A major change was announced this week that jostles the commercial HVAC distribution picture in Northeast Ohio. Daikin Applied and Daikin North America announced on April 17 that the heating and air conditioning products manufacturers had inked an agreement with the Gardiner distributorship in Northern Ohio, to strengthen its sales, service, and solutions capabilities in that region. Effective May 1, 2017, Gardiner will become the factory sales and parts representative in Northern Ohio and acquire Daikin Applied’s service business for the Cleveland market.

The news brings to an end a 55-year relationship between Gardiner and Trane.

Bob Case, Gardiner’s CEO, said, “Our mission has been and will continue to be to build mutually beneficial business relationships with our clients and associates. Daikin has a culture of innovation and a strong desire to keep growing, which best position us to be able to do that now and in the future.”

Case cited Daikin’s plans for growth and partnerships with independent manufacturer representatives as factors in the deal. “We respect their forward-looking philosophy which includes understanding the importance of independent representation. We’re well-aligned strategically. For both our clients and associates, it’s great news that Gardiner will continue to be an independent, locally managed company serving the Northern Ohio market well into the future," Case said.

Case told ContractingBusiness.com that the Gardiner team was meeting with some of its customers to explain the changes, and that he was pleased with how well they took the news.

"They're saying most of this has to do with personal relationships. As long as we have the same team continue to represent Gardiner, they gave us every indication they would continue to do business with us, whatever products we represent," Case said.

Sources say the agreement signals both Daikin and Gardiner’s commitment to clients. Providing one face to the client for equipment and service streamlines clients’ experience with Daikin, enhancing response to customer needs. Gardiner is reportedly the top equipment representative and commercial HVAC service provider in the market, and its solutions expertise and capabilities significantly expands Daikin’s ability to serve customers in the territory.

Daikin Applied’s Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Aftermarket, Kirk Thorne, says this change will continue to fuel Daikin’s competitive advantage in the market.

“Daikin values our independent representatives’ customer focus and entrepreneurial culture,” Thorne said. “Our reps are the best in the industry, and our appointment of Gardiner makes us an unmatchable force in sales, service and solutions. Daikin also values the diverse line card developed by Gardiner over the years. It is the strength of Daikin’s products and Gardiner’s other highly valued brands and capabilities that will allow us together to successfully serve the overall needs of the marketplace.”

Thorne emphasized that Daikin’s strategies are market based. “This joint effort is well suited to the market conditions and capabilities of Gardiner in Northern Ohio. Every market is different and we will continue to evaluate each of our markets individually to ensure we have the right structure and relationships to best serve our customers. Our end goal is to create the best outcomes for our customers, by investing in top talent to build the strongest organization in the marketplace.”

In a news release, Daikin expressed its thanks to Wadsworth Solutions, its previous equipment representative in the territory, for its contribution to Daikin during its tenure as the Daikin equipment sales representative, and Gardiner expressed appreciation for its long history with Trane. Sources said both Daikin and Gardiner are committed to supporting their existing customers and projects in the marketplace throughout the transition.

Gardiner's product lines include Calmac, Mitsubishi Electric, Multistack, Seresco, Valent and Yaskawa, and others, in addition to a comprehensive line of OEM parts, supplies and refrigerants.