Supplier of the Year: Grainger
The Grainger team at the new Santa
Ana branch, which opened in April, from left, Hung Nguyen,
customer service associate; Ashley Bowden-Potts, branch
manager; Antoine Jackson, customer service associate;
and Eric Roth, sales associate (photo courtesy of Grainger).
Grainger ranged far and wide in the past year in Southern
The Illinois-based company-a broad-line supplier of facilities
maintenance products to contractors, businesses and institutions-opened
in 2005 full-service branches in Culver City, Irvine, Santa
Ana, Sorrento and Torrance.
Grainger also relocated several facilities to Burbank, Chino,
Long Beach, Oxnard and Rancho Cucamonga. And new Grainger
Express locations opened in Santa Monica and the Wilshire
district of Los Angeles.
"For the third quarter of 2005, we grew in Southern
California by 17 percent compared to the same quarter the
year before," said Chris Garleib, Grainger's regional
sales vice president for California and Nevada.
Illinois-based Grainger has been a local supplier to business
customers throughout California for 70 years, and now operates
about 50 locations in the state. The California outlets are
supported by a 338,000-sq.-ft. location in Mira Loma.
The $5-billion company has about 600 locations throughout
North America and employs more than 15,000.
"Our goal is to lower the number of customers per territory,
which in the end gives us more customer touches and better
service to the customer," Garleib said.
"In Northern California, we're positioning ourselves
to better serve the wine and health care industries. We even
have some territories that are dedicated to serving the health
In Southern California, inventory levels are up 50 percent,
square footage is up 55 percent and the company increased
its sales staff by 40 percent. Graleib said the investment
in Southern California will continue in 2006.
"We're really understanding our customer needs and solving
their problems more effectively because we have more high-quality
people out there to do that," Garleib said.
"That is what's really fun about that this expansion."
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