GES Goldschmidt Inc.

Wilfred Goldschmidt founder and Bud Hicks from Dongan ManufacturingGES Goldschmidt sharpens its product portfolio and begins to offer consulting services to strengthen relationships with end customers in the electrical market.

By Janice Hoppe-Spiers

GES Goldschmidt is in its third generation of ownership and celebrating 80 years as a manufacturer’s representative serving the electrical market. President Steve Goldschmidt is focused on making the company the best it can be in its three-state territory by being a one-stop-shop and true resource for its customers.

“In Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, we have we room for growth, improvement and refining. We can achieve that with the direction we are headed,” Goldschmidt says. “We recently added some consulting resources. It’s fun to use the consulting side as an avenue to talk about solutions products can offer. But it’s also great to be talking about a product and realize the company might have a genuine need for some consulting help and expertise. If you can be a true partner and resource, it helps locks in your importance to customers.”

GES Goldschmidt boxGoldschmidt’s grandfather, Wilfrid or “Goldie” as he was known, founded the company in 1937 as Goldschmidt Electrical Sales Co. “Dongan Transformers is one of the first lines my grandfather represented and we haverepresented them since 1940,” Goldschmidt says. “They are family owned as well and will be in their fourth generation. It’s pretty awesome to be a part of that history.”

GES Goldschmidt meets the needs of its principals by being the most cost-effective and stable method for them to bring their products and services to market. The company offers customers quality products and services to help them enhance their profitability. “I think we differentiate ourselves by being more technical with our products and [being] engineering-focused,” Goldschmidt says. “We talk with customers and present how our products can help eliminate their issues.”

Services and Suppliers

Over the past 15 to 20 years, safety has become a major focus in the electrical industry and GES Goldschmidt responded by developing a broader portfolio of safety-related products. “We want to continue to offer products that will make things safer for facilities and for OEMs assembling and disassembling equipment,” Goldschmidt explains.

GES Goldschmidt has developed relationships with new manufacturers over the past five years who specialize in safety products as the company broadens its portfolio. “A number of new principals are recommendations from other manufacturers we represent,” Goldschmidt explains as to how the company develops new relationships. “A manufacturer might have open territory or products that offer a synergistic relationship.”

The company recently began representing Stark Safety Consultants, a Canton, Ohio-based electrical safety solutions firm that offers consulting services to its customers. “They will help a company write its electrical safety policies, look at the existing policy and current standards to ensure policies are up-to-date, provide training and a number of other related items,” Goldschmidt says. “It’s less tangible, not product, but something customers definitely need help with. It’s difficult for them to have the specific knowledge they need on staff, and having an expert unrelated to a product line provides a neutral voice that can speak just to the standards.”

GES Goldschmidt’s biggest challenge in representing a consulting firm is figuring out how to go to market. “Products are easy because 95 percent go through distribution,” Goldschmidt explains. “The channel and distribution is not set up well to sell consulting services. Some simply can’t wrap their heads around selling a service rather than a physical product. That’s been our biggest struggle, but we will get there. It’s been fun and customers are really responding.”

Smooth Transitions

Goldschmidt took control of GES Goldschmidt this year, but still has the support of his father, Tom, and his father’s cousin, Jim Goldschmidt, who were the second-generation owners of the company. “They were owners with me up until this year and continue to provide assistance and knowledge,” Goldschmidt says. “The transition has been seamless. Generally speaking we have had similar visions for the company. But there are always things to do better than we have done in the past. I’m excited for the future.”

The team continues to work together as Goldschmidt’s father and Jim are in the office part-time. “It’s really nice to have them in the office,” Goldschmidt says. “I can look across the room to where my dad is sitting at a desk and I can say, ‘So I’m thinking about doing this,’ and get feedback.”

Moving forward, Goldschmidt says it is still too early to know if his children will join the family business. “If they have interest, I’d love to have them,” he adds. “If not, that’s okay too. My goal is to continue to build a great team regardless.” In an age of mergers and acquisitions, even in the rep industry, Goldschmidt admits he’s not against a merger with another manufacturers’ representative, but it is not a priority today and finding the right fit is a challenge.

GES Goldschmidt will continue to be a one-stop-shop for its customers in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. “There are a lot of representative agencies growing and picking up new territories,” Goldschmidt says. “We are focused on being the best we can be in our three markets.”

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