With all the economic gloom and doom, it was refreshing to see that so many of the early respondents to Electrical Wholesaling's survey for this year's Top 200 listing are expecting their 2010 sales to increase over last year.

Five of those early-bird respondents are expecting sales to bounce back at a double-digit rate. James VanZandt, president and CEO, Tri State Supply Co. Inc., Washington, Pa., expects his company's sales to be up 15 percent over 2009, and said he saw a “strong increase” in business in March. “OEMs have finally started to release orders,” he said in his survey response.

At Summit Electric Supply Co., Albuquerque, N.M., Russ Hiller, CFO, said he expects sales to increase 10 percent this year, but that while MRO is gaining strength, commercial construction is lagging. During the past year Summit Electric Supply opened new branches in Waco, Texas, and New Orleans, La., but closed locations in Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla.

Brent Spear, president, Electrical Distributors Inc., Charlotte, N.C., isn't expecting too much sales growth this year. “Residential is coming back modestly, but commercial construction is still in bad shape,” he says. A bright spot for the company has been green products, and Spear says his volume in this market niche has probably doubled over the past year.

While Brian Becker, V.P. of finance for Border States Industries Inc., Fargo, N.D., is expecting a 20 percent sales increase in 2010, the overall outlook for his company's diverse mix of markets is mixed. The company sees growth in the energy sector, flat to little growth in its industrial sector and a dip in its commercial sector.