In January 2012, Industrial Distribution premiered its annual Watch List in an effort to shine light on the kind of industrial distributor that might not make our well-known Big 50 List. Some of these companies are too small; some don’t fit into the traditional MRO niche that the Big 50 has carved. Yet this series of short profiles takes a look at the “ones-to-watch” outside of the 50 biggest MRO distributors — notably those that are taking steps to improve operations and grow their business through acquisitions, training and development, product line expansion or other best practices.
ID implored the input of a handful of well-known industrial associations and buying groups to find these distributors. But there are many more worthy companies out there. Feel free to reach out to ID editor Mike Hockett at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think your company should make next year’s Watch List.
Since its 2012 inception, ID’s Watch List has helped shed light on 43 small-to-mid-sized industrial distributors, a demographic that comprises the majority of our readership. As in past years, several companies that were nominated this year declined to be recognized in our Watch List, citing their desire to stay under-the-radar, which is completely understandable.
Congratulations to this year’s honorees, listed no particular order. All information — provided by these companies — is as of Feb. 1, 2018:
Incredible Supply & Logistics
Headquarters: Virginia Beach, VA
President & CEO: Chris Faison
2017 sales: $12+ million
2017 sales growth (YoY): 28%
Warehouse square footage: 5,600
Employee headcount: 12
Offer e-commerce? Yes, starting in 2014
Recent Awards: Received ‘Exceptional’ rating in 2017 supporting United States Coast Guard (USCG) contract; Named a ‘Roaring 20’ middle-market company in 2016 by the Hampton Business Journal; Received 2015 World Class Team Supplier Award from Northrop Grumman.
Notes: ISL just added 3,600 square feet of warehouse space to support growth, and last spring it partnered with Under Armour and Dickies Workwear to launch ISL Custom — a secure e-commerce buying service that provides specialty embroidery and screen-printing service on high performance tactical appear, workwear, gear and equipment. In 2016 ISL was awarded a multi-year contract to supply the USCG Surface Forces Logistics Center lead acid batteries used onboard various vessels, and USCG previously awarded ISL a multi-year contract for supplying vessel parts and part kits.
Faison Commentary: “While we’re very proud of our recent awards, our team effort is what we’re most proud of. All our employees understand our vision for the future and how we’re going to get there. We’re going to be a $50 million company by 2021.”
Motor City Industrial
Headquarters: Hazel Park, MI
CEO: Joseph Stephens
2017 sales: Not disclosed
2017 sales growth (YoY): 143%
Warehouse square footage: 65,000
Employee headcount: 181
Offer e-commerce? Yes, launched in late 2017
Notes: Headquartered just outside of Detroit in Hazel Park, MI, MCI was formed through the early 2017 merger of Motor City Fastener and Charlotte, NC-based EMCO — a distributor of electrical, mechanical, fluid power and automation products. MCI opened its third Detroit-area location this past summer in Auburn Hills, MI; complementing its branches in Hazel Park (headquarters) and Farmington Hills. MCI launched its CribBoss Smart Inventory Systems in January of 2017 and this past summer it appointed 25-year Fastenal veteran Joe Stephens as CEO. Stephens helped lead the MCI-EMCO merger from his then-post as operating partner at private equity firm Oakland Standard. MCI launched its e-commerce-enabled website in Q4 of 2017.
MCI Commentary: “Motor City Industrial is a platform company backed by Oakland Standard Company and Kian Capital Partners focused on acquisition of family-owned industrial distributors. The ideal add-on targets have a strong market presence, long employee tenure and high technical aptitude. These qualities are difficult to replicate. MCI provides these companies with their CribBoss inventory management system, allowing them to go to market on an equal playing field with larger national competitors. CribBoss includes industrial vending machines, lockers and weight based bins for management of MRO and OEM replacement parts.”
