About Us – Our History

Houston-Starr Company is Pittsburgh’s oldest building material supplier. Three brothers founded the building supply company in 1872 and named it Houston Brothers. Houston Brothers was originally located in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. In 1886 we were one of the original founding members of the Pittsburgh Builder’s Exchange.

The Houston Brothers sold basic building products such as lime, plaster, and lath. A.Q. Starr, a relative of the Houston’s, left the family farm and began working for them around 1900. He learned the construction supply business, and later bought Houston Brothers and changed the name to Houston-Starr Company. Shortly after World War II, A.Q. Starr’s son’s, A.B. Starr and A.J. Starr, left the military and began working for Houston-Starr Company. A.B. Starr managed the construction material business in the late sixties and started the commercial door department. A.J. Starr was in charge of the wholesale appliance and kitchen cabinet business.

A.J. Starr acquired all the shares of the company. In 1980, A.J. Starr’s son, Jim Starr, came into the business and worked in the door department. In 1983, we opened our architectural door and hardware branch in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Later, in 1987, Jim Starr became president and still manages the day to day operations.

Our Tradition

Why have we survived world wars, economic downturns and changing markets over successive generations?

It is because we have steadfastly maintained our commitment to service, quality and dependability. Over one hundred thirty-five years ago, we set out to provide our customers with quality products and exceptional service at fair prices. Our dedication to this tradition assures our future success.

If you are one of our many loyal customers, we thank you for your business. Your continued support is the most important ingredient of our success.

If you are not one of our customers, we would like the opportunity to show you why we continue to be so successful.

Our Values

We are committed to:

  • Challenging and rewarding our employees and being the best place that they ever worked.
  • Supplying quality materials quickly with exceptional follow up service.
  • Maintaining a high level of integrity, accountability, and teamwork.
  • Delivering superior returns to assure growth and prosperity.