THE VOICE OF THE HEARTH, BARBECUE AND PATIO INDUSTRIES
thiS yeaR iS dieReNt Gain unexpected insight and learn how to grow your business. HPBExpo 2020 New Orleans.
Margins are getting tighter, products are getting more complicated, and customers expect your business to be as quick and easy as an everyday online purchase. It may seem like there’s never enough time to devote to growing your business. As a result, it’s never been more crucial for you AND your team to attend HPBExpo 2020 in New Orleans to get tangible, real-world solutions that could save your business in the long term. • Meet with manufacturers face-to-face and build relationships that can be critical to growing your business. • Connect with thousands of professionals from around the world who share your same challenges and learn what they’re doing to win. • Get training and education that can really move the needle; from hands-on technical instruction to learning how to master social media and digital marketing. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that HPBExpo is the “same old trade show” and miss out on this opportunity to run your business better.
REGISTER NOW AT HPBExpo.com Exhibition: March 12–14, 2020 Education: March 11–13, 2020 Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
New Orleans, LA
HPBExpo 2020 KEYNOTE ADDRESS:
Turn social media into a money-maker for your business
Win more sales inside the home
See a live episode of The Fire Time Podcast
STAY UP TO DATE:
OPTIMIZE YOUR RETAIL SPACE
WITH ARCHITECT WAYNE VISBEEN THURS, MARCH 12 8:30AM–9:45AM
| CONTENTS | FEATURES Nothing’s Impossible 10 Laid off in 2009, Ross Morrison and three friends
formed a company – Stellar Hearth – and now are doing what they love, and what they do best.
Its Time Has Come! 18 Electric Fireplace sales are now moving well
through the specialty hearth retail network, and the market for those products is enormous.
Facts & Charts 30 Here’s a look at electric fireplaces today, and how they are viewed by your peers.
Electric Fireplace Installations 34 Here’s how some electric fireplaces are being installed; that may be the key to specialty dealers being successful with the category.
Modesty, Honor, Integrity 42 As Janet Wansor reluctantly leaves her position at Jensen Leisure Furniture, she reflects on the past 28 years, her successes, and most importantly, the people she has met along the way.
Climate Change 46 How will a warming Planet Earth affect you? Closer to Home 54 Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio companies respond to climate change issues.
That First Taste! 72 Your customers may begin with gas, but chances are they will graduate to kamados, smokers, or charcoal grills.
The Family Torch 80 A second generation of Shimeks stays mainly with hearth products, but this time it’s primarily for the outdoors.
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Perspective New Products
92 Business Climate
95 97 98
Stock Watch Ad Index Parting Shot
A PUBLICATION OF THE HEARTH, PATIO & BARBECUE ASSOCIATION
ON THE WEB News Geographic Mobility Rate Falls Below 10% Only 26% of Households Include Children Under Age 18
Recipes Easy Shepherd’s Pie with Tri-Tip by Pit Boss Grills Grilled Farmers’ Market Winter Salad by Bull Outdoor Products
THE VOICE OF THE HEARTH, BARBECUE AND PATIO INDUSTRIES
On the Cover
Due to Climate Change, polar bears are now an endangered species.
www.hearthandhome.com COVER PHOTO: ©2019 GETTY IMAGES.
www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 5
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Copyright © 2020 by Village West Publishing. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. All advertising is subject to approval by the publisher. Please address all correspondence to Hearth & Home, P.O. Box 1288, Laconia, NH 03247, (603) 528-4285, (800) 258-3772, FAX: (603) 524-0643.
THE DECEMBER 2019
Hearth & Home, The Outdoor Room and Vesta Awards are registered trademarks of Village West Publishing. Village West Publishing is not associated with, and has no financial interest in, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. Hearth & Home (USPS 575-210/ISSN 02735695), Vol. XLI, No. 2 is published monthly by Village West Publishing, 25 Country Club Road, Ste. 403, Gilford, NH 03249/P.O. Box 1288, Laconia, NH 03247. Subscription price $36 per year; $60 (USD) in Canada; $120 (USD) overseas (first class, airmail only). Single copy price $15 (includes postage and handling) in U.S. and in Canada. Periodicals postage paid at Laconia, NH and at additional entry office. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Village West Publishing, Circulation Department, P.O. Box 1288, Laconia, NH 03247.
6 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
| Perspective |
hat a surprise – shocked may be a better word – it was when results came in from a retailer survey we conducted in August of 2019. We were in the midst of organizing what would be a major report on Climate Change, written by Mark Brock (see page 46), and how it might impact the Hearth, Patio, and/or Barbecue industries.
Given our position in those three industries, we felt it was our responsibility to do so. In our view, the most important issue of yesterday, today, and tomorrow is not the presidential race – although the volume of words allocated to that coverage is staggering – nor is it the never-ending Brexit fiasco in the UK, Bibi’s transgressions in Israel, or Kim Jong–un and his missiles. No, the most important issue is Climate Change. Here’s some information you should take to heart. In a study published on December 3 in the journal BioScience, over 11,000 scientists decided to “tell it like it is” when it comes to discussing the climate crisis. They declared, “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” which threatens every part of our ecosystem. “We have joined together,” they said, “to declare a climate emergency because the climate change is more severe and accelerating faster than was expected by scientists,” said Bill Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University and co-author of the paper. “Many of us feel like the time is running out for us to act.”
Researchers suggest tangible changes in six overarching categories: • Replace fossil fuels with low-carbon renewables and other cleaner sources of energy. • Reduce the emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, including methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons. • Protect and restore Earth’s ecosystems, and minimize habitat and biodiversity loss. • Eat a mostly plant-based diet, which can improve human health and lower emissions. • Implement a carbon-free economy and prioritize basic human needs rather than affluence. • Stabilize and reduce population growth. Now, back to our survey mentioned in the first paragraph of this editorial. We were “shocked” because 56% of respondents to our retailer survey told us that, “The weather is constantly changing, which is just part of nature, and climate change is nothing new and is being overblown by the news media and some politicians.” Our view? The major media where you get most of your information are doing a poor job. There’s tons of information out there, in journals you might not purchase, stations you might not turn to, or books you might not buy. Unfortunately, you have to make the effort. Also in this issue, as a corollary to Climate Change, is a major section on electric fireplaces. There you will find an article by Bill Sendelback on the major manufacturers of electric fireplaces, as well as results and comments from a retailer survey. There’s also the results from a minor effort to find the best installations for electric fireplaces. We say minor, because our results were less than robust. With this issue we begin our 41st year of publishing Wood ’n Energy / Hearth & Home (it was called Wood ’n Energy until 1989, then it was changed to Hearth & Home as we began coverage of the Patio and Barbecue industries). Forty years, 480 issues, and (here’s an educated guess) 48,000 pages of editorial dedicated to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue industries. Here’s to a Happy & Prosperous New Year!
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
HOT SPOTS ELECTRICS STUDY
CHANGING ATTITUDES ABOUT ELECTRICS
t’s no mystery climate change is commanding more and more attention, and as a result, significant restrictions are being placed on the home and hearth industry. For example, this past October, the city council in Berkeley, California, unanimously banned natural gas piping in new homes. And the debate over ‘zero-net-energy homes’ is rapidly expanding well beyond California. Now, more and more homeowners, especially those who are younger, are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their emissions and consumption of fossil fuels. Understanding that electric fireplaces will play an increasingly important role moving forward, leading North American hearth manufacturer, Napoleon, commissioned Milwaukee-based research and marketing firm, Hoffman York, to develop and execute an in-depth study on how consumer attitudes are evolving when it comes to electric fireplaces. Justin Spray, Napoleon digital marketing manager and HPBA research committee member, explains.