Hydraulic Supply Company
Headquarters: Sunrise, FL
2017 sales:$75.5 million
2017 sales growth (YoY):12.1%
Warehouse square footage:120,000
Offer e-commerce?Yes, launched in 2014
Recent Awards:HSC has been named an Eaton Top-24 annual distributor for the past 10 straight years.
Notes:To say HSC has been busy in recent years would be an understatement. The full service fluid power products distributor has added the following locations since the start of 2015 — Knoxville, TN; Greensboro, NC; Charlotte, NC; Greenville, SC; Mobile, AL; Pompano, FL (repair center); New Orleans, LA; Columbia, SC; Monterrey, Mexico and Medley, FL. HSC’s branch network is supported the company’s 60,000-square-foot central distribution center at its Sunrise, FL headquarters. Last summer HSC acquired Fabacher Inc. — a Harvey, LA-based marine exhaust and fluid handling products distributor — enabling added capabilities in metal hose and pipe fabrication to HSC locations. The company just re-launched its e-commerce website on March 1.
HSC commentary: “We have plans to continue expansion in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Mexico. We also recently added two new major product lines — industrial hose and flexible metal hose — to our current list of more than 100 brands and 20,000+ stocked hydraulic, pneumatic and industrial parts.”
Haggard & Stocking
Headquarters: Indianapolis, IN
CEO: Herbert Haggard
2017 sales: $50 million
2017 sales growth (YoY): 3 to 5%
Warehouse square footage: 101,000
Employee headcount: 125
Offer e-commerce? Yes, launched in 2012
Recent Awards: H&S has been named among the Indianapolis Best Places to Work each year since 2015 by the Indianapolis Star. Industrial Buyers Consortium has recently given H&S the following honors: Distributor of the Year (2015, 2016, 2017); 2017 IBC Knowledge is Power Award; and the 2016 IBC SAMMY Award for contributions in support of IBC’s national accounts program. H&S received the Widia Top Sales Award in 2016 and was named Honda Manufacturing’s Supplier of the Year that year as well.
Notes: Industrial and aerospace supplies distributor Haggard & Stocking acquired Evansville, IN-based Imperial Fastener & Industrial Supply Co. in the fall of 2016, and Imperial began building a new $1.5 million warehouse and office facility in Evansville in July of last year. The company’s four regional distribution centers (Indianapolis, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; Waco, TX; Greensboro, NC) are complemented by seven forward stocking locations. H&S just launched a new e-commerce platform in January, with the site making it easier for customers to search and find products and place online orders.
H&S commentary: “Haggard & Stocking is the largest privately held industrial distributor in Indiana. We take great pride in being a regional leader in industrial products, services and technology. Haggard & Stocking supports its end user customer base (largely in the aerospace, automotive and medical device industries) with a highly experienced and technical staff. Due to our significant growth, we continue to add new staff to our sales and customer support teams. From mentorship programs to dedicated training programs, our leadership team shares a deep commitment to continuing education — ensuring that all Haggard & Stocking employees stay on the forefront of the latest product developments, innovative solutions and technology to support customers in the industries and regions we serve.”
Advanced Industrial Supply
Headquarters: Pocatello, ID
Owner: Ben Albano
Warehouse square footage: 20,000+
Employee headcount: 23
Offer e-commerce? In development
Notes: Advanced Industrial Supply is a full-line industrial distributor servicing all of southern Idaho, northern Utah, eastern Oregon and western Wyoming. It represents a diverse supplier network that includes 3M, Brady, Brighton Best, Intertape and Probelt. Advanced opened its Boise, ID location in 2015 and joined Affiliated Distributors in March 2016. The company is a 3M Premier Distributor and company has achieved double-digit sales growth for seven consecutive years.
AIS Commentary: “Our highly-trained sales force serves a broad group of customers that includes small, medium and large manufacturers; local, state and federal government agencies; agricultural, food processing and government contractors. We credit much of our growth to partnering with the best suppliers in the industry to bring innovation, increased productivity and improved processes, guaranteeing cost savings to our customers. We look forward to a very successful 2018.”