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Holt Electrical Supply Shows What Value-Added Really Means

By Scott Costa, Publisher tED magazine


If you want to talk about value-added services, I came across a great story. 

This is a relationship business.  It’s something AmazonSupply, other online retailers and even the big chain DIY stores can’t do better than traditional electrical distributors.

As a result of building a great relationship, Labor Day weekend became a way to build on a long-standing relationship.

While I was relaxing on the Monday holiday, I met an electrician at RJP Electric in St. Louis.  When I told him I was the publisher at tED magazine, he told me his weekend started with an emergency situation at a school in the area.

The school had a major power malfunction on Friday night.  The good news is there was plenty of time before the kids were going to be back in the classroom on Tuesday morning.  The bad news is this was a three day holiday weekend.

On Friday night around 8pm, RJP contacted its distributor, Holt Electrical Supplies.  RJP’s contact at Holt is Vice President John Magee.

 “I was scheduled to go to Denver Saturday morning,” Magee told me.  That didn’t happen.  Instead, Magee met with contractors at the school at 5:30am on Saturday.

“I’ve been in the industry for 30 years.  I have been a gear guy all my life.  The only way that we can separate ourselves from our competitors is our response time,” Magee said.

“John helped draft this solution.  That’s where the value comes in,” Holt Vice-President Ryan Holtzman added. “We don’t just have keys to the building.  John has experience in design.   We do more than just supply material.”

This was no simple job.  After RJP electricians consulted with Magee on the job site, what was first thought to be a panel malfunction actually led to the need to build an entire pipe riser.  Magee and Holtzman were able to bring in more employees on the holiday weekend in a short amount of time.

“We offer as a company 24 hour emergency service.  It’s on all of our business cards.  Our customers know that we are going to help them out of that bind. We reached out to them Friday night to confirm that they would be here Saturday morning.  We brought in a warehouse guy and a driver.  These are guys who had the weekend off and came in to work 7-4.”

On top of that, an employee who works inside sales also came in to help.  He took a truck to another of Holt’s locations to pick up a part and deliver it to the job site.

“We are lucky to have employees who will come in and work on a holiday weekend,” Holtzman said. “They could have told me no.  But we have buy-in to go the extra mile from everybody here.  Our warehouse guys were willing to step up with no questions asked.  And that’s what we have to offer.”

Holt says it is service like this that prevents its customers from looking other places for their service and supplies.

“We will be treated fairly because we go the extra mile for them so they don’t even look online,” Magee said.  “We consider ourselves to be just as competitive as online retailers or Home Depot. We preach service all day.  And we take care of our customers.  I have a pretty simple philosophy that if all things are equal, people do business with the people they like and trust.”

“John has spent years cultivating our relationships.  He is their solutions guy,” Holtzman said. “When it comes down to a small difference in bids, they will go with us because John didn’t go to Denver this weekend.”

By 8pm on Saturday night, power was restored to the school.  The kids walked into their classrooms on Tuesday morning without a clue of what had happened over the weekend.  And Holt Electrical Supply had one great story to tell. 

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