Courtesy of Summit Electric Supply
Summit Electric Supply was among many Top 200 distributors investing in new branches and expansions over the past year. This is Summit's new Corpus Christi location featuring the company's new modular branch design concept.

What’s New with the Top 200 Distributors?

June 21, 2016
Electrical Wholesaling's annual Top 200 survey is a chance to catch up on more than just sales figures. Take a look at what respondents said is driving their companies' growth.

Quite a few Top 200 distributors are in the midst of major growth initiatives. Some are installing or planning to invest in new ERP systems, or updating their existing systems, like Candela Corp., Irvine, Calif.; Caniff Electric Supply Co. Inc., Hamtramck, Mich.; City Electric Co. Inc., Syracuse, N.Y.; Kovalsky-Carr Electric Supply, Rochester, N.Y.; Raymond deSteiger, Sterling Heights, Mich.; St. Louis Metro Electric Supply Inc., St. Louis, Mo.; Standard Electric Co., Saginaw, Mich.; and VEC Supply, Charlottesville, Va.

Sunrise Electric Supply, Addison, Ill., was one of many companies beefing up its online presence. Jim Sobecki, CIO, said the company will be focusing on a variety of technical initiatives in 2016.  Sunrise has updated its website to freshen up its online presence, added online ordering, and may implement a document management system.

Other companies were building new headquarters facilities, branches and central distribution centers (CDCs). CBT, Cincinnati, is celebrating Jim Stahl’s 40th anniversary of ownership with a move to a new 100,000-sq-ft headquarters in July. Mitch Lane, CEO, Echo Group, Council Bluffs, Iowa, said the company built and opened a new location in Sioux City, Iowa, is currently building a new location for its Council Bluffs, Iowa, branch, is moving to a new corporate headquarters and added a third location in Des Moines, Iowa. Standard Electric Supply Co., Milwaukee, is building a 25,000-sq-ft addition to its headquarters; Werner Electric Supply Co., Appleton, Wis.; opened a new distribution center; Western United Electric Supply Corp., Brighton, Colo.; built a new test lab in Colorado and opened a new warehouse in Colorado; and Tri State Supply Co. Inc., Washington, Pa. opened a new CDC.    

Elliott Electric Supply, Nacogdoches, Texas, and Graybar Electric Co., St. Louis, two of the electrical distributors who have added the most branches over the past few years, didn’t let the uncertain economic environment stop their branch expansion programs. Elliott Electric opened locations in Tulsa, Okla.; Georgetown, Texas; Covington, La.; El Dorado, Ark.; Magnolia, Ark.; and Roswell, N.M. Graybar opened branches in New York, N.Y.; Orem, Utah; Watford City, Md.; Fort Worth, Texas; and Grand Forks, N.D.

Some distributors were investing in other areas of their operations. Phil deLoache, operating partner and president, First SOURCE Electrical, LLC, Houston, said his company is building a specialty group focused on the lighting and gear for multi-family and high-density housing projects. “This has proved to be a good investment and we’re in the process of moving this business into a new 26,000-square-foot facility which will be our first branch,” he said.

Graybar said the strategic investments it’s making in new locations, and expanding and developing its sales force, e-commerce and mobility has helped it outperform the market, and Greg Knowles, president and CEO, Autonomy Technology Inc., Las Vegas, says his company is “more strategically focused” and is building on its strengths in the automation market. “We are reinforcing what we are great at in the markets closest to our locations. We are centralizing our sales force, moving away from work from home to a more collaborative work environment.”

EDGES Electrical Group, LLC, San Jose, Calif., a partnership launched last year between Electrical Distributors Co, Inc., of San Jose and Granite Electrical Supply Inc., Sacramento, Calif., is in expansion mode, with a new branch in San Leandro, Calif., and new opportunities created by the merger and the strong Bay Area marketplace. “We have substantially increased our footprint due to our newly created partnership. Additionally, we’ve seen tailwinds due to improving economy,” said David Ahady, senior accountant.

In other news at Top 200 electrical distributors, Schaedler YESCO, Harrisburg, Pa., is sole sourcing Eaton gear in eight of its western Pennsylvania branches, The Hite Co., Altoona, Pa., invested in its distribution center, including the installation of a centralized wire cutting operation; K/E Electric Supply, Mt. Clemens, Mich., implemented an enhanced purchasing system that took more than three years of on-site work to develop; Wildcat Electric Supply, Houston, will launch a new E-Commerce and online portal this month; and TEC Manufacturing and Distribution Services, Georgetown, Texas, was named Distributor of the Year for GE’s Prolec Transformers group based on power unit sales.

We also must mention a number of big anniversaries for Top 200 distributors. Butler Supply, Fenton, Mo. (75 years); General Pacific Inc., Fairview, Ore. (50 years): Glenbard Electric Supply Inc., Lombard, Ill. (50 years); JH Larson Electrical Co., Plymouth, Minn. (85 years): KJ Electric Corp., East Syracuse, N.Y. (35 years); Metro Wire & Cable, Corp., Sterling Heights, Mich. (40 years): Peninsular Electric Distributors, West Palm Beach, Fla. (70 years); Tri-State Utility Products Inc., Marietta, Ga. (60 years); and Wholesale Electric Supply, Texarkana, Texas (70 years in 2017).