DuPage owners Max Kuhlman, dad Peter and brother Sam have grown the business exponentially and are poised to pass along the savings from their greater buying power.
Parts supplier leverages increased buying power to lower prices
By Andy Kriege, YSN
At a time when prices seem to be skyrocketing on all parts and services across the industry, BrandSource partner DuPage Industries has leveraged its newly expanded warehouse and headquarters to buy bigger and sell for less.
DuPage is one of the nation’s largest full-line suppliers of appliance installation materials, including stainless steel gas range and dryer connectors, range and dryer electrical cords, washer and dishwasher hoses, and everything in between.
Co-owner Sam Kuhlman is notifying the independent dealers he serves that the company will be lowering prices later this month on cord, venting and rubber hose pricing to help his customers compete in the face of rising costs and record inflation this holiday season.
It was only last year that the Kuhlmans moved the family business from Wood Dale, Ill., to nearby Addison to accommodate their company’s explosive growth. The new facility is two-and-a-half times larger than the previous digs and is located less than 30 minutes from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Since relocating, the distributor has leveraged its expanded warehouse capacity and greater sales volume to muscle better deals from many of its suppliers.
“We moved into our new location last year and are already bursting at the seams,” Kuhlman said. “We’ve brought on two new employees this year alone. The new building has allowed us to order by container rather than by pallet, giving us even more bargaining power. We started bringing in our own brand of cords from oversees. This has allowed us to shore up our supply chain issues and procure a steady supply of inventory. In turn, we can now be more competitive with pricing. Now that we control the supply and have the product at our disposal, we can pass on those savings to our customers.”
Kuhlman sees a bright outlook for both his business and the industry in 2023. “We are expecting consistent growth even if we do, in fact, experience a recession,” he said. “We run an extremely tight ship with healthy balances on our books so we are poised to absorb any slowdown that might come. However, from what we’ve seen over the last few decades, this is a resilient industry that doesn’t decline too much. And when it does, it bounces back very quickly.”
Sam is a third-generation owner along with his brother Max. The company was founded more than 60 years ago in the Chicago bedroom community of Melrose Park, Ill., which the Kuhlman family helped settle in the 1860s. Over the ensuing decades the business has grown and relocated several times, including the latest move to Addison.
DuPage prides itself on providing installers across the country with thousands of critical parts quickly and at a reasonable price. But what really sets the company apart, the Kuhlman’s said, is its customer-focused service, which it provides every business, whether large or small.