Based on our industry’s historical reliance on wood and gas, this evolution represents both a huge risk as well as an opportunity. We know that electric fireplaces will become an eventuality, yet we found that hearth dealers have been hesitant to promote them. All things considered, we believed it was time to examine if and how today’s homeowners are accepting electric fireplaces.
High familiarity translates into high
purchase intent. Among those who are extremely familiar with electric fireplaces, over 80% are either interested or extremely interested in purchasing them.
Q: Why did Napoleon commission the research?
Q: Could you explain the research, what you learned, and why it’s important?
Justin Spray: A few years ago, we realized the importance of being at the forefront of evolving homeowner attitudes and preferences. This prompted us to commission Hot Spots, the first ever in-depth research that measured the powerful emotions that drive purchase preferences in the home. Today, we are seeing a huge shift in attitudes about the environment, use of fossil fuels, and the migration to everything electric. Whether it’s cars, outdoor power equipment, or homes, this migration to electric isn’t going away. It’s time to embrace it.
Spray: Building on what we previously learned in our Hot Spots research, this new study captured more than 1,000 homeowners planning to build or remodel a home. Participants were asked a full range of questions associated with electric fireplaces: familiarity, purchase interest, style preferences, price points, purchase location, and how they describe/perceive them. What we learned was fascinating. The research clearly determined that there is a direct correlation between how familiar people are with electrics and how much they desire to own them.
8 | JANUARY 2020 | www.napoleonfireplaces.com
What we learned was fascinating. The research clearly determined that there is a direct correlation between how familiar people are with electrics and how much they desire to own them.
% Interested in Purchasing Electric Fireplaces
Purchase Interest Electric Fireplace Familiarity Leads to Purchase Intent 20% 23% to Purchase Intent Electric Fireplace Familiarity Leads 90% 10%
25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 35%
% Interested % Interested in Purchase in Purchase
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Q: How can hearth dealers use these key insights in 60% 50% the sales and marketing efforts? 50% 40%
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Purchase Interest 30% Consumer professional installation and service that cannot be 20% can hearth dealers use these key insights in theHow sales and marketing efforts? Purchase Interest 23%younger Spray: It’s no surprise that people, having spent Q: 20% matched by the big box. 10% the sales and marketing efforts? professional hearth dealers have not embraced them. Some Spray: It’s no surprise that younger people, having spent the 23% with a smart phone, have a the majority of their lives armed Our research shows that electric fireplaces are rapidly 10% 0% dealers feel they cannot add value indrives the category; however, majority of their lives armed with a smart phone, have a much Since we know that familiarity purchase desire, 2 mind when 3 much1 more open it comes4 to electric5 fireplaces. Our research shows that electricoffireplaces are rapidly becoming theisn’t largest segment the hearth industry, 0% we know this true. 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Napoleon isapplications. pleased to We share thefrom complete findings many of the equally same positive perceptions of wood and other unique know our Hot Spots men and women equally desire electric fireplaces. study that if dealers provide design options for multiple ofthat the Hot Spotsprovide Electricdesign Study to interested industry We also discovered fireplaces possess many study if dealers options for multiple andthat gaselectric fireplaces. rooms, consumers will find them hard to resist. professionals. Simply visithard napoleonfireplaces.com of the same perceived benefits as wood and gas fireplaces rooms, consumers will find them to resist. Electric fireplaces are disproportionately Electric fireplaces disproportionately with the added benefit are of being environmentally friendly. Napoleon is a aleading North American manufacturer of to contact Napoleon representative. 90% 80% 0% 1 80% 70%
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wood-burning, gas and electric fireplaces, as well as outdoor living products. Napoleon aims to inspire and enhance the most memorable experiences people enjoy in their homes. To find out more about Napoleon, visit napoleonfireplaces.com. Napoleon is pleased to share the complete findings
Napoleon is pleased to share complete industry findings of the Hot Spots Electric Studythe to interested of the Hot SpotsSimply Electric Study to interested industry professionals. visit napoleonfireplaces.com
professionals. Simply visit napoleonfireplaces.com www.napoleonfireplaces.com | JANUARY 2020 | 9 to contact a Napoleon representative. to contact a Napoleon representative.
| Viewpoint |
NOTHING’S IMPOSSIBLE Laid off in 2009, Ross Morrison and three friends formed a company – Stellar Hearth – and now are doing what they love, and what they do best.
10 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
Little did they know that, approximately nine years later, when Stellar Hearth was well established, their previous employer, HHT, would purchase their company and keep the operation intact. Hearth & Home: In what year were you let go from Hearth & Home Technologies?
By Richard Wright
hen Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, the firm’s stock plummeted a final 93% from its standing just three days prior, and fear spread rapidly through multitudes of companies and industries. The hearth, patio, and barbecue industries were not exempt from the resulting shock waves.
Key Personnel – Left to Right Ross Morrison – General Manager Rob Sloan – VP of Sales Gary Butler – VP of R&D Rick Berg – VP of Marketing Lori Statler – Marketing Manager (Not Shown)
Ross Morrison: “It was 2009.” Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), the largest company in the hearth industry, was forced to downsize – rapidly – in order to protect its stockholders. Those were perilous and difficult times to navigate, and many employees were laid off. Ross Morrison was one of them, and so was Rob Sloan. They soon paired with Gary Butler and Rick Berg, and Stellar Hearth was formed.
Did you immediately set up a new business? Morrison: “Yes. We could see the recession looming, and more people were getting laid off. Rob (Sloan) and I started talking about what we would do if we were laid off. We had an idea for an old Heat & Glo product called a Grate Heater. It was just a small wood-burning insert,
“Nothing’s impossible, I have found For when my chin is on the ground I pick myself up, dust myself off, start all over again” – Lyrics by Jerome Kern & Dorothy Fields
basically a grate made of hollow tubing and a fan. Rob had an idea for making it more efficient. But in early April of 2009 we were both laid off on the same day. He called me and said, ‘All right. Do you want to try this?’ I said, ‘Why not.’ “We recruited engineers Rick Berg and Gary Butler to see if they could help us with the mechanical drawings and whatever testing we needed. They were going to help on a contractual basis.” Were those two already laid off from HHT? Morrison: “No. Rick had left the company a year or two previously; Gary stayed there. He was doing some engineering work and overseeing trade shows. Rick was doing custom fireplaces after he left Heat & Glo. He had a shop at his house. We took him out to lunch to ask about our grate heater idea. He said, ‘I love to build them, design them. That’s all fun. I don’t love the meetings so much, and trying to find the clients.’ Rob and I were thinking, ‘Well, we can do meetings and clients. That’s what we do.’ “As you know, there is more money in custom fireplaces than other segments. We first started with our hearth warmer and, a few months later, the four of us got together and eventually became Stellar Hearth.
you had a good presence there. You were getting a lot of praise for what you were doing. You were putting out great products. So why did you move back to HHT? Morrison: “Well, we were happy with where we were at, and we were attracting investors. About once a year somebody would call us and want to talk about having this capability as part of their repertoire. HHT had talked to us a couple of different times, but nothing really serious. As we were growing, we needed more money. We needed major equipment such as a laser and major press brakes. We needed more people and a painting facility, and just a larger building to house all of us. “At that point, we had been profitable enough that we no longer were using bank
money. Now, we were looking at going back and having to start over again with a major loan to take the next step in our business. We looked around and asked, ‘OK. Do we want to do this again?’ At that time there were a couple of different companies that came calling, and HHT was one of them. It seemed like the right time. “We could get a big engine behind us and let us work on the things we like to do, which is the creative side and the Sales and Marketing part, and use the other side for a much better distribution network, and salespeople, and then all the back engines, production kind of things. It was hard to pass up, especially as I’m 56. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, so I didn’t want to go back into that.” Has that decision worked out well for you? Morrison: “Yes. It has been great. We are very comfortable with them, obviously having grown up there. I started at Heat & Glo in the 1990s so I’ve been with the company a long time and knew a lot of the people and processes, and so did my partners. It was very comfortable going back with most of the same people and the same atmosphere.
