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Van Meter Sells Former Bright Electric to Connexion

Dec. 5, 2018
The 2016 acquisition was Van Meter’s first foray into the Chicago market.

Van Meter Inc. has agreed to sell its Chicago location, formerly Bright Electric, which the Iowa-based distributor acquired in 2016, to Connexion, a Chicago-based electrical distributor. The operation will become Connexion’s fourth stocking location in the greater Chicago market.

“We’ve entered into an agreement to purchase Van Meter Inc.’s Chicago operation at 217 N Western Ave. The purchase is expected to be complete by December 28,” David Rosenstein, Connexion’s president and CEO, said in a release. “Our desire for a larger footprint in Chicago timed well with Van Meter’s shift in focus. We’re adding a prime location and excellent team to our growing business.”

The Bright acquisition was Van Meter’s first foray into the Chicago market providing it a one-location footprint with a strong lighting presence in a competitive market.

The Connexion release highlighted Van Meter’s aggressive and constantly evolving growth plan. “As we evaluate and prioritize strategic investments in various markets and customer segments, we need to align our resources and investments to the opportunities that best support our growth objectives,” said Lura McBride, president and CEO of Van Meter.  “Our 2025 road map specifically includes expanding our expertise in high-tech automation solutions and services, growing our national contractor business, investing in eCommerce, and evaluating multi-location acquisition opportunities.”

Connexion has been serving the Chicago market since 2007 and currently has locations in Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Chicago’s Medical District, and two sales offices in downtown Chicago and Lockport, IL.

“We are focused on continuing to develop our specialty lighting business which includes the design/build, renovation, MRO, and National Account markets” Rosenstein said. “The book of business Van Meter has built in that space is a perfect fit for our growth strategy.”

Connexion hopes to retain many of Van Meter’s employees and they have hired Josh Patton, an experienced leader in electrical distribution who formerly worked for Van Meter in Iowa and Chicago, as general manager.

Both Connexion and Van Meter are members of Affiliated Distributors (AD), a buying and marketing group for independent businesses. “We feel good knowing the business will stay within the AD network,” McBride said. “I’m confident our people, customers and suppliers in Chicago will thrive as part of the Connexion organization.”