ATLANTA, GA — Plans to expand their installed heating and air conditioning pilot program to Atlanta have been announced by The Trane Company and Home Depot, headquartered here. Essentially an expansion of Home Depot’s At-Home Services program, the pilot, launched late last year (The News, Dec. 20, 1999), placed the “world’s largest” home improvement retailer in the residential installed hvac market. Stores in the Tennessee cities of Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Kingsport, as well as Dallas, TX, were among the first Home Depot stores to test the pilot. Throughout Atlanta, Trane displays will be installed in Home Depot stores in order to generate consumer awareness. In-home consultations will be made on behalf of Home Depot by assigned Trane Comfort Specialist™ dealers. Dave Pannier, Trane vice president, said the program relies on the combination of the manufacturer’s quality brand awareness, and Home Depot’s strong customer relationships to drive additional sales to Trane’s Comfort Specialists. “Our dealers are excited about the relationship, just as we’re excited to see how the program is received in such a large market as Atlanta,” said Pannier. He added that the Trane Comfort Specialists will sell, furnish, and install all of the Trane equipment. The customer will pay Home Depot, which collects a small fee from the dealer. Chuck Berk, Home Depot national product manager, said, “We’ve been delighted by the way our customers have responded to the first test of the program in Tennessee and northern Georgia. Now we want to gauge customer interest in a major metropolitan area. Atlanta, our headquarters city, is a logical choice.” The largest segment of the home improvement business is hvac, raking in about $19 billion annually. In regard to how the pilot program faired, Berk explained that its initial response was very encouraging. “We like what we saw in terms of customer response so much, we decided to expand the test about a month earlier than we originally planned.” Apex Supply, now a part of Home Depot, will again be used to coordinate the program, much as it did in the Tennessee pilot program. Apex is an independent wholesale Trane distributor with dealers in Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Buddy Wallace, Apex vice president, said “Partnering with professional contractors in the marketplace is a new arrangement for Home Depot. This program utilizes Apex’s expertise in hvac, to provide an installed program focused on total customer satisfaction.”

Consumers interested in setting up a free in-home consultation and estimate can call a toll-free phone number, 877-523-4822.

Publication date: 09/18/2000