It must have been nip and tuck for a while? Morrison: “Quite a while, yes. It was all outflow for a while and, obviously, we were building up a product line. We did some design work for other companies to help pay the bills, and it really took about four years to get our feet underneath us and start to get over the hills financially.” At one point, you were winning Vesta Awards left and right and my sense was that you were on a roll. At that point you were profitable. You were at the trade show;
PHOTO: ©2020 JIM KRUGER. WWW.KRUGER-IMAGES.COM.
Morrison and Sloan in the factory.
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
| Viewpoint | “It has been a year now, and walking through all the changes, going from being small to being part of big, it has kept us filling in blanks in a good way. They are letting us be us, and then just trying to help on the back side and not try to institute a lot of their processes or procedures, but let us do what we do best.” Well, that’s wonderful. But you probably heard a lot of moans and groans from those who know you.
Interior of factory.
Morrison: (Laughing). “I think you were one of them!” Please describe the present structure of Stellar Hearth Products. How many people do you have and are you still in your same quarters? Morrison: “We are. We are about 20 minutes from the home ship, but it’s in our own building. There are 12 of us here, so we still do what we were doing before the acquisition. We all do a lot of everything because we are so small. I’m kind of the general manager and always have been when we were Stellar on our own. But Rob and I put up the Sales effort, and Rob, Lori and I work together on the Marketing side. Then Rick and Gary oversee all the Production and Engineering. Then, of course, we have a small group of employees in the drafting world, and then in the Production portion of our business.”
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I believe Galaxy is the brand you’re flying under for your regular line, right? Morrison: “Yes. That is the vast majority of our sales. It’s kind of the mainstream. When we were doing customs, we ended up finding that most of the ones that we were bidding and landing were somewhere between 4 and 8 ft. wide and then 2 or 3 ft. tall. So the Galaxy was a subset of the universe of everything we could do, and that is why we named it that. It occurred
What percent of your business is custom? Morrison: “It makes up about 20% or 25%.” But custom is very profitable, isn’t it? Morrison: “Yes. Of course, there’s a lot more work involved, so we charge more because we have to draw them mostly from scratch, from the ground up. There’s a lot of unique parts, some
Butler adjusting the flame.
to me as I was on a run one day. So that’s where the name came from. Probably 80% of our sales are in that arena.” How many dealers do you have selling your product? Morrison: “When it was just Stellar we only had maybe 50 or 60 altogether. Now, with the big guys on board, we have access to quite a bit more. I don’t know that we are necessarily in that many places yet. “I can’t see us being everywhere, but it’s hard to grow a brand with only 40 or 50 shops in 50 states and Canada. It’s much too sparse when we get customers, homeowners, or architects calling and wanting to see a product locally. It wasn’t easy to direct them there, so we missed a lot of opportunities that the competition had. I think we have a better shot of getting people in to see what we do.”
overlapping parts. There is definitely a customer base out there (for custom work). We have bid projects where they didn’t ask how much. They just want to know, can we do this and, if so, how fast can I get it?” But that has got to be the fun end of your business, right? Morrison: “Oh, yeah. It can be very frustrating because sometimes (the customers) just really don’t know what they want, or they want to defy the laws of physics. It’s fun as a group to get a little bit creative. It’s fun for the engineers to solve the riddle of how do we get the exhaust out there, how do we throw the flames in this direction. The challenge is fun, versus the day-to-day doing the same thing and making it 2 ft. longer.” Like Kurt Rumens; he ended up with a 66 footer.
PHOTOS: ©2020 JIM KRUGER. WWW.KRUGER-IMAGES.COM.
PHOTO: ©2020 JUSTIN KRUG. WWW.JUSTINKRUGPHOTO.COM.
Morrison: “Yes. I think we might have bid against him. I know we bid on one in California. We just finished a 30-ft. outdoor fireplace in Edmonton, and it was a very different animal from anything we have done before. It’s kind of rewarding and frustrating all at once.” It’s no secret that various areas continue to ban wood-burning, but now gas is under fire as well. They’re even banning gas lines in new construction in developments in Canada as well as on the West Coast of the U.S. Right now, it seems the hearth industry is on the wrong side of history. I don’t see that slowing down in terms of the gas and the wood being banned; I think it will pick up the pace very rapidly. But what’s your take? Does that concern you greatly? Morrison: “Overall, yes. There is still a lot of business for us in California. Obviously, there’s a number of well-to-do people and corporations that like to invest in this sort of thing. We don’t look at it as a fireplace. We look at it as fire art. In my estimation it’s a different category altogether. But it still is a concern. What happens in California tends to want to move up the coastline and then start heading east.” Exactly. Somehow, whatever California does other states take it very seriously. They start looking at it and pretty soon they’re doing the same thing. California does the heavy lifting, I guess.
The Single-Sided Galaxy Series fireplace, shown with the unique Envision panel option, that allows you to take any high-definition picture and have it printed on glass to line the inside.
That was another one of the questions I was going to ask. I hear from some manufacturers, hearth guys, that they think electric fireplaces will be the future of the industry. I have trouble digesting that. It’s not a real fire, not even close. Do you feel the same way, or is it something you want to get into? Morrison: “I do feel the same way, and I’m not looking to do electric fireplaces. Sometimes I’ll see one in the lobby of a hotel when I’m traveling. No offense to the electric fireplace manufacturers of the world, but it doesn’t look like a fireplace to me. In my estimation they should just have a TV monitor on with a blazing log in it. They can go that route if they want, but to have that sort of weird flicker effect on a back panel just doesn’t hit the spot for me. The technology that exists right now is pretty limited.”
But more and more manufacturers are getting into it. Morrison: “Yes. Well, for the last 20 or 30 years we have been competing with the TV for placement in the house.” From a high of 73% in 1992, the incidents of fireplaces in new-home construction have steadily declined. In 2017, it was down to 46%. That’s not just a minor drop; that’s the bottom falling out. Any idea why? There are people in your company, Roger Oxford and others, who have been trying to figure that out. Comments? Morrison: “It’s scary. I don’t know if wages have kept up over the last 30 or 40 years, or not. I believe they have been flat instead of growing, whereas the cost
Morrison: “Absolutely. John Crouch and the folks at the HPBA have their hands full trying to stay ahead of it, and working behind the scenes or in front of the scenes in Washington and other places to try to be on top of it, trying to keep it in an ordered form. But I’m not sure how far we can go. We’re fighting a pretty big machine there.” As Jack Goldman (president and CEO of the HPBA) was saying recently, “We just don’t have enough boots on the ground to be stamping out fires everywhere.” I believe the banning of gas in North America will begin going faster. The future of the hearth industry will be up in the air. Morrison: “It may be all electric, or all electric with solar panels attached.”
