This December 2-5, the NHRAW will meet for its 55th annual convention at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

LAS VEGAS – Wholesalers still matter.

Despite some views to the contrary, wholesaling is still vital to the hvacr trades.

This December 2-5, the Northamerican Heating, Refrigerating and Air conditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW) will meet for its 55th annual convention at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. This year makes NHRAW an official senior citizen at age 55.

NHRAW was founded in 1947, according to the association, “by a group of wholesalers who recognized the need to provide, through collective action, for future improvement in the wholesaling business itself, and for an on-going service function that would assist both dealer-customers and manufacturer-suppliers.”

Today, NHRAW represents nearly 350 wholesaling headquarters — with more than 2,400 locations and 30,000 employees — throughout the United States and Canada.

The collective annual volume of NHRAW members was $13 billion in 1998.

This group got its start as the National Heating Wholesalers Association in 1946, holding its first convention a year later in Cleveland. To no one’s surprise, A.M. Vorys at that convention encouraged members to resist the constantly occurring attacks on wholesalers as unnecessary “middlemen.”

NHWA President A.H. Johnson exhorted wholesalers to go beyond the aim of daily profit, emphasizing the importance of the wholesaler in the chain of goods from manufacturer to consumer. The need for aggressive merchandising was heralded by guest speaker Howard Spindler of American Radiator.

Today, an annual sales survey of NHRAW members indicates an overall growth rate of 4.5% in 2000 over 1999 results. Sales of hvacr equipment, accessories and supplies in 2000 were reported to be nearly $14.75 billion. Survey results were in line with wholesaler distributor participants in the association’s monthly Sales Trends (up 4.5%) and in the annual Profit Planning Study (up 6.0%).

While the increase of $650,000,000 for the year is impressive, it represents a decline of nearly 3% from the growth patterns seen in the proceeding year. In 1997 and 1998 NHRAW wholesalers posted sales growth increases of 5.7% and 7.4% respectively. NHRAW executive vice president/coo Donald Frendberg noted that the growth reduction is reflective of other industry indices for 2000 which also showed significant softening as compared to previous years. Housing starts for example were down 5.2% compare to 1999 while unitary air conditioning units increased 2% and central heating units remained unchanged from the previous year.

How does the hvacr distribution growth compare to the total distribution industry? In 1999 (the latest data available) the total sales in wholesale distribution grew to $2.74 trillion, which was a 7.3% increase over 1998.

As mentioned previously, NHRAW member wholesale distributors reported a similar growth of 7.4% for the same period. What is perhaps even more significant is the fact that wholesale distribution industry in total contributed 7% of the U.S. national income in 1999 and accounts for one in every 20 jobs in the U.S.

For more information concerning NHRAW’s upcoming convention, its programs and its services, visit its website at or contact its office at 614-488-1835.