Steiner Electric Co.'s recent purchase of Crown Industrial Supply positions the company as a stronger force to reckon with in Chicago's industrial market. The acquisition enables Steiner Electric, which for years has had a focus on automation, MRO and OEM business, to offer its customers other industrial products as well, said Rick Kerman, president of the Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based electrical distributor.

"We have been tracking changes in the market with integrated supply and national accounts," he said. "OEM and industrial business is a primary focus for us, and we had to answer the customers' question, "We want to work closer with you. What other product could you handle?"

Steiner Electric will eventually stock Crown Industrial's product lines alongside its electrical products in its five locations. The 55-year-old Crown Industrial, which has over 30 employees and had 1998 sales of $10 million, specializes in cutting tools, abrasives and chemicals.

Like Steiner Electric, Crown Industrial is a member of Affiliated Distributors, King of Prussia, Pa. With the acquisition, Steiner Electric plans to become more active in A-D's national-account and integrated-supply initiatives, said Rick Kerman.