Keep an Eye on Them
When we take a look at the most-read news and blogs on Industrial Distribution at the end of each year, it’s expectedly dominated by some of the biggest names in this industry. Very large distributors like Grainger, Motion and Fastenal garner frequent headlines due to their market presence and the fact that they are literally putting out the most news.
But what about the companies that are too small to make The Big 50? While dwarfed in size compared to those national distributors, independent firms still comprise the vast majority of the industrial supply market — even amid rapid consolidation in this space that has considerably accelerated in recent months. Many of these small- and mid-sized distributors are family-owned and have been quietly operating under the radar for generations.
That’s why we at ID began our annual Watch List in 2012. While our Big 50 List is always our most anticipated annual feature, our Watch List shines a light on a batch of deserving distributors that are too small to make it on to the Big 50, but warrant recognition either for recent growth, innovation or just their reputation as a well-run company.
To produce our Watch List, we called upon a handful of industrial distribution buying groups and cooperatives to nominate one or two member distributors for us to recognize. From there, we reached out to those nominees with a brief information questionnaire, asking those companies to provide only as much information as they were comfortable sharing. We used that info to then create the resulting mini-company profiles you’ll find over the following pages, listed in no particular order.
We congratulate this year’s four companies for earning a spot on Industrial Distribution’s 2022 Watch List, and give our thanks to the buying groups, associations and cooperatives that nominated them. This year's list is actually the shortest in the feature's now 11-year history, but not for lack of trying. Those industry groups did a fantastic job nominating over a dozen companies combined, but despite multiple attempts at contacting the remainder of the nominees and via a variety of methods, respondents were limited. Perhaps those distributors were still in mid-pandemic recovery; perhaps they just wanted to stay under-the-radar; or, they may have just been too busy with operations closing out the end of 2021 and starting 2022. It's all understandable.
If you’d like to be considered for next year’s Watch List list, send an email to email@example.com and we’ll make sure to send you a nomination form when the time comes.
— Mike Hockett, Managing Editor
Weisser DistributingNominated by: NetPlus Alliance
Top executives: Eric Weisser, CEO; Michael Childers, president
Year founded: 1978
Headquarters: Tea, South Dakota
Total locations: 3
Key product categories: Automotive, industrial, tools.
Total employee headcount: 200
Total SKU count: 13,000
Total 2021 sales: $180 million
Total 2020 sales: $153 million
Do they offer e-commerce? Yes, since 2010
Recent awards/honors/certifications: 2021 Inc. 5000 honoree
Recent company news: Weisser has approximately 300 partnered brands, adding 30-40 new brand partners each year and is growing its leadership in the e-commerce marketplace.
Company commentary: “Weisser is a long-time traditional distributor which has made the successful transition into the e-commerce market. We value long-term relationships and channel integrity, and view e-commerce as an added tool for our partners and work with them to ensure we are meeting their expectations.”
Hose of South Texas, Inc.Nominated by: IDCO Co-op
Top executive: Tripp Batey, president
Year founded: 1978
Headquarters: Corpus Christi, Texas
Total locations: 1
Key product categories: Industrial & hydraulic hose & fittings, petroleum equipment, hose & cord reels, clamps, hydraulic & pneumatic repair, specialty products, quick ship hose assemblies, metal hose fabrication, hydrostatic testing.
Total employee headcount: 49
Total SKU count: 164,000
Do they offer e-commerce? Yes, since 2017
Recent awards/honors/certifications: Member of NAHAD Hose Safety Institute; 2019 IDCO Member of the Year; President Tripp Batey served on IDCO Board of Directors from 2017-2020 and was elected to NAHAD Board for 2022.
Recent company news: Keeping up with the growing South Texas market, Hose of South Texas moved into a 70,000-square-foot renovated facility in 2015 and started a hydraulic repair division to service the growing needs of its customers in 2016. Representing over 500 suppliers, the company hired an operations manager in 2019 to increase productivity and promoted from within a vice president of sales to improve sales, customer relations and increased contact with accounts. With e-commerce paving a way to the future, Hose of South Texas has partnered with Unilog to launch a transformed e-commerce presence during the first quarter of 2022, while simultaneously implementing texting capabilities with Moblico to engage faster and easier with customers.
Company commentary: “Since 1978, Hose of South Texas has been supplying a complete line of hose and hose-related products to a variety of industries. Our mission is to offer world-class products while providing superior customer service to deliver industry-best solutions. With our employees combined years of experience, we are able to assist our customers in solving all their hose-related problems.”
Cross Hose & FittingsNominated by: IDCO Co-op
Top executives: John King, CEO; Mary Melton-Hale, group president
Year founded: 1954
Headquarters: Greensboro, North Carolina
Total Locations: 5
Key product categories: Industrial & hydraulic hose, thermoplastic & PTFE tubing, hose fittings, couplings, connectors, hose fabrication equipment.
Total employee headcount: 42
Total SKU count: 10,000
2021 sales growth vs. 2020: 24%
Do they offer e-commerce? Yes, on www.shopcross.com
Recent awards/honors/certifications: Parker Elite Connections Gold National Award for 2021.
