It really took me back when USAV‘s K.C. Schwarz told me his commercial market focused group had partnered with residential market buying group ProSource to create CI Edge, a group catered to firms with small-to-moderate commercial businesses.
In essence, CI Edge is for commercial firms in the $3 million to $10 million range and residential firms that are diversifying into commercial. The reason it struck me is five years ago when we launched Commercial Integrator we treated the topic of residential firms diversifying into commercial — something that about 70 percent of them were doing back then — like taboo for our brand.
I had worked for residential market focused sister publication CE Pro for nearly seven years before becoming editor of CI. Anybody who knew me (if anybody), knew me as a residential market writer. Parent company EH Publishing is known for its residential coverage. As a new publication for the commercial market, we were concerned over the potential perception that CI was for residential firms diversifying into commercial as opposed to dedicated commercial integrators and specifying consultants — even worse, that we were buoying competitors to our target audience.
So one of my first questions for USAV was about whether or not its members would see this as a training-the-competition scenario. CFO Chris Whitley said there hadn’t been pushback from the dealer advisory council.
“There is a little bit of a rub,” Schwarz acknowledged, “but it will increase their buying power, so it will be more competitive.”