Wholesale & Distribution International - Winter 2018 - 58
www.candelacorp.com / Revenue: $25 million / HQ: Irvine, Calif. / Employees: 70 / Specialty: LEDs, lamps and ballasts
/ Mike Paulsin, CEO: "We have made a commitment to technology."
Lighting the Way
Celebrating 30 years in business, Candela uses new technology and a solid name
to excel at lighting distribution. BY CHRIS KELSCH
Candela puts a strong emphasis on product
testing, and is creating an R&D lab.
s a relative newcomer to
Candela Corp., CEO Mike
Paulsin has gotten a lot done
in a relatively short amount of time. He
joined Candela in 2016 as COO, and since
that time has overseen a dramatic upgrade in Candela's technology.
As a result of those efforts, he was recently promoted to CEO. "This company
has made a commitment to technology,"
Paulsin says. "Since the beginning of 2016
we have upgraded everything including
order entry, accounting and enterprise
resource planning [ERP] systems."
Such technology upgrades have enhanced a business that was already well
58 www.wdimagazine.com Winter 2018
regarded. Bill and Terri Baas, Candela's
founders and current owners, established the company in 1986.
Initially, it was a two-person operation. "Early on, we divided the responsibilities," Baas recalls. "Terri took care of
marketing and systems while I handled
the financials and operations. I can still
remember having customer information
on rotary cards."
One thing Terri Baas excelled at was
marketing. For example, one of the
keys to Candela's early success was the
award-winning newsletter that Terri authored. The newsletter was printed and
mailed quarterly. Many of Candela's ex-
isting customer relationships have their
roots in that newsletter.
Those marketing efforts helped Candela build a customer of base of more
than 30,000 branches representing several thousand companies from small to
very large in size. And each one of those
branches can usually find what they
are looking for in Candela's inventory
of more than 20,000 SKUs in one of its
three warehouses, including lamps, ballasts and LEDs.
To serve its customer base, Candela
relies on a supplier base of roughly 200
vendor partners. And while the marketing letter is a respected piece of the
company's history, it has now morphed
into regular weekly email campaigns that
keep Candela's customers informed of
company developments and important
product or vendor announcements.
Candela is not a typical wholesaler distributor. Instead, it has a different target
market. "Essentially, we are a distributor for distributors," says James Baas,
Candela's vice president of sales. "I still
have people asking me if we are ever aggressively going after end-users, and I tell
them, 'No.' That doesn't mean we won't
sell to end-users who find their way to us,
especially OEMs. In today's online world,
where the lines between wholesale and
retail often blur, this just doesn't work.
However, unless a potential buyer can
demonstrate they are a valid distributor
complete with a current resale certifi-