The custom Pier design fireplace has Safe-T-Touch glass, a 9-ft. x 2-ft. viewing area, and a dual-ribbon burner in an oval shape.
www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 13
| Viewpoint | of a home has continued to climb. I can understand why people are concerned about putting more into their mortgage. But, living here in Minnesota, I can’t imagine not having a fireplace in my family room when I come home on a cold December evening. “At Stellar, we are building a lot more outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, so some of that is consumers putting the money outside versus putting it inside. I hope that is a growing market for us. Otherwise, you’re right. I think Roger and his team are trying to figure out how we get builders to spec more fireplaces into their plans.
Model 4-ST-GL-R. The taller-than-wide design is currently a popular request for a custom see-through.
Why isn’t it part and parcel of the home and, if it is, a lot of times they’re offering a base model that doesn’t match the size and scope on the home.” Exactly. No longer are fireplaces in the top five items that new homebuyers covet. Those days have gone by the wayside. It’s way down on the list. For the Millennial homebuyers, only 16% are interested in a fireplace.
14 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
I’ve often felt that the hearth industry has been consistently shooting itself in the foot for all of these 40 or so years by selling its cheapest products to builders of tract homes. That’s where all the major numbers are. Let’s throw out a number here: say one million Builder Boxes are sold each year. From 1980 until 2020, that’s 40 million of the hearth industry’s lowest quality fireplaces that are in homes for all to see. So all the family members, friends, relatives, etc., have been exposed to a fireplace that really is not representative of what the industry has to offer. That’s why I say the industry has shot itself in the foot, over and over again, and it continues to this day. Does that ring any bells with you? Morrison: “Yes, I think so. I grew up in a house where we had a basement fireplace; it was beautiful and the focal point of the family room. The first house that I purchased after I got married had just a simple Builder Box with a sliding mesh front, and that was it. It just wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t much of a heater. Back in the day when I first started with Heat & Glo, we were selling fireplaces like most companies, you can sell the box for less than cost and make it up in the sale of the pipes, which I always thought was pretty perverse, but I get it. “The tract home builders were putting in anything they could call a fireplace, and they would charge the homeowner $2,000 at that time. If you grew up in a home where the fireplace looked like that, or it was a nice masonry, or the gas fireplaces of today, the nicer ones, have just beautiful log sets. They glow. They have rolling flames. They produce great heat. Nothing like that was going on in the ’80s. So the Millennials or the generation just ahead of them, are facing all of these things and thinking, ‘There is nothing here that I need to have.’” Right. I think the entire industry is paying a price for giving the builders the very cheap products that they wanted. Some companies should have just drawn the line and said, “We’re not doing that.” A lot of hearth manufacturers didn’t go after the tract housing, probably for the exact reasons we’re talking about. I remember years ago going to a builders’ show, in Houston, Texas, and there was an $8 million show home they had put up.
The custom 3-ft. diameter vertical round VRD-GL-R fireplace, shown with optional LED media lights.
There were three fireplaces. Each one was a cheap Builder Box, and the screens on a couple of them were falling off already, just because people would move it a little bit to look inside. So in an $8 million house they were still putting a piece of junk in.” Morrison: “Exactly. We see that a lot in the show homes here in the Minneapolis market. It will be an $800,000 to $1 million home and they would have a very baseline gas fireplace, not even a large one. There would be a huge Great Room with a 32-inch firebox. It’s not just disappointing. It’s maddening that they were giving such disservice and discredit to the homeowner.” Is there anything you want to bring up? Morrison: “Well, you covered a wide amount of material. My normal commercial pitch for Stellar is that we have the skill to fulfill the dreams of architects and designers. Yet, they think that all they can do is a 5-ft. linear fireplace. “But this is a fun industry. There’s the romance and everything else. People never seem to leave the industry, in my opinion. They might recycle from different companies, or maybe bounce out and bounce back, but I think once you’re in, you’re in. There is that mystique about the fireplace that probably does that.”
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| Electric Fireplaces |
ITS TIME HAS COME! Electric Fireplace sales are now moving well through the specialty hearth retail network, and the market for those products is enormous. By Bill Sendelback
lectric fireplaces have long been a shadow product for most specialty hearth retailers; early on, they surrendered that market to mass merchants. That was quite evident when a 2017 survey (Hearth & Home 2018 Buyer’s Guide) revealed that electric fires accounted for only 3% of the sales of an average hearth product dealer; the average sales price was $1,108 through these dealers. According to manufacturers, times have really changed.
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Electric fire sales continue to grow, say manufacturers; they now total well beyond 2 million units a year through all marketing channels in North America. That total is more than double the units sold of all gas, wood, and pellet appliances. “The market for electric fireplaces very easily tops 2 million units a year,” according to John Czerwonka, vice president of Hearth Sales for Napoleon Fireplaces. “We see this market being in excess of $900 million right now,” he says.
“It’s our fastest growing product category, and we’re heavily investing in it.” Napoleon is not the only manufacturer that sees major sales growth in electric fires. While most of those 2 million units have been sold through Big Box stores, furniture outlets, and online retailers, manufacturers have been quick to realize that more and more higher-end electric fires are being sold through specialty hearth product dealers. Even some manufacturers that historically have been focused on gas and/or woodburning hearth products are getting into electric fires. Some manufacturers that formerly focused more on mass merchants are now refocusing on the specialty hearth product market. Glen Dimplex Americas CDFI-BX1500 LS Spacers See-Through.
Electric fire sales for 2019 were “tremendously successful” for Glen Dimplex Americas, according to Brian Mills, vice president of Commerce. “Last year set an incredible sales trend for us for 2020. We would like to match our 2019 percentage of sales growth, but we’ve had such substantial growth over the past few years that we’ll be happy with similar growth.” Mills thinks that the estimate of more than 2 million electric fires sold in North America is low. “My thinking is based on our sales growth the last few years, and seeing the growth in consumer recognition and acceptance of electric fires. As gas- and wood-burning hearth products are moved out of some markets because of bans and regulations, electric fires have become the obvious default product.” Homebuilders are “absolutely” taking advantage of these situations to
include electric fires in their offerings rather than gas or wood fireplaces. Opportunities are also expanding for sales and installations of electric fires in hospitality and commercial projects. “These now represent about 20% of our unit sales, but absolutely much more in dollar sales,” Mills adds. Wall-hung models have shown the most sales success for Glen Dimplex, followed closely by electric fire models built into the wall. “Our Optimyst models continue to gain tremendous market recognition, especially in California and on the West Coast.” New from Glen Dimplex, although not a hearth product, is its line of electric patio heaters introduced in three wattages, small, medium, and large. For 2020, Glen Dimplex is concentrating on “product updates” for its extensive line of electric fires, says Mills. Click here for a mobile friendly reading | experience www.hearthandhome.com JANUARY 2020
| Electric Fireplaces |
SimpliFire Allusion 60 from Hearth & Home Technologies.
Electric fires sold “really well” in 2019 for Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), says Joe Kuefler, brand director. “It has been a stellar year for us. The category is growing quickly, and we have more than doubled the offerings of our SimpliFire-brand of electric fires. For 2020,” he says, “we expect this category to continue to grow faster than other hearth product category.” Today’s consumers are more aware of quality electric fires, says Kuefler. “We’re seeing a trend toward more higher-end models. Price is not a problem, but consumers want a unit that looks good, and they are willing to pay for it. We’re having more success specking electric fireplaces with homebuilders, and electric fireplaces may help solve the problems of the decreasing incident rate of fireplaces in new homes. Electric fires solve a lot of problems for builders, and are perfect for attached homes and multi-family units.” HHT also sees electric fires as a “good solution” in hospitality and commercial uses. “These new models are a far cry from the electric models of 10 years ago,” Kuefler adds. “Besides being much more realistic, they offer a solution for safety and liability issues in hospitality and commercial installations.” HHT recently introduced its new Allusion Platinum Series of electric fires,
20 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
clean-faced linear models with more premium features than the company’s Allusion Series. New in 2019 was HHT’s Scion Series in “good, better, and best” models. Suggested retail prices for HHT models range from $800 to $3,000.
