The company that became know as the Stevens-Hepner Co. Ltd. had a slightly rocky start. Founder John Hepner came to Port Elgin from Napanee in 1883. He, along with six other local businessmen established the Port Elgin Brush Co. After two years, a fire broke out and destroyed the plant. Another was built, but the business fell into financial difficulties. In 1896, the business was taken over and reorganized by John Hepner, H.H. Stephens, and E.H. Schiedel under the name Stephens-Hepner Co. Ltd. In 1901 E.H. Schiedel retired leaving Stephens and Hepner to steer the business.
In 1908, the company took over the Dominion Brush Co. of Toronto, which added a line of toiletware goods under the trademark name “Keystone”. John Hepner passed away in 1922, leaving H.H. Stevens to continue on with the company, until his own death in 1944. During that time, between 1922 and 1944 the company grew from 30 staff to over 200. R.J Puquegnat became president of the company in 1944 and sold to W.G. Campbell in 1962.
Throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s the company continued to grow adding many different products to their line including curling brooms and brushes, which were produced under the name “Curl Master Brooms”. This also meant the factory continued to grow and additions were added between the 1960s and 1980s.
Though now closed, the Stephens-Hepner Co. Ltd. building, located on Wellington St. in Port Elgin still stands and has been used by other companies and industries including Kaumagraph International, a company the produces heat transfers for textiles.