By Greg McMillan
The mandate for Air Heat Supplies has always been about providing contractors with one-stop shopping.
That hasn’t changed since the original family-owned parent company, G&M Heating Supplies Ltd., opened its first location in Toronto back in 1956.
And when G&M Heating Supplies acquired Air Heat Supplies 40 years later, that mandate continued – and continues today.
“We take the time to get to know our customers, who are treated like friends, not numbers,” says Air Heat general manager Howard Mathers. “We make sure they have easy access to owners and managers if they need information or need a problem resolved.”
Always a leading single-source HVAC wholesale distributor in Ontario, Air Heat combines one of the largest HVAC/IAQ parts and supplies inventories with exclusive distribution of American Standard residential and light commercial heating and air conditioning systems.
“We moved from being a grille and register supply company to a company that supplies venting, equipment, rooftop units, gas lines and a wide variety of accessories.
“Today, we have a full-time person dedicated to customer training and technical support for dealers. And we have a large number of dedicated territory managers throughout the province maintaining that all-important face-to-face customer contact.”
In 1996, keeping its original Toronto location as a branch, Air Heat opened a new 40,000-square foot head office in Mississauga, followed by a third location in Scarborough in 2004.
A year later, Air Heat became the exclusive Ontario distributor of award-winning American Standard Heating and Air Conditioning systems and equipment. Since then, they have established a network of 170 independent American Standard dealers across Ontario.
They continued that growth and, by the summer of 2008, had opened a distribution centre in Ottawa.
Two years later, that was followed by the opening of a 2,000 sq. ft. Home Comfort Training Centre near the head office in Mississauga. Offering a regular calendar of free technical, sales, and third party vendor training courses, this cutting edge facility also provides hands-on training using fully-operational HVAC, IAQ and Hydronic systems.
The Mississauga office handles all administration, distribution and manages all outside sales activities in Ontario. It is complete with a large showroom, service counter and technical training room.
By December 2011, yet another distribution centre had opened in London to better serve southwestern Ontario contractors.
Onwards and upwards – despite the recent tough economic times.
“We’re on the right path,” says Ian Rasmussen, director of sales and marketing for Air Heat. “This year we’re looking at even more positive growth.”
Now a second-generation family-owned and operated business – Howard, his sister, Debbie, and her husband, Tobits Ruddock, continue on with the family legacy started by their father, Percy, in 1956 – Air Heat has a growing customer base of over 1,500 contractors and employs over 40 people in their head office, branches, distribution centres, and Home Comfort Training Centre.
Air Heat has always provided an easy-access contractor experience.
Following its mandate, the company provides contractors with one-stop shopping, stocking furnaces, boilers, gas and oil service parts, sheet metal supplies, ventilation products, electrical and plumbing accessories.
Air Heat is truly a complete HVAC wholesaler with long ties to many well-recognized names in the industry. Besides American Standard, Air Heat now sources products from over 70 leading suppliers, including Honeywell, Alltemp, Aprilaire, White-Rodgers, Trac-Pipe, Vanee, Continental Fireplaces, Noritz, Weil McLain, and Canadian General Filters , which has designed and manufactured a full line of efficient and reliable residential indoor air quality products for more than 65 years.
And Howard says, as the Ontario economy continues to bounce back, Air Heat will strive to expand its position in the residential, retail, new construction and commercial markets with a dedication to product support and customer service.
“We have a loyal, knowledgeable staff, with many having over 10 years service with us,” says Ruddock, operations manager.
With a newly-launched website, Air Heat highlights a number of special services, as well.
“We have bi-weekly contractor ‘Hot Buy’ specials, and monthly contractor buy programs,” Howard added. “We have ‘Meet the Supplier’ summer barbecue events, a winter mini-trade show and feature job-site deliveries by Air Heat trucks and drivers.”
Looking ahead, Howard foresees more of the same for Air Heat – and then some.
“We will stay price-competitive in this highly-competitive market,” he says. “We will maintain the correct product offering in this rapidly-changing industry. We will keep up on the changing efficiency regulations and changing government rebates programs, etcetera.
“We’ll continue to expand the American Standard brand throughout Ontario, explore further expansion into the Hydronic market and open additional locations in Ontario.
Onwards and upwards, indeed.
Air Heat Supplies has been working with the leading suppliers in the industry for over five decades. As the exclusive Ontario distributor for the complete residential and commercial American Standard heating and conditioning line, the company also carries one of the largest HVAC/IAQ parts and supplies catalogues in the industry. Extensive inventory, fast order processing, and reasonable pricing keeps contractors coming back for dependable HVAC solutions and satisfied customer referrals. Air Heat’s customer service staff brings decades of HVAC product knowledge with the latest training to help contractors source just the right products for each job.