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Sparks center opens door to western states

NNBW Staff

Priority Wire & Cable, which recently opened a distribution operation in Sparks, looks to its northern Nevada operation to open a market that includes the 13 Western states.

The company based in Little Rock, Ark., launched a sales and distribution center in a 30,000-square-foot space at 945 Spice Island Drive.

Brent Barclay, who oversees the Sparks distribution center, said Priority Wire & Cable positions itself as a middleman between manufacturers and distributors.

Manufacturers in the wire industry typically require large production runs and often can’t provide the fast turnaround that their distributors want.

Priority fills this gap by stocking nearly 100 types of wire and cable buying it by the shipping container, then cutting products to fill orders from distributors.

It’s been a successful strategy.

A trade publication in 2002 ranked Priority Wire & Cable No.

1 in sales growth in the electrical distribution industry.

That sales growth has come without a strong West Coast presence for the company, which has battled shipping costs from its distribution centers in Little Rock, Houston and Baton Rouge, La.

“We were so far away that we couldn’t get it done,” Barclay said.

That’s about to change, he said.

The company now has sales representatives trolling for business in the West, and they’re supported by an inside sales force at the Sparks center.

The 11-year-old company employs six sales and distribution staff in Sparks, a number that Barclay expects to rise to 12- 15 as Priority gets its feet on the ground.

The distribution center houses about $3 million to $3.5 million in inventory.

That, Barclay said, probably will increase to about $12 million and that means the company likely will be looking for about three times its current space as it West Coast sales grow.

The key piece to the company’s sales growth, he said, will be its ability to provide excellent service to its customers.

Distributors, for instance, get real-time access to Priority’s inventory through the company’s Web site.

“We’re becoming the Wal-Mart of wire and cable,” Barclay said.

Priority chose Reno, he said, because of its central location in the West a key element in providing fast service to the company’s customers as well as Nevada’s tax structure.

Those advantages, Barclay said, more than offset the potential benefits of being able to serve some metropolitan customers even faster from a location in Southern California.


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