Shealy Electrical Wholesalers, West Columbia, S.C., announced plans to merge with Electrical Distributors Inc., Charlotte, N.C., in a deal that would broaden its reach from its base in South Carolina, eastern Georgia and eastern North Carolina into the Charlotte market where EDI operates six branches. According to the letter of intent, the deal will become official in Jan. 2012.

The two companies are both on this year's Top 200 list, with Shealy ranked #63 with180 employees and 10 locations, and EDI ranked at #116 with $50.3 million in 2010 sales, 82 employees and six locations.

An announcement posted on Shealy's website said, “In the past we have been friendly competitors who shared best practices within our companies, and shared the strong commitment to providing high levels of service to our customers and consistent growth to our suppliers. By joining together, we are able to provide even higher levels of service to our expanded customer base, through a network of 16 locations across the Carolinas, supported by 280 well-trained associates.

“EDI will continue to operate under the EDI name, as a division of Shealy Electrical Wholesalers. The combined organization, as a larger and stronger independent electrical wholesaler, will be well positioned for continued growth and to meet future customer needs.”

Shealy Electrical Wholesalers and Electrical Distributors Inc. have dramatically different customer mixes, and had been members of different buying/marketing groups, with Shealy belonging to Affiliated Distributors and EDI a long-time member of IMARK Group. EDI gets most of its sales from the commercial construction market in the Charlotte area, where it has operated since 1954. Shealy relies on a mix of business in the contractor, industrial MRO, utility and international market segments. Over the last few years, Shealy Electrical Wholesalers has built on its expertise in the international and export markets. According to information on its website, the company purchased Construction Technologies (CTI) in 2006 to form an international division, and to date CTI has supplied more than $50 million of electrical equipment to the U.S. Government in Afghanistan and Iraq and is registered in the U.S. Department of Defense Central Contractor Database.

As home to one of the most vibrant electrical markets in the Sunbelt, North Carolina has seen plenty of acquisition activity from regional and national chains that want to bolster their operations in the state. Over the past 25 years, the largest North Carolina-based electrical distributors that have been acquired included Mill Power Supply Co., Charlotte, N.C. (Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED); Electric Supply, Inc., High Point, N.C. (Crescent Electric Supply); Bryant Electric Supply Co. Inc., Lowell, N.C. (Hagemeyer); Moore Electric Supply, Inc., Charlotte, N.C. (Hughes Supply); Maddux Supply, Greensboro, N.C. (Mayer Electric Supply); Rigby Electric Supply Inc., Rocky Mount, N.C. (Sonepar USA); and Shepherd Electric Supply, Raleigh, N.C. (State Electric Supply).

As North Carolina's largest metropolitan area, Charlotte has attracted its share of this merger-and-acquisition activity. Charlotte has emerged over the past few decades as one of the largest cities in the Southeast. With close to 2 million residents in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury metropolitan statistical area (MSA), only the Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Tampa Bay MSAs are larger in the Southeast. Much of the Charlotte metropolitan area's commercial construction comes from banks and other financial institutions.