Newport News, Va.-based wholesaler Ferguson announced its acquisition of J.D. Daddario Co., based in Franklin, Mass., and Meckco Supply Co., headquartered in Charlotte, N.C.

J.D. Daddario Co., purchased in a stock transaction completed Jan. 31, is a wholesale distributor of plumbing, hydronics, appliances, lighting and electrical supplies and fixtures. The family-owned business, incorporated in 1951, has annual sales of $60 million and employs 180 full-time associates. J.D. Daddario also operates three satellite locations across eastern Massachusetts in Mashpee, Newton and Marlboro. The wholesaler's executive team will remain in the following capacities: Jim Daddario, president and general manager; Jack Daddario Sr., senior consultant; Jack Daddario Jr., vice president of operations; and Keith MacKay, business manager/electrical.

“We were operating quite efficiently, profitably and were at the top of our game in 2004, having the most successful year in the company's 58-year history,” said Jim Daddario. “Ferguson approached us almost a year ago. After a lot of emotional discussion, analysis from a business and industry standpoint, and the comparison of our two operations, we determined that a lot of our strategic goals could be accomplished faster and there would be more opportunities for our employees within the Ferguson organization going forward. I look at this merger as a natural evolution of the business. There comes a time when to reach the next level, you have to elevate yourself to a whole new way of running a business from a corporate standpoint. It takes a lot of support to make it all work while also pursuing an aggressive growth strategy.”

Looking back at the company's years as an independent wholesaler, Daddario said he is proud of its ability to perform and thrive in various market conditions and changing times. Jim Daddario said much of the company's success can be credited to the management efforts of his father, Jack Daddario Sr., and the contributions of his brother, Jack Daddario Jr., and brother-in-law Keith MacKay. They and Jim Daddario will remain the primary management team going forward.

The wholesaler's twin goals of helping its employees grow personally and professionally while providing support to help its customers grow will not change, he said. “We should be able to help them even more,” he noted.

Ferguson will enable the company to continue store expansion into many areas of Massachusetts that it had planned to enter, Daddario said. “Ferguson's operation in Lynn, Mass., has been very successful in recent years under the management of Darcy Curran, former president and general manager for Boston and now area manager for the operation,” he said. “It will immediately give us additional coverage on the north shore and in Boston.”

The combination of Ferguson's purchasing power, aggressive growth strategy and broader product selections with J.D. Daddario's focus on customer service, experienced employment base and strong management structure should ensure the wholesaler's continued success in the New England region, according to Jack Daddario Sr., formerly the company's CEO.

Meckco Supply Co., a wholesale plumbing distributor primarily focused on residential and commercial markets, was purchased by Ferguson in an asset transaction completed Feb. 7. At the time of the acquisition, the company had annual sales of about $7 million and employed 15 full-time associates. The owner/president has left the company but four associates remain under the Ferguson ownership: Tom Garrison, inside sales; Chris Atkins, warehouse manager; John Clendenin, counter/warehouse person; and Antonio Hammer, driver. The Charlotte headquarters, along with Meckco's Watermark Bath and Hardware Solutions in Matthews, N.C., have become satellite locations of Ferguson's Charlotte branch, operating under the Ferguson name. Watermark, a retailer of high-end plumbing and designer accessories, will provide Ferguson with an additional destination showroom in the greater Charlotte area.

In other news, Ferguson said it planned to open a 27,500-sq.-ft. location of its Lyon, Conklin & Co. division in Lancaster, Pa., in March, which would operate as a satellite to Lyon, Conklin's main location in Baltimore. The new facility will stock equipment and accessories for residential or light commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning jobs, offering product lines such as Trane, Mitsubishi, Ductmate, Durodyne, Gray Metal, Thermaflex, Certainteed, Honeywell and others. In addition, the location will provide daily delivery service to most areas in the counties of Lancaster, York, Lebanon and Dauphin, Pa. The facility also features a 35-seat meeting room for hosting courses on technical training, product training, sales training and business development. Frankie Laster is the satellite manager. Ferguson now operates 12 Lyon, Conklin locations that distribute HVAC products and supply sheet metal equipment and supplies in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.

Ferguson is owned by Wolseley plc of Reading, England, which has more than 3,600 branches.

- Pat Lenius