New hvac watering hole: eCaribou for contractors

June 1, 2000
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MEMPHIS, TN — One of the founding members of national consolidator GroupMAC has taken his interest and expertise to a new venture: a Web site designed for integrating hvacr related e-commerce, content, and community for the benefit of contractors and their employees.

James D. Townsend, former owner of Sibley Services, Inc., and current GroupMAC company owner, has joined the senior management group.

Townsend sees the new website as the “next wave of innovation to move the hvacr industry forward.” He cited the reduced cost of PCs, increased computer usage by all levels of contractor management, and the growth of the Internet as reasons for promoting the new venture.

“By helping companies gain greater access to quality information relating to equipment and parts availability, equipment analysis, repair management, training, and operations, individual business owners and the hvacr industry as a whole will reap even greater rewards,” he added.

Some of the benefits of are the following:

  •  A single marketplace to compare and purchase goods, services, and equipment from major manufacturers and suppliers;

  •  No-cost membership;

  •  A forum to allow members to exchange ideas of relevant industry trends;

  •  Business and industry resources available through links;

  •  Instant access to employee training and development materials;

  •  Access to a nationwide “job bank”; and

  •  The ability to personalize a user’s own Web site and set up an e-mail account.

Townsend said that his company’s relationship with GroupMAC will not shut out other contractors who are interested in using these services. “While we have a strategic alliance with GroupMAC, our intent is to provide service for 90% of the industry that is not consolidated.”

Townsend pointed out that e-Caribou differs from other Web sites, such as area51hvac, because of the “full portal” capability.

“We have different levels, or focuses, on our website,” he said. “This is a full portal to the hvac industry featuring three circles: The outside circle is the community, the inside circle is content, and the bulls-eye is e-commerce.

“We wrap our e-commerce with content.”

Some of the information provided at the website includes equipment lifecycles and proactive maintenance.

“I don’t think the website will ever be fully developed,” Townsend added. “It will always be undergoing improvements. But we intend to be fully functional by the end of the first quarter 2000.”

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