European Home has not been known for electric fires, but it began offering this category a year and a half ago. It now offers three sizes, 40, 60, and 72 inches in single-sided, corner, and three-sided versions, plus wall-hung models, totaling 15 models. “Sales started slow, but we’ve been busier every month,” says Holly Markham, owner. “It’s hard to imagine that the electric fires market won’t keep growing. New-home builders caught in Net Zero areas with pressures to eliminate the use of natural gas are looking for highquality electric fires as a solution, and that interest will continue to grow.” European Home is seeing increasing sales of electric fires for hospitality and commercial installations. “These units can be operated all day long; they are Greener and don’t draw room air or need to have the heat balanced. There are fewer safety and liability issues with electric fires. We’re seeing the drive for this market coming from architects. Too many hearth product dealers are missing the boat with this opportunity, still preferring to try to sell large, big ticket gas models to this market.” Too many of today’s electric fires, are “very male looking” with simple black surrounds and colored lights, but not resembling a real fireplace, says
E40 Corner Style Electric Fireplace from European Home.
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| Electric Fireplaces |
50-TRU-VIEW-XL 3-sided electric fireplace from Amantii.
Markham. “We’re striving to have our electric fires feature extremely realistic, flickering flames in clean-faced fireplace openings, models that really do resemble real fireplaces.” Amantii’s sales of electric fires in 2019 were “better than 2018 and are definitely continuing to grow,” according to Brian Richards, president. “We’re getting stronger with specialty hearth dealers by offering expensive models that have to be built-in and finished off. Dealers are excited about this since it differentiates their offerings from the cheap ‘cash and carry’ models at the mass merchant, and offers dealers the additional sales and profits of an installation.” Amantii offers electric fires with suggested retail prices ranging from $1,000 to $3,500, with an average of $2,000. With hospitality and commercial uses for electric fires on the rise, that market currently accounts for a growing 15% of Amantii sales. “Our goal for this year and next is to strengthen our brand,” says Richards. “We are updating our technology and flames. It’s a little like the old technology in television sets now being updated to HD.” Amantii recently added 18 new models of its Tru-View Series, including models that can be set into a 2 x 4 wall. The company’s Traditional Series now offers sizes to 44 inches wide and 100 inches long.
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“A trend today is designers wanting much taller, linear models with big log sets. Another trend is back to logs rather than glass or rocks,” adds Richards. JR Home Products, an importer of outdoor and indoor living products, including outdoor furniture and heating, saw “excellent” sales growth in 2019 for its Paramount brand of electric fires,
says Donna Lewis, director of Product Development and Marketing. “Although electric fires are just one of the many products we offer, electric models are a growing focus for us. With the current environmental trends, we see sales of electric fireplaces continuing to grow as consumers move to electric models.” While most of its sales go through mass merchants, JR does sell to specialty hearth product dealers, especially with its commercial line. “We are making improvements to this line, including tweaking the flames, and we plan to add new models to our line to add pizzazz,” says Lewis. Hospitality and commercial installations of its Paramount electric fires account for 10% of JR’s electric fire sales. “We’ve gotten away from cabinet models, and now feature wall-mount electric fires that also can be built in,” she says. JR tried white surrounds for awhile, but that idea failed and the company is back to offering black surrounds. Electric fires are selling “very well” for Innovative Hearth Products (IHP), according to Michael Lewis, vice president of Marketing. “This is a growing market, and there is a big potential with electric fires. The technology is getting better, resulting in electric models with more realism and more features.”
Paramount Premium wall-mount electric fireplace by JR Home Products.
| Electric Fireplaces | Michael Lewis also thinks electric fireplaces may help with the industry challenges of decreasing incident rates of fireplaces going into new homes. “We’ve all leaned on the nostalgic appearance of a fireplace, but more recently we’ve stepped away from a traditional fireplace and gone to more lineal styling that does not remind the consumer of a real fireplace from their past. “Consumers have become more accepting of not having a fireplace. Now they are more of a luxury item than a necessity.” Michael Lewis suggests that electric fireplaces offer easy installation for homebuilders, installations that require no venting or gas lines such as in multi-family buildings. IHP has only recently gotten its feet wet in the electric fires market; It now offers seven models but is developing new models to gain market share. “Hearth product dealers cannot compete with the Big Box stores with their cheap ‘cash and carry’ models,” he says. “There is a big difference between the cheap mass merchant models and the step-up models in cabinets or built-in models that the hearth product dealers should offer.” It was an “amazing” sales year with electric fires for MagikFlame, a company that manufactures its electric fires in the U.S. and sells consumer-direct through its
Landscape Pro Multi from the Landscape Pro and Spectrum Slim Series by Modern Flames.
extensive website, according to Howard Birnbaum, president. “We tried to sell through brick-and-mortar stores, but found that they didn’t want to stock the products, wanted free demo models, and really didn’t know how to sell premium models and differentiate those models from other cheap products. Since we switched to consumer direct, sales have gone extremely well.”
MagikFlame HoloFlame Trinity Electric Fireplace with Mantel Package.
24 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
Birnbaum sees “status quo” for the industry in 2020. “The industry appears to be doing well with what it’s offering,” he says, “so we don’t expect anything new from the industry except to make the product cheaper while we continue to innovate.” Birnbaum says that the industry’s unofficial sales estimate of 2 million electric fire units a year is “extremely low. And sales of electric fires will increase with states like California and New York making it almost impossible to put in a gas or wood-burning fireplace. Consumers want a fireplace, so their only option in many places is an electric model. But they don’t want it to look fake. That’s the market we cater to, high-end models at premium prices.” Birnbaum says that while many competitors offer $600 or $800 models, MagikFlame’s suggested retail prices are around $3,000 and include features such as 26 flame pattern and color options, fire sounds, touch screen, and smart-phone control. MagikFlame offers inserts that the consumer can install into an existing fireplace, or build-in, plus inserts in mantel packages.” Modern Flames, celebrating its 10th anniversary selling electric fires, had a “good sales increase” in 2019, says Tom Foy, general manager. “We’re looking for a really dynamic and fun 2020. The category is growing, but we’re also seeing more manufacturers getting into it.”
