Walter's grows with security

Distributor's commitment to low-voltage has led to new locations
Saturday, March 1, 2008

BREA, Calif.--Just 18 months after making a commitment to security products, Walter's Wholesale Electric has used the new business to open new branches in Culver City, Covena, Vista, Vernon, and Scripps Ranch, and has plans to open a branch in the San Fernando Valley by the second quarter of 2008.
However, the company remains committed to staying within the California borders and increasing density, said Tom Fessler, marketing manager for the fire and security division. "We've got the persona of being a mom-and-pop operation," he said, "because we're family owned, but with all of our branches in Southern California, we're not larger here than anybody. But we want them to continue to look at us as mom-and-pop. We don't chase the elephants; we deal with the medium to small contractors."
However, the company wants to prepare those contractors for any job, and has recently unveiled a new training center that seats 60, where classes will be held focusing on IP technology and the broadening home theater market.
"That's the fastest-growing segment," Fessler said, "I bet ADI would say that, too."
Much of what's driving the security business for Walter's, though, is the crossover between its traditional electrician customers and its security customers. "If we get a commercial lighting job," he said, "then they don't have to farm out the security and fire. We've got partners we can bring in for them ... Utopia would be the day that we get our electrical contractors coming to us automatically to do the low-voltage for them. We'll do the job walk, we'll bid the materials, and we'll bring in one of our integrators to do the work."