Johnstone Supply Flying in Windy City

November 12, 2007
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Linda Farrington of Johnstone Supply gets prepared for a day at the show. Approximately 240 vendors were in attendance.

CHICAGO - The leadership of Johnstone Supply brought the 26th annual Johnstone Supply Member’s Meeting to the southern shore of Lake Michigan, and fair weather provided ample opportunity for the charting of new waters in and around the Windy City. In addition to a large selection of meetings, seminars, and networking opportunities, those who chose to stay to the end of the six-day forum had the opportunity for a day-long Chicago city tour.

“Charting New Waters” was the theme of the annual meeting. Gary Daniels, president/CEO of Johnstone Supply, reminded members “we are successful because we are a co-op where independent entrepreneurs make good business decisions.” Daniels used his address at the members’ meeting to emphasize that a new business plan, which had been presented to the membership, did not change the core resolve. Members are still expected to make business decisions for the best interest of their locale and the team as a whole.

“We believe in what the ‘J’ stands for,” said Daniels. “The Johnstone Supply experience and success depends on the actions of the individuals.”

Focusing on growth, event attendees celebrated a sixth straight year of record sales growth, which was double that of the industry average. Speakers also noted a long list of achievements over the past year including the opening of a fourth regional distribution center in Jacksonville, Fla., initiating construction on a fifth such facility in Las Vegas, and the hiring of three newly created regional account managers. Having reached a landmark $1 billion in sales last year, the company has a stated goal of attaining $2 billion in sales by 2010.

Vice president of sales and marketing, Vince Guillory, who joined the Johnstone corporate team in February, spoke of the business plan and goal attainment.

According to Guillory, Johnstone has been consistently beating the average growth rate of the HVAC distribution industry. He discussed strategies that would lead to continued growth in four market segments: residential replacement and service, residential new construction, commercial replacement and service, and commercial new construction.  


The meeting also included a supplier awards program. The awards paid tribute to the vendor partners who play a vital role in Johnstone’s success. Fujitsu was honored with the Sales and Marketing Award given to the vendor exhibiting superior sales growth and marketing support.

Johnstone’s most prestigious vendor honor, the Supplier of the Year Award, was presented to President and CEO Chuck Carroll of Goodman Manufacturing. Goodman has doubled its sales to Johnstone over just the last three years.

The Supplier of the Year award recognizes the highest level of partnership and excellence in logistics, product development, marketing programs, and store support.

Presentations made at the meeting included member awards, store awards and vendor awards, all of which reflected the company’s record sales and expanding market share. The Member of the Year award went to Johnstone of Denver, Colo., while the Mentor award recognized Garry Fishman of Johnstone Ventura, Calif., for his counsel to new members.

The final evening of the meeting featured member awards. The John M. Shank Award is given to an owner who has been a member for less than five years and best demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit of cooperative founder John Shank.

One of the cooperative’s most esteemed honors, this years’ Shank Award was presented to Jess Hill, owner of the Springfield, Mass., store. Another prestigious and rarely presented honor, Johnstone’s Leadership Award, recognized the unselfish dedication, guidance, and cooperative service contributions of Larry Wines (St. Louis group). This award has been presented only eight other times in company history.

The trade show featured approximately 240 vendors - a sold-out event. The entire show is limited to 10-foot booths, as Johnstone tries to provide the opportunity for as many vendors to attend as possible. However, as Guillory mentioned, “There were companies on the waiting list that we could not accommodate this year.”

Johnstone Supply is hoping to expand the show opportunities at next year’s event.

Publication date: 11/12/2007

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