The commercial and industrial markets in the San Francisco Bay area have been hit hard by the foundering economy, and electrical distributors that serve those markets are fighting fierce daily battles for any piece of business. Nonetheless, OneSource Distributors, LLC, San Diego, which has served the utility market in the Bay Area for three years, announced that it is gearing up to go after the commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors there.

OneSource is expanding its 65,000 square foot distribution center in Hayward/Union City, Calif., and has hired sales and operations managers to lead a regional sales division team to concentrate on C&I in the Bay Area and surrounding counties. Don Swartz has rejoined OneSource as the operations manager in Northern California and the company hired Joe Helfrich, a 30-year field sales veteran, to begin driving sales activity.

News of OneSource's expansion has caused a stir in the Northern California electrical industry. Reps in the area declined to comment for the record on its impact due to the potential political fallout for established customer relationships.

They said competition among distributors has been intense, particularly in the commercial market where several major players already are fighting for share in a shrunken market. Gexpro, Independent Electric and Graybar were mentioned among the top contestants for commercial business.

“Adding any distribution to the market is going to have an impact. The share OneSource takes will have to come on the back of someone else,” said one rep.

The commercial market has been “on its heels” since the downturn began and shows no signs of improving this year, the reps said. The smaller industrial market has begun to grow in the low single-digits.

OneSource expects to have its expanded Northern California distribution facilities up and running this summer.

The company is also building a new 70,000-square-foot distribution center in Buena Park, Calif., to serve the Orange County/Los Angeles market.