Case Studies

Butcher Distributors Inc.: Leading HVAC Industry Suppliers

  • Written by: Butcher Distributors Inc.: Leading HVAC Industry Suppliers
  • Produced by: Butcher Distributors Inc.: Leading HVAC Industry Suppliers
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Butcher Distributors Inc. (BDI) is the result of years of evolution, as the Butcher family has been involved in the HVAC industry since the 1920s. Brothers Lawrence, Edwing and Jerry initially founded the family’s first operation, Dixie Electric, shortly after the end of World War I. Dixie Electric distributed automotive electronics and later appliances. In the 1930s Lawrence sold his first air conditioning unit. The brothers continued to build relationships through Dixie Electric until retiring in the late 1940s.

New companies and endeavors ran through the family blood; Lawrence’s sons, Warren, Matt and Tom, followed in their father’s footsteps. The trio founded a new company, Butcher Refrigeration, stemming from their experience in the previous family business. The brothers’ new venture was the Butcher family’s entry into dealing exclusively in HVAC equipment and appliances.

In the 1950s the Butcher focus changed again, geared toward air conditioning, and again the name was changed; this time to Butcher Air Conditioning. Butcher Air Conditioning became a leading distributor of General Electric Co. (GE) products.

In 1990 Tom’s sons, Bobby and John, also joined the family business. Each turned to a focus; Bobby ran the retail aspect while John lead the wholesale division, which later split off and became BDI, of which he is currently president. BDI continues to focus on supplying HVAC equipment to residential and commercial contractors today.

Genetic Product Familiarity

With over 80 years of family involvement in the HVAC business, BDI now offers unique insight into the market. When the company branched out from Butcher Air Conditioning, John says he found his place heading up wholesale.

“By that time, Trane had bought out GE’s residential air conditioning line and expanded their independent distributors,” he explains. “We offer Trane products exclusively, and we distribute to HVAC contractors. The Trane-GE merger really allowed us to expand our territory.”

Today BDI employs 50 people who work together to market and distribute Trane air conditioning systems to contractors in Louisiana and Mississippi. The team operates seven stocking locations throughout the region, with five in Louisiana and two in Mississippi. BDI’s headquarters is in Broussard, La.

Outside of outstanding service and quality air systems, BDI offers premier training services to employees and customers. The company has been nationally recognized for its training programs, which focus on product knowledge and building long-term success for its branches and affiliates. Partnering with a range of organizations, customers at BDI’s Butcher University have access to great resources, such as the ACT Group, a strategic training partner that provides sales training to enhance a Trane Dealer’s sales capabilities. Other partners include North American Technician Excellence (NATE) and BDR, which is also a training partner that helps business owners make better decisions about companies’ operations.

Regular Maintenance Recommended

Just as it has throughout over 80 years of family history, BDI continues to evolve. The recent economic downturn means constant reevaluation for John and his team. “We’ve definitely seen this market slow down over the last five years or so,” John elaborates. “We don’t rely solely on residential new construction, so serving all industry segments helps, but we’ve found that residential new construction really fuels commercial construction, too.”

John’s plan is to stick to what his team does best, but that does not rule out new products or diversification efforts. “We will continue to offer Trane’s new, innovative products and realize additional growth as the residential new construction market recovers,” he says. “We are seeing things pick up slowly but surely. There are certain pockets of the Gulf Region that are recovering faster than others.”

Some of the new products to which John is referring are Trane exclusives, which he notes have a major advantage over other manufacturers. “Trane recently brought whole-house automation into some of their units,” John elaborates. “This allows homeowners to tap into emerging technologies and control temperatures at home from their smart phones no matter where they are. Trane also has a strong focus on clean air filtration systems, many of which are completely unique to Trane products.”

Such unique features are part of an industry change that is catching up with technology elsewhere. Interconnected devices are a growing trend, with everything from car starters to office security systems being integrated into portable communications devices. With leading training and a longstanding relationship with Trane, BDI is better prepared than any of its competitors to embrace industry changes. The company will continue to embrace emerging products and market such to Trane dealers, ensuring the expansion of offering of higher efficiency, greater comfort and control of HVAC systems.

BDI is a unique family business, boasting longevity and strong partnership both with the manufacturer it represents, as well as its customer base. Contractors rely on John and his team for quality, efficient air systems products, guaranteed to please end-users and last for years. Butcher Distributors Inc. is positioned to grow with the recovering economy through leading innovations and an unmatched dedication to customers.

For more information about Butcher Distributors Inc., please visit:

Published on: June 29, 2013

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