HARDI has added Johnson Control’s York Unitary Products Group as its first integrated wholesaler member.

The Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International said there are currently over 450 HVACR distributor companies in the organization. Johnson Control’s York Unitary Products Group has been a longtime manufacturer member of HARDI. Recently, HARDI formally recognized the company’s factory branch operations as legitimate wholesale distributor businesses.

The integrated wholesaler membership category was created by HARDI two years ago as a means to include the industry’s factory-owned distribution operations in the distributor community with access to distribution’s best practices, education, benchmarking data and ideas.

HARDI reported that the York factory branches have existed for decades and have evolved into multiline, full-service distributor operations faced with the same tight margins and dynamics as traditional HARDI members. However, unlike many members, York branch managers and branch personnel often come from manufacturing backgrounds, rather than having grown up in the family’s wholesale distribution business, so the Unitary Products Group reached out to HARDI to tap into its experience.

This measure was initiated by the manager of York’s flagship Philadelphia branch, David Delancett, and led by the top leadership of the Unitary Products Group.

York has had long-standing partnerships with several of HARDI’s supporters such as CFM Distributors Inc. in Kansas City, Mo., Johnson Supply in Houston and Empire Gas & Electric Equipment Co. in Denver. The manufacturer has worked with independent distributors to make the new relationship with HARDI possible.

“This has been a long time coming and I couldn’t be happier for the industry, the science of wholesale distribution, or York to see this groundbreaking commitment to distribution by an equipment manufacturer,” said HARDI Executive Vice President and COO Donald Frendberg.

HARDI’s inaugural integrated wholesaler members include the York factory branches in Arizona, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Canada.