They started out in 1954 in Minnesota as a mail order only enterprise, specializing in hard-to-find hardware items for cabinets, as well as veneers. Eventually they expanded their inventory into hardwood lumber, veneers, quality finishes and woodworking kits.
They opened their first retail store in Minneapolis in 1978 and started providing a variety of woodworking classes, as well as in-store expertise for anyone that stepped through their doors. Their stores were called "The Woodworker's Store". They have adapted well to changing market demands and technologies and eventually went online with their web site in 1996.
In 1998, they changed the name of their retail and catalog operations to "Rockler Woodworking and Hardware", and expanded their hardware line, woodworking kits, woodworking tools, and hardwood lumber inventory, including exotic hardwood lumber species.