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Fastenal Is Making Connections in Austin, Minnesota

When you think of Fastenal Company, you probably think of fasteners for construction projects.

“That’s what we hear a lot,” Forrest Lewis said. He’s the branch manager for Fastenal’s Austin, Minnesota location. “Most people think Fastenal is just nuts and bolts, but we’re so much more than that.”

In fact, fasteners – those nuts, bolts, screws, and nails – account for only 36 percent of Fastenal’s business. Forrest explained that the company offers products in a broad range of categories, including power tools, safety gear, plumbing and pipe fittings, drill bits, hose clamps, and cutting tools.

“We work mostly business to business, focusing on supplies for manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and government projects.”

With that diverse range of customers, Fastenal needs to be ready for practically anything in terms of inventory.

“The advantage we have over smaller companies is that any items we don’t commonly stock at one location, we can access from another location. That lets us offer just about anything a customer needs for any type of project, and to get it to them quickly.”

Big Company, Locally Powered

Fastenal is a Fortune 500 company with $6 billion in revenue, but their success is due in large part to their local hubs – and to the gumption of their employees, like Forrest.

Born and raised in Austin, Forrest started working part-time at Fastenal in September 2020 then went fulltime just six months later, working his way up from warehouse to sales associate, to outside sales representative, and then in mid-2022, Forrest was tapped to become manager of the Austin branch.

“It happened fast,” Forrest admitted, “but I’ve really had strong support and training from Fastenal to help me get up to speed and smooth the transition. I never thought working at Fastenal would turn into a career in management, but Fastenal is a great place to work, and they take pride in their employees and promoting from within.”

A recent member of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, Fastenal’s Austin branch hopes to make community connections.

“We really want to meet other business owners in the area and let people know more of who we are as a company. At the community level, we’re looking for opportunities to get involved with donations and sponsorships — whatever we can do to help. Since I’m from Austin, getting involved here really means a lot to me.”