Facilities maintenance supplier Grainger is adding branches and expanding existing ones in Chicago and San Francisco.

The plan is part of Grainger’s market expansion program, which was launched in 2003. The company has already upgraded facilities in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Denver, Seattle, Southern California, St. Louis and Tampa, Fla.

Grainger is now enhancing its presence in other markets, including Phoenix; the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, area; Philadelphia; and the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area.

In 2007, Grainger expects capital investments of as much as $80 million in its market-expansion activities.

“Local businesses have relied on us for 80 years, since our company’s founder, William W. Grainger, opened the company’s first office on 22nd Street in 1927 in Chicago,” said Octavia Matthews, regional branch services vice president for Grainger. “Over the years, Grainger has grown into an international company with more than 600 locations, but we’ve never lost our hometown roots or our focus on providing outstanding customer service. With our local expansions we’re making it even easier for business customers to get the products they need quickly and easily.”

In Chicago, Grainger currently operates 18 locations and will increase square footage nearly 20 percent in the market as a result of the expansion. In total, the company plans to add four new locations, relocate three facilities and expand or enhance 12 of its existing locations.

Today, the San Francisco Bay area market is home to 13 branches. When completed, total square footage will increase by 25 percent as Grainger adds one new location, relocates six facilities and expands or enhances six others. Both markets will also see an increase in Grainger customer service associates.

“Our customers asked for more convenient locations and more products closer to them, and we listened,” said Eric Nowlin, regional branch services vice president for Grainger. “For business customers like facility managers and contractors, time is money, and it’s our job to help them get the products they need, when and where they need them, so they can get their jobs done.”

In addition to expanding its operations, the company recently expanded its product offerings. Earlier this year, Grainger launched its enhanced product catalog featuring more than 138,000 facilities maintenance products, an increase of more than 23,000 items.