Tri-Ed's on a roll

Sunday, May 1, 2005

WOODBURY, N.Y.--Only a few months since becoming independent, Tri-Ed Distribution has already begun expanding its branch network in the United States, opening new branches in the Buffalo, N.Y., area and New Orleans market, with plans to open locations in San Antonio and Boston.
Steve Roth, chief executive office of Tri-Ed and a former executive of ADI, is spearheading the expansion plan to grow from 26 branches to more than 40 before the beginning of 2006. While it will represent a marked increase for Tri-Ed, it would still remain second in size in the security product distribution market to ADI, the largest distributor in this market with 105 locations in North America.
"I see there is significant opportunity for another national distributor," said Roth, who is based at the company's corporate headquarters here.
When Roth, Wheatley Partners and USBX Advisory Services bought the low-voltage product distributor from Tyco International in February, the company reported 26 locations in Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States. But 11 of those locations are located in Canada.
Roth said the company already has good coverage in that country, but expanding its reach in the United States is a priority.
"We have an aggressive plan to build out the East Coast from New England south, and we will also be doing the same as we expand north of Texas up to the Chicago and Detroit area," said Roth.
The first new location for Tri-Ed took place at the end of February, when the company opened a brand new branch in Cheektowaga, N.Y.
The second location for Tri-Ed came in early March when it bought two-year old product distributor Optimum Security in Metairie, La., for an undisclosed price.
Roth said Tri-Ed will grow by starting locations from scratch and acquiring existing distribution companies. But how quickly Tri-Ed will expand hinges upon a new IT system now being implemented.
The system, which is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter, will link the company's Canadian and U.S. operations for the first time, enabling branches in either country to seamlessly share product information, billing and database information.
The upgrade will also expand the capability for customers to interact with Tri-Ed via the Internet, a service that is now offered in a limited basis both in terms of what can be done online and which customers have access to the system.
"It will enable us to manage the business as a single entity," said Roth. "It will enable us to be incredibly more efficient in our purchasing and inventory control."