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| Electric Fireplaces | Modern Flames is improving its technology, specifically more realistic flame appearance. “We’re positioning ourselves for the future by taking our products to the next level. Today, it’s like the new car market that is always offering more features and improvements,” Foy says. New features for Modern Flames include built-in WiFi, radio frequency remotes, and models that can be operated with smart phones. Foy says homebuilders are paying “a lot more attention” to electric fireplaces. “When a builder thinks a fireplace is too expensive, many now are looking at electric models with easier installation and the flexibility to be installed anywhere. We’re seeing more interest from renters who have learned that they can take many electric models with them when they move.” About 25% of Modern Flames’ sales now are for hospitality and commercial installations. “This is a growing opportunity for hearth product dealers,” Foy says. New from Modern Flames is its Landscape Pro Series, offering the options of flush mount, corner, or threesided installations all in one carton to reduce dealer inventories. The Landscape Pro Multi is 12 inches deep while the Landscape Pro Slim is 6 inches deep. The company’s Spectrum Slim is 4 inches deep. Suggested retail prices for Modern Flames’ models range from $650 to $3,300. Modern Flames also offers a batteryoperated electric log set with 12-hour battery operating time and a suggested retail price of $450. Electric fire sales have been “outstanding” for Napoleon Fireplaces, says John Czerwonka. “Our percentage sales growth in this category last year was in mid-double digits, and we’ve been setting growth records for the last five years. We’ve recently added significantly to our portfolio, now totaling more than 50 electric models.” For the last decade, fewer fireplaces have been included in new homes, says Czerwonka. “Electric fireplaces now offer a reasonable solution for homebuilders. Electric fires also offer a solution in areas where natural gas has been or may be banned. I hate it for the gas category, but this is exciting for electric fires,” he says. The company has new builder models in 36- and 42-inch sizes. “These models
26 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
are perfect for projects such as high rises and restaurants.” Czerwonka says Napoleon’s sales for hospitality and commercial installations are “less than 15% of our sales, but picking up.” Wallmounted electric fires are Napoleon’s number one sales category in electric fires.
am floored at dealers who are not selling electric fires. They have to play at higher price points than the Big Box stores, but I recommend they also show a $500 model to give the customer a chance to compare the cheaper models with the higher quality ones with more features.”
Trivista 3-sided Electric Fireplace from Napoleon Fireplaces.
Czerwonka sees the technology in electric fires rapidly increasing with new innovative features. “You now can control your fire with your handheld device, and some of our models will include charging stations,” he says. “Plus, we’re featuring more flame colors and better ember media.” Napoleon now includes both logs and crystals in the same carton, giving the dealer and the consumer their choice, or even mixing both. New models from Napoleon include 220-volt connections if the homeowner wants to hardwire the unit for greater heat output. Napoleon’s CLEARion Elite electric fireplace was the Electric Products winner in the 2019 Vesta Awards. The first twosided, see-through electric model, the CLEARion features the see-through option, but with a push of a button the fireplace back wall becomes opaque to show the unit as single sided. “Electric fires are our fastest percentage of growth category,” says Czerwonka. “I
Regency Fireplace Products is another newcomer to electric fires, having entered the category a year ago. “This now is a necessary segment of the hearth products industry,” says Glen Spinelli, president. “These are products that open up sales opportunities with millions of homes where wood- and gas-burning appliances are not an option. Dealers that do not carry electric fires are missing out on those sales.” Spinelli sees the electric fire category growing. “As an example, five years ago no one offered electric cars. Now most auto manufacturers are offering electric cars, and expanding their lines as consumer demand increases.” Although a newcomer, Regency already is expanding its line from its current four high-end, linear, contemporary models with suggested retail prices from $2,000. “We are offering our dealers models that require installation to support those dealers with opportunities to increase the
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| Electric Fireplaces | sale instead of the ‘cash and carry’ models found in the Big Box stores,” he says. Although The Outdoor GreatRoom Company (OGC) primarily focuses on products for outdoor living, it had a “good” 2019 sales year with the indoor electric fires it offers, “and those sales are increasing every year,” says Joey Shimek, vice president of Sales. Differing from most manufacturers of electric fires, OGC concentrates on electric fireplace inserts. “While we do offer linear wall-mounted models, inserts are our biggest sellers. They are perfect for the millions of older brick fireplaces where heat is not needed,” Shimek adds. The electric fires market will continue to grow in 2020, Shimek says. “People now are looking for electric fires. Today’s models are better looking, affordable, and can be installed or placed anywhere. Homebuilders see electric fires as less expensive than gas fireplaces, so the builder market for electric fires also will continue to grow.” The Outdoor GreatRoom Company now offers 15 models of electric fires, including its inserts and linear, built-in models. Inserts are available with 36- and 42-inch surrounds, but the company also offers custom-sized surrounds. Twin Star Home had a “really great year” in 2019 selling its ClassicFlame-brand electric fires, according to Lisa Cody, vice
29-inch Electric Fireplace insert from The Outdoor GreatRoom Company.
president of Marketing. The company is known for combining its ClassicFlame electric fires with its Twin Star Home furniture, but it also offers wall-hung and stove electric fires. “We’ve been successful because we know what the consumer wants, says Cody. “To stay ahead in this fast-growing market, you have to pay close attention to consumer needs and design trends, and then innovate from there.”
Twin Star Home's Media Mantel with ClassicFlame PanoGlow Electric Fireplace.
28 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
Twin Star is “doing well” with its TVstand furniture featuring an electric fire and including Bluetooth speakers and remote controls. It soon will introduce its CoolGlow TV-stand furniture model with its electric fire offering heat but also able to be switched to oscillate cool air for year ’round use. The company also offers its Classic Flame Pro line aimed at homebuilders. Keying into the consumers’ desire for home safety, most ClassicFlame models now feature patented Safer Plug Fire Prevention Technology with a distinctive green plug that monitors temperature changes and automatically powers off the unit if it detects an unsafe condition. Twin Star’s patent-pending Safe Sensor automatically shuts off the heater if something blocks the heating element. It’s the largest and fastest growing category of hearth products. Homebuilders are eagerly looking at these products to solve their problems and to continue to offer a fireplace in a new home. Sure, mass merchants sell cheap models. But the market is moving toward highquality, full-featured, higher-priced models only offered through hearth product dealers. So why wouldn’t every hearth product dealer begin offering electric fires? That seems like a no-brainer.
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FACTS & CHARTS NORTHEAST
Here’s a look at electric fireplaces today, and how they are viewed by your peers. REGIONS
In October, Hearth & Home conducted a relatively brief email survey of specialty hearth dealers to determine their actions and feelings toward electric fireplaces. A total of 223 respondents returned the form.
By Richard Wright
any specialty hearth retailers presently carry electric fireplaces, but many are still reluctant to do so. We asked hearth retailers to explain their feelings about this relatively new product line. NORTHEAST Connecticut: “Frankly, I don’t get it. It’s expensive; it looks fake; and customers who have come in want it cheaper, and go to the Box stores.” Maine: “Electrical rates in Maine are too
high to justify using this as heat. They are primarily used as ambiance. They don’t put out enough heat in cold weather regions to prevent freezing.” Massachusetts: “I hesitate to sell built-
in electrics because, in general, when they fail, the whole unit must be replaced. I find they are not as serviceable as wood, pellet, or gas fireplaces. And service typically requires an electrician, not a hearth professional, so we can’t support the client as well.” Massachusetts: “As long as there is a
choice between gas and electric, gas will be preferred. The question is, will gas always be a choice?”
30 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
Regional breakdown of respondents.
Massachusetts: “People here on Cape
Pennsylvania: “Electric sales are and
New Hampshire: “The Optimyst by
Cod lose power in the winter and want something that’s going to heat when that happens. I can’t speak for all, but gas seems to be what 90% of our customers are looking for.”
will be dominated by Big Box stores and online sales. Manufacturers sell directly, or have relationships to sell directly, to customers online, which is not good for brick-and-mortar specialty dealers. We DO YOU SELL ELECTRIC FIREPLACES? will continue to get a little piece of the New Hampshire: “Fortunately, our market, but any shift toward electric is customers still are wood-burners. We a net negative for the specialty dealer.” took on and display electric, but we are underwhelmed by the number of sales Pennsylvania: “I think it will continue 87% based on our original predictions and to grow, however, I don’t think it will research.” necessarily outpace the entire industry.” Dimplex is close, but too much money for what it is.”
