Representatives from two major wholesaler groups met in Chicago to explore the possibility of combing their associations.

The Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration and Airconditioning Wholesalers ( and the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Wholesalers International ( discussed forming a new association that combines the two groups. Association officers, associate member representatives and chief staff officers held an "exploratory meeting" that reviewed results of a recent member survey conducted to gather opinions about the possible merger.

"The general consensus is the merger would be good for the industry," said Donald Frendberg, NHRAW's executive vice president and COO. "There would be one voice speaking for the business."

The meeting led to another survey, which Frendberg referred to as the "white paper." This questionnaire focuses on overviews of the meeting. Members will receive the survey by mail, but can also read it and respond online.

Talk about a merger has happened many times between the two affiliations, but has never come to fruition. This time, though, both sides are serious.

"We feel positive about this one; it makes sense for the industry as a whole," said Frendberg. "We'll just wait and see what happens."