Carrie Rengers

Longtime Wichita Trane franchise distributor sells to Trane U.S. Inc.

John Knipp, shown in a 2014 file photo, has sold his Knipp Equipment Inc. to Trane U.S. Inc.
John Knipp, shown in a 2014 file photo, has sold his Knipp Equipment Inc. to Trane U.S. Inc. File photo

Knipp Equipment Inc., a franchise distributor for Trane commercial air conditioning products, has sold to Trane U.S. Inc.

“I could sell to anyone in the market, but it made sense to sell it to Trane,” John Knipp says.

He says there will be better continuity for marketing, employees and customers.

Knipp started the company in 1990 when he purchased Moore Trane, a company where he used to work.

“I’ve been doing it for 49 years,” Knipp says.

So why not make it a round 50?

Knipp laughs at the idea. He also says the timing was right to sell, and he’s looking forward to enjoying retirement, which he officially started Jan. 1.

“It’s been a wonderful profession to be in. The industry is exciting. It changes every year. The result is a better product for the clients that we serve.”

North Carolina-based Ingersoll Rand owns Trane. The company is keeping all of Knipp’s 42 employees and Knipp’s headquarters at 120 Ida.

“We’ve worked closely with them in many cases,” says Christine Hilbert, district marketing leader for Trane Mid-America.

“It’s a very nice, well-built company with a lot of history, and we want to maintain that,” she says. “They have great customers. They’ve done great work.”

In addition to maintaining what Knipp was doing, Hilbert says Trane’s plan also is to “expand as much as we can.”

Knipp says he’s now looking forward to spending more time with his wife and hitting the golf course a little more often, among other things.

“So that’s the next chapter.”

Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.
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