Note - Information in this section is as of year end unless otherwise noted. The year end is December 31, 2018 unless additional years are included or noted.
Fastenal Company (together with our subsidiaries, hereinafter referred to as 'Fastenal' or the company or by terms such as we, our, or us) began as a partnership in 1967, and was incorporated under the laws of Minnesota in 1968. We opened our first branch in 1967 in Winona, Minnesota, a city with a population today of approximately 27,000. We began with a marketing strategy of supplying threaded fasteners to customers in small, medium-sized, and, in subsequent years, large cities. Over time, that mandate has expanded to a broader range of industrial and construction supplies spanning more than nine major product lines (described later in this document). The large majority of our transactions are business-to-business, though we also have some walk-in retail business. At the end of 2018, we had 3,121 in-market locations (defined in the table below) in 26 countries supported by 14 distribution centers in North America (11 in the United States, two in Canada, and one in Mexico), and we employed 21,644 people. We believe our success can be attributed to the high quality of our employees and their convenient proximity to our customers, and our ability to offer customers a full range of products and services to reduce their total cost of procurement.
The following table shows our consolidated net sales for each fiscal year as well as the number of public branches, Onsite locations, and total in-market locations at the end of each of the last ten years: