There was plenty of outrage when Carrier Corporation, the industrial systems and HVAC manufacturer, announced they were closing their Indiana facility, which had been open since the early 1950s. According to the ABC affiliate RTV6, there’s at least one business owner in particular who took the move to heart and is taking a stand in the hopes others will join with him.
“I thought it was wrong to move across the border,” said R.D. Poffenbarger, the owner of 911 Heating and Cooling in Anderson, IN. “We put our names on these furnaces we put in. We like the workmanship of quality products.”
Poffenbarger feels so strongly about the issue that he’s decided to boycott buying any Carrier products to use in his business services. A typical HVAC system will last about 12 years. He’s not irrational about the virtually insignificant effect his small business will have on a huge corporation like Carrier, but he feels it’s as important a symbolic gesture as it is personal one.
“It’s like the movie ‘Gone with the Wind’: It’s the demise of a whole way of life,” David Audretsch, an economic development expert at Indiana University, told the IndyStar. “Depending on the community, you can see this devastation wrought not just on individuals and their families, but the whole community.”
Poffenbarger had many family members and friends face a similar hardship when General Motors closed their Indiana plants. He’s hoping that larger companies will follow his lead and force some real pressure on Carrier and future companies that think to do the same thing, but he’s not afraid to stand alone and even risk losing his own customers in the process.
Many of his clients are long-time Carrier buyers and are reluctant to change. One such buyer he was actually able to persuade out of the Carrier product he wanted when he explained his position and reasoning for forgoing them. Naturally, his resistance has been met with local approval.
“They were well willing to change,” he said.