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Descendant List
Family Spotlight

Staple Bros. Paint and Hardware 


Staple Bros. Paint and Hardware opened on October 19, 1968 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin through a joint partnership with Staples brothers Lester Jr., Edward, Eddie, Joe, Herman, John, and Ricky (brother-in-law).


The brothers all had ideas about what type of business might be best to launch and pitched these concepts to each other.  Their motivation was to be entrepreneurs.  Lester Jr. had proposed a hardware store and the brothers met at his home monthly to discuss the idea and work on a strategy to start the business. When Staple Bros. finally opened, the brothers maintained their full-time jobs and alternated working in the store while the business grew and gained a solid customer base. By 1972, Staple Bros. was providing hardware services for businesses and residents throughout the Milwaukee area including service calls to homes.  Services included changing locks, windows, doors, paint, etc…  Over time, some of the partners moved on to open other businesses, work at different companies, and/or relocate to different areas of the country.

By 1975, Lester Jr. and Edward owned and operated Staple Bros. Hardware and continued doing so together until the end of 2021 when Edward retired.  Lester Jr. is now the lone remaining brother operating Staple Bros. Hardware, more than 50 years after it initially opened!  Located on the north side of Milwaukee, the store is open six days a week.  In August 2016, Staple Bros. Hardware was featured on television news during the uprising of citizens in the city of Milwaukee due to police killing a black man. (That same month was also Lester Jr’s. 80th birthday) Many of the buildings in the area and around the hardware store were burned to the ground and/or looted during the chaos. But surprisingly, Staple Bros. Hardware was untouched! Residents in the area were elated that the store suffered no damage as it has been a “staple” in the community for years.

Lester Staples Jr. Background


Lester Staples Jr. was born in 1936 in Mound Bayou, MS to Lester Sr. and Velma Staples.  The family moved to Milwaukee in 1954 in search of better opportunities.  Lester Jr. had a hard time finding a job initially after relocating to Milwaukee. He eventually secured a job at the Howard Johnson restaurant as a porter. He also drove a taxicab. In 1956, Lester Jr. took a course in TV repair and became the Family and community ‘TV-repairman’.  


Lester Jr. was drafted into the Army and served proudly for 4 years.  From 1960-62, he was stationed in Germany as a combat engineer laying landmines, erecting telephone poles, and building floating bridges. From 1962-64 he served in the Army reserves in Milwaukee. 


After returning from active-duty military, Lester Jr. worked for Rexnord Chainbelt foundry from 1962-1965. In 1966, he began working as a welder before opening Staple Bros. Hardware in 1968. 


Lester Staples Jr. is the oldest living descendant of Jim Staples.


Lineage - William (1) - Jim (2) – Lester Sr. (3) – Lester Jr. (4)


Congratulations to Staples Bros Hardware for its tremendous longevity and to entrepreneur Lester Staples Jr. for being such a fantastic role model in launching and operating a successful black-owned business!

© 2023 The Descendants of William & Abigail Staples

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