invited to visit Jameco Electronics at 1355 Shoreway Road in Belmont, California for refreshments, tours and a customer raffle.

Jameco has come a long way since that first ad appeared in Radio-Electronics. It's hard to believe it's already been 40 years... to us, it feels like we're just getting started!

Have a Jameco memory you want to share, send it to us at [email protected]