About Rio Grande Co.

“Business is sensitive:  It goes only where invited, and stays only where well treated”
-Elmer Peterson, our founder

Rio Grande Co. – Yesterday and Today

Rio Grande Co. stands one hundred years strong in the Denver Rocky Mountain region as a viable and innovative business because of its unique and rich history. Since its founding in the Mile High City, first as a fuel and feed business, and now as a distributor, producer and fabricator of building materials, four generations of the Peterson family; Erik, Elmer, Donald and Bruce have guided the company’s remarkable development, growth and contribution to the building of our Colorado communities.

Originally, Rio Grande Co. was established in 1892 by Erik G. Peterson, but the company was dissolved in 1906. Then in 1908, twenty-year old Elmer H. Peterson resurrected it and founded the modern day company that is celebrating its one hundred year anniversary. Donald Peterson worked in the business for over fifty years and retired in 1994. Bruce Peterson began working in 1974 and manages the business today.

From 1908 to 1950, the company became Denver’s largest distributor of coal for heating. Tens of thousands of customers relied on the company to provide reliable supplies of heating coal on a regular and efficient basis to keep their homes and businesses warm. Rio Grande Co. met the challenge with great employees, delivery equipment and consistant customer service. By 1947, just before natural gas finally supplanted coal in the Denver market, the company regularly sold more than 150,000 tons of coal per year.

In addition to coal, building materials were a mainstay in the company. As a pioneer in innovative products and services, Rio Grande Co. supplied Denver and the Rocky Mountain region many essential construction materials. The company supplied mortar materials, cements, sand and gravel, plaster materials, concrete accessories, concrete masonry units, masonry supplies, glass block, structural steel, rebar, fireplaces and stone products.

The company grew from 1908 to today with a focus on our customers, employees and products. Rio Grande Co. distributes, fabricates and produces many of those same building materials in addition to others for the Rocky Mountain region from six locations in Denver. Our Building Materials Division operates at 201 Santa Fe Drive, our Design Center at 123 Santa Fe Drive, our rebar and forming yard at 112 S. Santa Fe Drive, the steel fabrication and concrete accessories yard at 500 Osage Street and our residential hardware, stone and fireplace warehouse at 3990 Havana Street. These locations serve our customers today and build on the foundation of one hundred years.

From horse-drawn wagons to computer assisted deliveries, Rio Grande Co. remains committed to delivering quality products and innovative services to our customers and communities. Our belief in excellence, service and integrity, values rooted in our past, remain vital to the promotion of our present and future mutual growth and success, as our one hundred year guarantee.

Building Materials Division

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Commercial/Residential Products

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