KRS, also known as Key Refrigeration Supply of Kansas City, LLC, officially opened its doors in Lenexa, KS on June 3, 1999. However, the company’s true beginning dates back two years earlier. In August of 1997, Pameco, a national wholesaler based out of Atlanta, GA, acquired Superior Supply Company, an HVAC/Refrigeration distributor that had been in operation for over 50 years with 13 branches across four states. Despite the typical concerns that come with acquisitions, there was optimism about the future. Superior Supply had established a strong reputation for offering the best wholesale products and staff in their respective market.
Regrettably, the fears that were expressed became a reality, resulting in a decline in the superior level of customer service that dealers and contractors had become accustomed to. Local decisions could no longer be made by Superior employees without consulting the parent company, which had a devastating impact on the company’s business and the morale of its employees.
Bill Geckles, Mark Chavez, and Bob Miller, who each had over 20 years of experience at Superior Supply, grew disheartened as they watched the company dismantled and lose its market influence. They decided that enough was enough and that there must be a better way. Their solution was to plan and build a new wholesale operation that prioritized customer service, based on the old philosophy of Superior.
Although it is uncommon to start a new wholesale business in this industry, a solid plan has been developed including all necessary details such as required personnel and vendors, sales projections, and operational costs. However, the only obstacle remaining is the significant inventory financing required to effectively launch the business. This will require a substantial amount of cash.
Bill, Mark, and Bob had a meeting with three industry acquaintances from the Midwest who owned thriving wholesale businesses and were members of the Key Wholesaler Group Association (KWGA). The individuals were Carter Dennis from Dennis Supply Co. in Sioux City, IA, D.L. Dennis from Wayne Dennis Supply Co. in Des Moines, IA, and George Giudici from Crescent Parts & Equipment Co. in St. Louis, MO. After reviewing the business plan, they all agreed that the opportunity was promising and decided to invest in the startup operation.
Bill, Mark, and Bob began working on bringing KRS to life in March 1999, meeting in each other’s basements and living rooms to plan. They focused on hiring the right people, securing vendors, choosing the perfect location for their first branch, and inputting product data into their computer system. After three months of hard work, KRS was up and running. They were fortunate enough to have industry-leading manufacturers like Copeland, Manitowoc, Sporlan, and Russell agree to be represented by KRS in their marketplace. However, the contractors and dealers they serve play the most crucial role in KRS’s success. Without their tremendous support, KRS would not be where they are today – a multi-branch distributor with six locations in Western Missouri and all of Kansas.
We feel fortunate to have the trust of top-notch contractors in our industry. Our commitment to earning and keeping our customers’ business will never waver.