New York: “It is just one more thing to
display at this point. Sadly, there’s almost zero interest.” Pennsylvania: “Customers in YES my area
want heat, not electric. We sell very few.”
“I think they are decoration, not functional. In addition, electric is very expensive compared to natural gas. Most people shy away from electric heaters, and I think these units 13% are no different.” Pennsylvania: “It’s possible that, at some
point in the future, all wood and gas stoves NO and fireplaces will be banned – or at least
banned in certain cities or states. Then electric fireplaces will be the only choice. But while wood and gas fireplaces are still an option, they will sell much better than electric fireplaces. Right now, although electric fireplaces have improved, they still look terrible compared to a gas fireplace, and they provide very little heat.” Pennsylvania: “They have their place
for older people, and in some cases where gas, wood, or pellets cannot be installed.” SOUTH Arkansas: “If we can get the price of
electricity lower than the cost of gas, we might stand a better chance of selling them.” Florida: “As long as electrics keep
innovating, making them look real and appealing, they will continue to grow. However, it’s very unlikely they will ever become dominant over gas or wood.” Florida: “Electric
fireplaces have a place in the product mix, but will never dominate.” Kentucky: “New
the percentages will grow in the future. We’re trying to educate customers on the benefit of using the electric and build that side of the business.” South Carolina: “I think they’ll continue
to grow, so long as Washington allows Chinese imports (as they’re almost 100% Chinese). They’ll continue to be dominated by Big Box retailers, and to a lesser extent by the furniture industry. They’re not really hearth products, but somewhere between an electric heater and a TV screen. I don’t see a role for them in our business.” Texas: “Electric fireplaces will probably be the same in the fireplace market that postmounted grills are in the barbecue market. They have a place, but the percentage appears to be very low. There is no substitute for a real fire, as far as most folks are concerned (at least in my market).” Texas: “I’m sure it’s the wave of the fu-
ture, but most people prefer a real flame and the ambiance of a real fire. The EPA and the Green activists will have a huge influence on its future.”
of hearth retailers presently construction continsell electric fireplaces. ually makes wood Virginia: “The only and gas fireplaces electric fireplaces that more difficult to add we’re interested in to homes. With the advancement of electric selling are units that we can build into the fireplace technology, electric product sales wall, primarily to replace vent-free gas that will continue to increase and will continue customers no longer want in their homes. to replace sales of gas and wood fireplaces.” We can’t compete with online sellers for anything free-standing or wall mounted North Carolina: “If they can incorporate that customers can easily install themselves.” substantial radiant warmth they may have more of a future.” Virginia: “They have a very specific segment of our market, for people who don’t Oklahoma: “Customers can buy any want the hassle of wood or cannot get, or electric fireplace online. The dealer don’t want, the expense, of putting in gas.” has to pay freight and educate the customer. So, for the brick-and-mortar Virginia: “Unless the looks of the electric stores, there’s not enough profit or fireplaces on the market get much better, manufacturer help to make it worthwhile.” and the heat output gets much higher, I would not expect electric to do much better Oklahoma: “More customers are in our area. People are looking for heat.” incorporating them into their new-home builds and their remodels. A few are Virginia: “With the present look and replacing current fireplaces with electrics. pricing it’s going nowhere. If the looks It’s hard to look into the future and see how improve and the prices go down – maybe.”
of hearth retailers presently DO NOT sell electric fireplaces. What follows are some of their reasons. “They are available online, and in Big Box stores with do-it-yourself installers, and margins are slim.” “Margins are too slim to compete with online sellers and Box stores.” “Most electric fireplaces look stupid.” “We would have to compete with Internet sellers.” “We sold them years ago, but were never satisfied with the quality. Whether it was the cheapest or the most expensive, they all turned out to be junk after one season of use.” “The quality has been awful in the past few years.” “They are a cash-and-carry item; most are sold on price, and our typical gas or wood installation runs $8,000 to $12,000.” “They are online for less than we pay for them.” “They are too available elsewhere (Big Lots, Walmart, Lowe’s, etc.) They don’t need my expertise; they’re plug-and-play items.” “Too many online options.” “We want a totally American-made unit.” “We don’t have the space to display all the styles and sizes necessary for this category.”
www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 31
| Electric Fireplaces – Survey Results |
What percent of your hearth business did electric fireplaces represent in 2019?
LESS THAN 1%
1% TO 3%
4% TO 6%
Wisconsin: “Electric fireplaces don’t
fit with either of our two core principles: heating with local, renewable fuel, and generating the most heat for your energy dollar. Electricity is the least cost-effective way to make heat, and unless someone owns a windmill, solar panels, or has their own electric dam, its not local.”
7% TO 10%
For 56% of retailers who sell electric fireplaces, it represents only 3% or less of their hearth business.
MIDWEST Idaho: “If the quality continues to be this bad, we should let the Box boys handle them.” Indiana: “It is too easy for someone to
WEST California: “As California moves forward
Michigan: “Electric fireplaces have come
a long way in the last several years. They will still have a great impact on new construction and remodels given the special needs of certain applications, but I believe there will still be a greater need for gas fireplaces in the future years to come!”
order online, or pick it up from a Big Box PERCENT OF itBUSINESS store and install themselves.ELECTRIC They don’tFIREPLACES WILL REPRESENT IN 2020 need specialty people for installation. 40% Most people who want the electric want something inexpensive and easy to install. That’s not where we will make money.” Iowa: “Electric is becoming more
important to our customers. Inserting electric fireboxes in old wood fireplaces 18% or replacing gas logs increased in the last two years. I think electric sales will keep increasing but will level off. Reasons customers give for preferring electric over gas or wood fireplaces/inserts: cost of electric units are less; labor to install is less; no need for venting; don’t need much heat – just for aesthetics. Tariffs on China goods will hurt the electric fireplace business. We have already seen increases this year.” Michigan: “I think they will continue to
grow but they will not replace wood, gas, or pellet in northern Michigan. We are in a climate that requires heat for eight months of the year. As long as wood, gas, and pellet are available, they will be the choice over electric.”
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replacement parts within five years. You now have a burned out piece of electronics, with a specialty size, stoned, or at least cut into your wall. It’s like permanently building in a TV or refrigerator: the item will fail and parts won’t be available in the short term.”
of retailers who sell electric 22% fireplaces20% believe those sales
will represent only or less QUESTION 006 of their business in 2020.
Minnesota: “We don’t display them in
our showroom now, but may in the future. We sell only a few Dimplex a year.”
Ohio: “While we do see it as a strong
growth market for customers who are unable to install a gas hearth product, its limited ability to provide heat and its gross inefficiency will keep it from ever surpassing the sales numbers of wood and gas products.” Wisconsin: “A strong disadvantage
is that you’re building-in a disposable product that will probably die without
with CalGreen and Net Zero efficiency regulations, consumers who want multiple fireplaces in a large, new home may only be able to install one or two gas fireplaces within the energy guidelines they must meet. Additional fireplaces in the home would have to be electric. That’s why we’re investing in electric fireplace displays – looking toward a more restrictive future. The downside is that, since there is very little technical expertise required, the Internet may drive down prices and capture a lion’s share of sales.” California: “The retail customer thinks
electric fireplaces are a great idea, but have expectations that are beyond the realm of the technology. The high-end beautiful units are out of the price range of the average electric fireplace customer, and the fact that electric fireplaces are at every Big Box store makes it a hard sell to compete. “I think manufacturers will continue to improve on the flame and log appearance, but the majority of the customers in our market are mostly concerned with heat output.” California: “The electric fireplaces just
don’t put out enough heat. The other issue is that we don’t service electric fireplaces since they are basically TVs or LED lamps. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to sell something we don’t service. “I get a lot of calls from people who need service on their electric fireplace, and I have to turn them away because
our technicians are not electricians. The electric fireplaces seem to break down a lot. We displayed five electrics in our showroom last year and three of them broke within a few months. There are quality issues with electrics.” Washington: “If they continue to make
wood and gas seem like such evil things for our environment, and if we don’t keep government out of our everyday lives, electric fireplaces will probably become the only thing left – until they find something wrong with it. We tried selling electrics a few years ago, but our customers thought they were too expensive for what they were getting, and they could buy them online. They usually don’t do their homework when it comes to brands, quality, and warranty. They are concentrated on how much it costs.”
