Seven Months Later, Tri-Ed Shows Its Growth

Independent distributor adds new product lines, focuses on training


Tri-Ed, an independent distributor of security systems products, is spreading its wings.

After being sold off from Tyco in January 2005, Steve Roth (CEO and owner of Tri-Ed) has been focusing on growing the distribution company to different areas of the U.S. and Canada. And on the list are new Tri-Ed centers in the Southeast and in the Midwest. Both locations are expected to be formally announced in the coming weeks. According to Roth, the growth plan will add other locations in the later part of 2005 and 2006, with a stated goal of being able to service the entire U.S. by the end of 2006. It will help move the company from being West Coast and Canada-centric, he explains. Growth areas will specifically include the Northeast and the Midwest. A Clearwater, Fla. is expected to open on Oct. 1, and Roth says that growth, in terms of new locations, is ahead of schedule. Roth made the announcements during the ISC East security show, held last week in New York City.

According to Roth, the company has been “a work in progress” since it was separated from Tyco. Roth cited the revamping of the company’s existing IT system for servicing accounts as being one of the top priorities for the company. The new IT system for managing accounts is expected to deliver in the fourth quarter 2005.

The company has already added over 200 manufacturers of products to its line-up, and is expanding in areas such as sound and communications, CCTV and access control. Tri-Ed’s Senior Vice President James Rothstein noted that industry names like HID, EverFocus, Securitron and HES have all come aboard recently in the security arena, along with companies such as JVC, Kenwood, Xantech, and Sherwood in the sound and communications market. Hayden Industries’ central vacuum systems are also part of the new product line-up available through Tri-Ed.

“Dealers are concerned that their business is being taken for granted,” said Roth, when asked about the impetus for such quick growth. He added that “The [distribution] system works better when we have good competitive dynamics in the industry.” Roth said that the competition will give dealers a natural benefit, but “We’re not saying we’re the panacea when we step into a new area.”

Patrick Comunale, the company’s chief operating officer, added that training will be a major focus of Tri-Ed’s business model. The company, he said, will offer a Tri-Ed Masters Training Program, that will educate its associates so that they can offer manufacturer-like product knowledge directly from their distribution staff.

Roth, however, was quick to note that growth won't be easy. "Freight," he said, "is a killer," but he added that expansion of locations should aid the company in being able to provide fast order turn-around.

Tri-Ed is online at www.tri-ed.com.