During 2011, Graybar Electric Co., St. Louis, opened branches in Hudson Valley, N.Y.; Lafayette, Ind.; Brooklyn, Minn.; Bel Ridge, Mo.; City of Industry, Calif.; and closed locations in Wanamassa, N.J., and Medford, Ore.
While Rexel Holdings USA, Dallas, closed 27 locations in 2011, it added more than 100 locations with its acquisition last month of Platt Electric Supply, Beaverton, Ore.
With all the talk about California being the land of the giants, there’s still room for aggressive independent distributors. Bob LaRue, president, Alameda Electrical Distributors, Hayward, Calif., is looking for 2012 growth of 12%–16% based in part on his acquisition last year of Central Wholesale Electric Supply of Livermore, Calif., and its locations in Modesto, Salinas, Sand City and Paso Robles, and growth in the health-care, biotech and alternative energy sectors.
Remember the rock anthem lyrics “Cleveland rocks”? Sounds like the Leffs of Leff Electric Co., Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, might be shouting them again this year. Sanford Leff, Jr., executive V.P., and brother Bruce, president, see a 9% to 10% increase in 2012 sales and say energy solutions opportunities are increasing dramatically. They are also seeing growth in commercial construction and their national retail accounts business.
Business looks strong across all markets in upstate New York and northern New England for Horizon Solutions, Rochester, N.Y., although the company’s industrial OEM business is flat after two years of 20% growth. All in all, it’s good enough for a 12% growth forecast. But what really is amazing Jim Newton, president, these days is the growth of solid-state lighting. “The speed at which LEDS are changing the whole lighting world is astonishing,” he says.
Jack Maltby, president, Maltby Electric Supply Co. Inc., San Francisco, said solar construction was big in 2011, but that it’s lagging this year. A growth market in the Bay Area is commercial construction, which he says has picked up significantly in 2012 over 2011.
Across the country, the solar market is also slowing in New Jersey, a former hotbed for PV projects. Jeffrey Musoff, CFO, Warshauer Electric Supply Co. Inc., Tinton Falls, N.J., says the Garden State’s solar market continues to decline but that its core contractor business segment that accounts for 80% of sales are showing growth. He expects a 10% boost in 2012.
Fromm Electric Supply, Reading, Pa., is seeing an interesting mix of growth markets. Lou Fromm, V.P. of marketing and communications, and Jon Gerhart, V.P. of sales, see renewed growth in consumer retail/national accounts; appliances (residential & commercial); and commercial lighting; significant growth in industrial segment; and project wins in the solar markets. With these increases and several branches “hitting their stride,” Fromm and Gerhart expect 12% growth in 2012.
Let’s hear it for some good news from MoTown. Devin Ezop, general manager, Metro Wire & Cable Corp., Sterling Heights, Mich., says the company is seeing growth in the utility market on both the generation and distribution side, as well as industrial projects. Ezop also reports that the company is happy with sales from its newly opened sales and distribution center in Iowa City, Iowa, that focuses on the electrical contractor and utility markets, and on sales out of its Atlanta sales and distribution center, which focuses on utility, low-voltage and electrical contractor sectors. It all adds up to a forecast for a 15% sales increase for Metro Wire & Cable.
In the heartland, John Franken, president, Echo Supply Group, Council Bluffs, Iowa, expects a healthy 15% sales increase, based on improving industrial business and a strong farming market. “Commercial and residential are still soft, but are showing positive signs,” he says.
In the utility market, Johnny Andrews, COO, TEC Utility Supply & Service, Georgetown, Texas, says the build-out in advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems and the oil, gas and irrigation niches are good markets. Housing developments are flat, but Andrews expects a small residential uptick. He also expects sales for the $120 million distributor to increase 15% in 2012.
While Mike Romme, Stanion Wholesale Electric Co., Pratt., Kan., expects sales to be flat is year, he says there’s been renewed growth in the oil, gas and commercial aircraft industries. The company also acquired J&R Electric, Liberty, Mo.
American Electric Supply Inc., Corona, Calif., closed its San Diego branch because customers preferred delivery from the company’s Corona, Calif., main branch instead of driving to will call in San Diego. Mike Pratt, president, is gunning for a 2012 sales increase of 11% to 14% that will be based in part on the company focusing on increasing market share as that Californian economy slowy comes back.