Recent company news: Cross Hose & Fittings opened a new location in Durham, NC in 2021. They also recently added mobile hose service in Greensboro, NC.
Company commentary: “At Cross Hose and Fittings, we focus on providing safe and high-quality products to our customers with world-class customer service.We are proud to be 100 percent employed-owned and believe that our amazing associates are the key to our success. The recent addition of the Durham store has allowed us to better serve the Triangle market. In the coming years we are looking to continue and grow into underserved markets.”
Tricor Industrial, Inc.Nominated by: STAFDA
Top executives: Nancy Stitzlein, CEO/president; Michael Stitzlein, president
Year founded: 1989
Headquarters: Wooster, OH
Website: www.tricorindustrial.com, www.tricormetals.com
Total Locations: 6 (2 industrial)
Key product categories: Fasteners, abrasives, cutting tools, safety, general line MRO supplies, equipment rentals.
Total employee headcount: 212
Total SKU count: 50,000+
Total 2021 sales: $56.9 million ($3.9 million industrial)
Total 2020 Sales: $58.6 million ($3.6 million industrial)
Recent awards/honors/certifications: WBENC Women-Owned Business Certification; Proud member of STAFDA, Netplus Alliance and Induserve.
Recent company news: In late 2019, Tricor Industrial joined NetPlus Alliance. As a longtime member of both STAFDA and Induserve, Tricor said NetPlus gave it an industrial source to expand vendor relationships and discuss best practices with other similar industrial distributors. The company notes that its sales with NetPlus have grown year-over-year from 2019 to 2021, and eyes 2022 being another successful year. Tricor said it recently found ways to be creative, with one of them being its new vending solutions program. The company installed 10 vending machines between 2020-2021 as a new way to sustain and grow business. Says Tricor: “Our partnerships with these customers through this program are one of the best ways to describe how we want to service and support their needs. We look forward to our continued success with this program and strengthening our relationships with our current and future customers.”
Company commentary: “Staffing, supply chain and transportation issues arising in 2020 & 2021 have been a real challenge, but by mid-year 2021, our staff was in place for us to finish with a very strong year. Q4 2021 ended with double-digit growth each month resulting with us having a positive year. The largest part of our company, Tricor Metals, is a world-leading distributor of titanium mill products like plate, sheet, bar, billet, pipe and forgings. We are also custom fabricators and build process equipment in titanium, tantalum, zirconium, high-nickel alloys, duplex and 300-series stainless steel. Our field repair crews are mobilized globally to weld repair reactive metal equipment. We serve the world's titanium needs, producing titanium, tantalum, zirconium niobium, Hastelloy and Duplex Stainless.”
Previous ID Watch List Companies
- Alaska Industrial Hardware (Anchorage, AL)
- Alaska Rubber Group (Anchorage, AL)
- Allied tools (Louisville, KY)
- Commerce Hose & Industrial Products (Commerce, CA)
- DiVal Safety Equipment (Buffalo, NY)
- Mahar Tool Supply (Saginaw, MI)
- RJW Industrial Group (Lancaster, PA)
- Engman-Taylor (Menomonee Falls, WI)
- Industrial Bolt & Supply (Auburn, WA)
- P.F. Markey (Saginaw, MI)
- Quality Mill Supply Co. (Franklin, IN)
- Tech Service Products (Harahan, LA)
- 3B Supply (Cleveland, OH)
- Cline Tool (Newton, IA)
- Earnest Machine (Rocky River, OH)
- HiVis Supply (Brooksville, FL)
- Mallory Safety and Supply (Longview, WA)
- Manufactured Duct & Supply (Atlanta, GA)
- O-Ring Sales & Service, Inc. (Lenexa, KS)
- Advanced Industrial Supply (Pocatello, ID)
- Incredible Supply & Logistics (Virginia Beach, VA)
- Haggard & Stocking (Indianapolis, IN)
- Hydraulic Supply Company (Sunrise, FL)
- Motor City Industrial (Hazel Park, MI)
- All Industrial Tool Supply (Huntington Beach, CA)
- Amazon Hose & Rubber Company (Orlando, FL)
- GME Supply Co. (Columbia, MO)
- Industrial Tooling & Supply, Inc. (Anniston, AL)
- TIPCO Technologies, Inc. (Owings Mills, MD)
- Tools Unlimited, Inc. (Stoughton, MA)
- Western States Tool & Supply (Hayward, CA)
- Green Rubber-Kennedy Ag (Salinas, CA)
- JGB Enterprises (Liverpool, NY)
- Midland Metal Manufacturing Co. (Kansas City, MO)
- Scott Industrial Systems (Dayton, OH)
- SUPPLY.com (Atlanta, GA)
- AMMEX Corporation (Kent, WA)
- Bolts & Nuts Corp. (Chattanooga, TN)
- ECP (Houston, TX)
- Innovative Tooling & Accessories (Houston, TX)
- ILMO Products Company (Jacksonville, FL)
- Reynolds & Sons (So. Barre, VT)
- Updike Supply (Dayton, OH)
- Wisconsin Industrial Supply Co. (Franksville, WI)