Winkle Electric already serves Lawrence and Mercer counties.
THE VINDICATOR, YOUNGSTOWN
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR
YOUNGSTOWN -- Winkle Electric expects to nearly double its sales within two years by expanding in Pennsylvania.
The 58-year-old supplier of electrical equipment is opening a distribution center and sales office in Erie and sales offices in Meadville and Seneca next month.
Robert Conger, vice president of sales, said the new offices and expected increase in sales are the result of Winkle's obtaining additional distribution territory for Allen-Bradley automation control products.
Winkle will add these Pennsylvania counties to its territory: Erie, Crawford, Venango, Forest and Clarion. It now supplies Allen-Bradley equipment in Lawrence and Mercer counties in Pennsylvania and Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio.
Sells: Allen-Bradley is the largest supplier of automation control equipment. These products are used by companies such as General Motors and Delphi Packard Electric Systems to control conveyor belts and other production equipment.
Conger said Winkle, which has been supplying Allen-Bradley products in Youngstown for 50 years, has been looking to expand when this opportunity in Pennsylvania arose. Winkle had to bid against other electrical suppliers for the territory.
Another company previously held the territory, so there is an established client base in the Erie region, said Rick Teaberry, company president.
Advantage: Conger said he thinks Winkle won the territory because of its detailed marketing database. It can evaluate a market down to the customer level with information on which potential customers are there and what equipment they are using now.
"We target real business that's there instead of mass marketing and hoping that some of them stick," he said.
Winkle intends to employ 16 at its Erie office, five in Meadville and two in Seneca. It has 50 employees at 1900 Hubbard Road in Youngstown. Conger declined to release the company's sales figures.
He added the company intends to continue growing and will look at acquisitions as they become available.
Forecast: He said the recession has hurt the business because companies have cut back on their capital spending. Winkle also handles maintenance and repair work. Conger said Winkle has seen signs of improvement, however, because companies are beginning to put more jobs out for bid.
Besides its Allen-Bradley business, it also distributes products from more than 25 of the world's top manufacturers of electrical parts and supplies.