Company takes 13,220 square feet in Santa Rosa center

SANTA ROSA - One of North America's largest wholesale distributors of electrical, communications and networking products plans to open its first North Bay location here in August.

Graybar Electric Co. Inc. leased 13,220 square feet at 237 Todd Road on June 2 after scouting locations since last fall. Graybar, which has more than 220 locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, already has five locations in the Bay Area.

"We're excited about expanding into the North Bay," said spokeswoman Carrie Johnson.

Graybar product inventory includes telecommunications and security products, primarily for use by installers and users of these products. That list includes contractors, utilities, industrial companies, hospitals, government agencies and schools. The company also offers supply chain-management services.

St. Louis-based Graybar is the third-largest North American electrical distributor with $5.4 billion in sales last year, according to the June 2009 list by the trade publication Electrical Wholesaling. That's a nearly 3 percent increase in revenue from $5.25 billion the employee-owned company reported in 2007.

Other top-ranked distributors already have North Bay locations. For example, the No. 1 distributor on the list was Dallas-based International Electrical Supply Corp., which has locations in Napa and Fairfield under the Rexel brand. No. 2 ranked Wesco Distribution Inc. of Pittsburgh has a location in Windsor. Lake Forest, Ill.-based W.W. Grainger, ranked No. 7, has branches in Rohnert Park and San Rafael.

Graybar was ranked No. 439 on Fortune magazine's 2009 list of the top 500 companies and No. 1 in the Diversified Wholesaler category on the publication's list of the World's Most Admired Companies. Grainger was ranked No. 2 on the Most Admired list.

In 1869 Elisha Gray, nearly credited with the invention of the telephone, and Enos Barton started Gray & Barton in Cleveland and later carved out Graybar from the supply department of Western Electric Co.

In the long-term lease deal for Graybar's space in Santa Rosa, Sean Heaton and Josh Lindberg of Cushman & Wakefield represented the developers of Industry West Commerce Center. Keegan & Coppin/Oncor International's Shawn Johnson and Pinnacle Corporate Real Estate Services of St. Louis represented Graybar.

The new lease is welcome news, according to developer Vince Rizzo of Rizzo & Associates. After 75,000 square feet of leases in the first nine months of 2008, leasing has been slow until recent weeks.

"We're down to two or three more tenants to fill this project," he said.

In the Industry West complex, the Graybar lease fills the 26,600-square-foot building at 237 Todd. The 49,800-square-foot structure at 258 Sutton Place is 83 percent leased, and the 117,000-square-foot distribution warehouse is about 60 percent leased.

For more information, call 800-GRAYBAR (472-9227) or visit www.graybar.com.

On the Internet:

Electrical Wholesaling's June 2009 list of the Top 200 Electrical Distributors

Industrial Distribution's June 2008 list of the Top 10 Electrical Distributors