FLUSHING, NY — The 21st annual ABCO Trade Show, put on by distributor ABCO Refrigeration Supply Co. in the New York City area, took place in November, with the memory of September 11 still fresh and with many in the local hvacr community personally affected by the tragedy.

Although this long-running show usually draws a little over 2,000 contractors and technicians, this year there was a packed house of almost 3,000. The hvacr industry in New York was back to business.

Michael Senter, chief executive officer of ABCO, admitted that there had been some concern that the 2001 show might have lower attendance because of the aftereffects of the attacks. But he was pleased to see the parking lot full with a bustling crowd in the Terrace on the Park site.

“The spirit of New York was hard hit,” said Senter. “I can’t imagine a more important time to have strong business relationships.”

Besides metropolitan New York, ABCO also covers the Philadelphia, PA, Boston, MA, and Delaware areas, and contractor attendees came in from those locations as well.

Well over 150 manufacturers were represented, showing a range of products from tools to components to systems at their tabletop displays and offering an array of full-line catalogs, technical manuals, and service handbooks. Contractors and techs gathered around demonstrations and collected bags full of literature.


Anthony Brannan, president of Metro Mechanical, Richmond Hill, NY, does mostly refrigeration work and said that business has been “up and down.” There was some slowing initially “but the refrigeration business has always been pretty steady.”

Arthur Huebner, owner of Huebner Air Conditioning and Heating, Islip, NY, handles residential, commercial, and industrial work. “Business has been good,” he said. “I’m staying ahead of the bill collector.” But he characterized the overall business atmosphere as “quiet.”

A popular item that ABCO offered at the event, showing support for the rescue and recovery effort in New York, was a weatherproof truck decal depicting a waving American flag under the word “Courage.” The complimentary decals were co-sponsored by Copeland Corp.

The distributor, in fact, was directly involved in the relief efforts, providing financial contributions, volunteers, and needed equipment. Together with Scotsman, over $25,000 worth of ice machines were donated for the New York Police Department at Ground Zero as well as for the New York Blood Center.

Also at the show, the company’s ABCO University booth offered a variety of seminars designed to complement Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) classes.

Emphasizing the firm’s “teamwork in sales,” Senter said, “We will fill in any necessary role on the customer’s team. When the economy gets tougher, they really need our services.”

Publication date: 12/17/2001