Case Studies

Cooper Trading Inc.

Supplying Heavy Construction Projects in the Mid-Atlantic
  • Written by: Cooper Trading Inc.
  • Produced by: Cooper Trading Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Peter Cooper founded Cooper Trading Inc. (CTI) in October 1992. With over two decades of experience in carpentry and construction, Peter’s experience as a construction manager offers a greater level of expertise and helps him to build an inventory with an unusual level of industry insight.

CTI is a family-owned and -operated business, with four family members involved in various areas of the company. “My sons, Aaron, Connor and Seth, have joined the company,” Peter explains. “Aaron has moved up to sales manager, and Connor is leading our masonry department. Seth works part-time as he pursues his engineering degree at Penn State University to further leverage the family business.”

The team at CTI supplies a multitude of building supplies, serving construction projects in the commercial, industrial, residential and heavy highway sectors. Peter and his team specialize in concrete and masonry products, and the masonry division has become a market leader in the region. The team operates out of a single location in Irwin, Pa., however, has an extended reach. “We service the western Pennsylvania, northwestern West Virginia, western Maryland and western Ohio markets,” Peter explains.

Products and Projects

The Cooper family and their colleagues offer products for contractors that suit start-to-finish needs. For site work and development, customers can find silt and safety fences, geo synthetic fabrics, pipes, basins and erosion control products. Contractors can access everything they could need (aside from machinery) to dig up the dirt, lay utilities and cover it all up with fresh grass, all in one place.

The business’ concrete division offers tools, materials and accessories for cement work. Sealants, insulation, anchoring products and more are available to customers who need supplies for everything from a backyard slab to a new, six-lane bridge. The masonry division offers similar perks, with flashings, air barriers and cavity insulation products among others to help contractors complete sturdy, beautiful walls and brickwork. The team also offers several lines of framing, finishing, windows and doors.

CTI is a supplier with four outside salespeople with a combined 80 years of experience to consult on material needs. The team’s many repeat customers take CTI’s products all over the region, using such to build bridges, houses, schools, offices and more. Peter’s team has regularly provided products for projects at several repeat institutions, which include: Allegheny County, Army Corp. of Engineers, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, Highmark and UPMC Hospitals.

Market Maintenance

The construction industry has been a relatively volatile business over the last five years, with the recession, housing crisis and other economic woes. CTI has managed to overcome these issues, but not without some compromise. “We did have two locations, but we have had to downsize to one,” Peter explains. “Our largest expense is overhead. Regulations on health care have made managing our margins more difficult over the last few years. Demographics are changing so now the best thing we can do to stay ahead of the curve is diversifying. We want to continue growth and add new product lines. It is important in this business to stay in pace with the industry.”

While reaching out will be critical as growth continues, Peter has established relationships with suppliers and customers that keep the business going on a daily basis. Working closely with brands such as Dow, Wire Bond, Prosoco and Andersen Windows, Peter recognizes that strategic partners are key. “They give us great deals, and all of our products come directly from these manufacturers,” he elaborates.

CTI has a direct line to distributors, ensuring the supply chain remains uninterrupted. Such relationships also ensure stable, fair pricing to contractors who rely on CTI for quality products at a competitive rate.

Peter and his team offer some of the best expertise in the market. In 2012, CTI celebrated 20 years in business; a major milestone especially in the present economy. With consistent quality and service, contractors return to the business for a vast array of supply needs. CTI’s longstanding relationships ensure that Peter and his crew can help clients choose the right products for the project at the right price. With lasting relationships, CTI is ready to tackle major market changes through shifting focus between the various divisions of the business.

Over the next few years, Peter says he expects steady growth. The recovery seems to be working, and business has started to pick up again. As contractors gain momentum in the market, Cooper Trading Inc. is ready to embrace new products and services to help customers get the job done, while promoting growth in the regional market with the support of his family.

For more information about Cooper Trading Inc., please visit:

Published on: July 2, 2013

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