HVACR dealers and distributors are always looking for that edge that will make them stand out from their competitors while promoting a positive image in the eyes of the buying public. Sometimes they strike out. Other times they hit a home run, like the one that Luxaire hit this year.

Luxaire dealers and distributors teamed up with Minor League Baseball this summer to raise an estimated $20,000 for their local Make-A-Wish® chapters as part of Luxaire's 2003 co-marketing program. Five distributors hosted seven events for dealers and their guests during Minor League Baseball games at ballparks across the country.

Ryan Hanson enjoys a hot dog with his mom, JoAnn Hanson, and his grandmother, Diane Hanson, builder operations manager for Thomas Somerville Co.

Starting A Rally

The Thomas Somerville Co., Upper Marlboro, Md., opened the season June 12, inviting 450 dealers and guests to the Bowie Baysox game in Bowie, Md. Approximately 200 guests braved a driving rainstorm to attend the event and contribute to the $7,545, which was donated to the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"Everybody in our organization loved working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation," said Kathleen Fritch, a marketing associate with Thomas Somerville. "Our customers really appreciated learning about our relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and becoming part of that relationship through their contribution to the organization. The ball game tied all of that together nicely."

Thomas Somerville sponsored a second event Aug. 12 with the Harrisburg Senators in Harrisburg, Pa. Dealers were invited to a picnic prior to the game and made contributions to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Susquehanna Valley. Pleased with the event, Doug Reilly, Thomas Somerville general manager, commented, "The ball game made for an enjoyable evening for everyone that attended. It was far more than any of us expected in terms of fun and the good feeling that comes with raising money for such a worthy cause."

In Oklahoma, Air Products Supply partnered with the Oklahoma RedHawks baseball organization for the second consecutive year to raise $8,084 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Oklahoma. Air Products Supply hosted dealers at baseball games May 31 and July 26.

The RedHawks also organized a "Batting for Kids at the Brick" program, offering 10 people the opportunity to spend an afternoon at the SBC Bricktown Ballpark and take 10 swings in the batter's box. Spots in the special batting order were available to the general public through a bidding process. All proceeds generated from the event were included in the Make-A-Wish donation.

ABCO Refrigeration Supply Corp. of Long Island joined forces with New Jersey and Philadelphia area dealers June 24 during a Trenton Thunder baseball game to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Jersey. Make-A-Wish children and their families were on hand to receive funds raised through a silent auction and the sale of raffle tickets for a 50/50 raffle sponsored by the Trenton Thunder. Later in the summer, the distributor hosted a day for dealers with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Again, raffle ticket sales raised money to help grant wishes to children served by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York.

Solar Supply of Lake Charles, La., and HVAC Distributors of Mt. Joy, Pa., also partnered with area Minor League Baseball organizations to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"It was truly a special time for all of us that attended," said Steve Melniczek, sales and marketing manager for HVAC Distributors. "The [Harrisburg] Senators organization bent over backwards to accommodate our needs, and our dealers were generous in their contributions to the children of our community."

Alex Mahoney hugs his dad, Brian Mahoney, an outside sales rep for the Thomas Somerville Co.


"The Minor League Baseball component of our co-marketing plan nicely complements our Make-A-Wish partnership," said Doug Widenmann, Luxaire brand director. "Distributors and dealers alike are finding creative ways to raise money for children in their communities and, at the same time, tie into the success of our baseball initiative and the exposure it provides."

The partnership between Luxaire and Minor League Baseball offers Luxaire distributors and dealers promotional packages that help support the company's three-year commitment to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Generally, the baseball component of the co-marketing program includes a sponsored Make-A-Wish night at a minor league ballpark, complete with hospitality, ballpark signage, Make-A-Wish fund-raising activities, and in-game contests.

The baseball initiative is de-signed to build awareness for the Luxaire brand, raise funds for local Make-A-Wish chapters, and help distributors recruit and reward Luxaire dealers.

"This was an opportunity for distributors to showcase their products to dealers in their areas," stated Widenmann. "Minor League Baseball is family-oriented entertainment and it is a chance to showcase what our distributors and dealers are doing in the community. This is an opportunity to showcase - not necessarily to sell anything."

For more information about Luxaire, visit www.luxaire.com or contact your local Luxaire distributor. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org.

Publication date: 11/17/2003