It all began in June of 1949 when Ralph Cunningham, his wife Annie and one of their daughters, Jeanette drove to Austin, Texas so Ralph could take the plumbers exam and acquire his license. Thus, Cunningham Plumbing Company was born.
These were hard times in the U.S., not long after the great depression, folks worked long days for little pay. The company was successful in terms of putting food on the table for Ralph and Annie and their seven children. Four of the sons, Roy, Joe, Lynn and Fred were active part-time in the family business while also serving in the military. Ralph believed in hard work, honesty, and treating others as he wanted to be treated. He taught his family the same principles.
One day when Ralph was 48, he came in from work, ate dinner and went to bed early. He never woke up. Working hard all those years and having seven kids will sometimes do that to a person.
So, with 6 siblings to feed, the oldest son Roy dropped out of high school and took over the family business. After a few years Roy joined the Navy and sent money home to the family as did three of his brothers. After the Navy he returned to the family business and also joined the Houston fire department which allowed he and his wife, Regenia to keep Cunningham Plumbing going. In effect, he worked two jobs and worked hard. They both did.
A few years later, they were approached by the local gas company, United Gas to install and sell gaslights and grills which they did. This was a totally new direction for Cunningham Plumbing and in the mid-70’s they changed their name to Cunningham Gas Products.
The next several years were a blur of growth, raising children, adding product lines, etc. Their retail sales soon expanded into wholesale, reaching out across Texas and beyond to other retailers. They fired up their first computers in October of 1990. Later in that decade Cunningham’s also expanded into another new direction-the internet. They were one of the first in their industry with a webpage which was CunninghamGasProducts.com which later became Cunningham Living. Over the next few years, they also launched several other boutique sites as well as their first on-line wholesale catalog for their growing retail dealer base, CGProducts.com.
It was in 2003 that the Cunningham’s decided to get into the grill manufacturing business. They made the leap and their own brand-RCS Renaissance Cooking Systems was born. This last step was one of the largest for this still family-owned operation.
Now on its fourth generation and still evolving, the company that Ralph Cunningham began back in 1949 is still growing and serving their customers by working hard, being honest and treating everyone the way they expect to be treated.