DON'T believe that electric fireplaceswill be a dominant product.
CANADA British Columbia: “There is a market
and a place in the hearth industry for electric fireplaces, however, we don’t believe they offer all that our customers want. Most of our electric prospects are doing so because of cost or regulatory issues, but the electrics do not offer near the range of benefits and features as natural gas.” New Brunswick: “Sales have been slowing
wood is both king and queen of the heating industry due to power outages, etc.” Ontario: “Electric fireplaces are showing
good, constant growth. Gas manufacturers have gotten too greedy with their pricing and will pay for it!”
Ontario: “The cost of electricity is so
much less than gas or wood, and the realistic flame and heat production are improving all the time.”
BRANDS down for the last year, but contractors are CARRIED starting to buy multiple units and volume Ottawa: “As long as we see continuous BRANDS CARRIED is picking up. It’s a great, inexpensive way improvement in the flame picture, surrounds, trims, and design, I believe to add atmosphere to any room.” the category will continue to grow, barring even newer technologies.” Ontario: “Up here in the northlands
Dimplex products are carried by 35% of specialty retailers who sell electric fireplaces, followed by Amantii and BEST Hearth SELLING & Home Technologies BRANDS at 18%, Modern Flames at 15%, and Napoleon at 14%.
BEST SELLING BRANDS
California: “In California, I see a serious
trend toward an all-electric home, thereby making the demand for electric fireplaces much greater.”
California: “They are getting better, but
will not be the heat output needed for most homes. Online competition is an issue, come look, talk, and then go buy online. Electric fireplaces are not a great specialty-store product unless it is limited to specialty stores.”
Best Selling Brands
Oregon: “People crave a real fire, so I
doubt electric will dominate the industry.”
Washington: “Americans love a fire.
Should the environmental issue put pressure on gas units, electric will grow much faster.”
55% of retailers who sell electric fireplaces tell us that Dimplex is their best-selling brand; AMANTII DIMPLEX NAPOLEON HHT MODERN FLAMES 14% said Napoleon, with Amantii and Hearth & Home Technologies equal at 13%, and Modern Flames at 5%.
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| Electric Fireplace Installations |
Hereâ€™s how some electric fireplaces are being installed; that may be the key to specialty dealers being successful with the category.
Bon Air Hearth, Porch and Patio Richmond, Virginia
The Dimplex XLF60 (linear) is installed in a custom cabinet surround raised to allow for maximum viewing angles. It features the optional Driftwood 74 kit. Phone: (804) 320-3600 Website: www.bonairhearthporchandpatio.com
Visbeen Architects Grand Rapids, Michigan
The design we ultimately chose for the space was the Napoleon Allure Phantom 60 with a traditional surround. By adding an elegant, custom-designed surround, as we have done here, the unit looks more integrated with the room. We have plantation shutters, a Visual Comfort light fixture designed by Kate Spade, as well as woven materials in this space that all play well in a classic genre. Phone: (616) 285-9901 Website: www.visbeen.com
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Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The clients were moving into a new-build townhouse on the lake. They wanted a feature wall with fireplace and TV on each of three levels. Based on the size of the TVs being installed, we specified the Dimplex XLF74 74-inch wide linear fireplace with driftwood kit. In our showroom, they had seen the Impex metal wall panels and wanted them for this space. For the TV recess, we had our cabinetmakers create a black box that the contractors incorporated into the wall. The speaker bar and cable box sit at the bottom of the TV niche, while cables and wires run behind the niche. Phone: (905) 889-1239 Website: www.stylishfireplaces.ca
Gibbys Electronic Supermarket St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada
We installed the Napoleon Alluravision 60 Slim then used barn board from a farm in Quebec that was from the 1700s. It was stripped and cleaned so there is no smell, bugs, etc. The mantel is from old railroad ties that were buried. We had them dug up and stained. Phone: (877) 761-6354 Website: www.gibbyselectronicsupermarket.ca
Edgewater, Maryland The customer had a wood-burning, pre-fab fireplace. Bay Stoves installed a Modern Flames electric insert in its place. The customer is extremely happy with the entire buying and installing process, as well as the convenience of electric over wood. Phone: (410) 956-7101 Website: www.baystoves.com
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| Electric Fireplace Installations |
El Paso Fireplaces El Paso, Texas
This was for the Festival of Homes here in El Paso, Texas. The builder wanted something different from the others in the show, and he came up with the cabinet idea with the Napoleon Allure 100. Phone: (915) 260-8433 Website: www.elpasofireplaces.com
Krella Gas Fireplaces Guelph, Ontario, Canada
This project was installed in a high-end condominium lobby in order to provide owners and guests a sense of warmth, gathering, and community when they get home. The inspiration for the design was actually two-part. We knew we needed an electric fireplace due to the space and the constraints on gas lines and real fire in the lobby, and chose the Napoleon Alluravision 60 Deep Depth. So our first goal was to make it look like a gas fireplace and as premium as possible, thus the marble tile surround. Second, we had to cover a few unsightly spots where damage existed on the wall and ceiling. Therefore, we built up the premium surround to go from floor to ceiling. Phone: (519) 766-4060 Website: www.krellafireplaces.com
Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The clients were moving into a new-build townhouse on the lake. We specified the Dimplex XLF74 linear fireplace with driftwood kit. They had seen the leather panels in our showroom, and we paired them with a stone that combined rough and smooth surfaces in black and gray tones to work with floors and countertops in this space. Phone: (905) 889-1239 Website: www.stylishfireplaces.ca
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electric electric fireplaces fireplaces
European European Home Home
British British Designed Designed Redefining Redefining electric electric fireplaces fireplaces to to redefine redefine your your experience experience
781.324.8383 781.324.8383 EuropeanHome.com EuropeanHome.com
| Electric Fireplace Installations |
Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This client had a builderâ€™s gas fireplace between two windows. She wanted to update the look and replace gas with electric. We worked with a local cabinetmaker. We had the gas fireplace removed, repaired the floor, and put up a wall-mounted Amantii WM-BI-34-4423 electric fireplace with custom picture frame to camouflage the sides and highlight the backlighting. We lined the bottom of the frame with tempered glass, to deflect some of the heat from the painted surface of the frame. Phone: (905) 889-1239 Website: www.stylishfireplaces.ca
Martin Sales and Service Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The customer wanted a custom-built, Hearth & Home Technologies, SimpliFire electric fireplace including a media console with hidden storage. Phone: (724) 283-6281 Website: www.martinsalesandservice.com
Stylish Fireplaces & Interiors Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The clients were renovating their family room and wanted to add a fireplace feature wall. We specified the Sierra Flame WM-FML-72-7823 for its size and backlighting. We also liked the fact that the metal faceplate eliminated any reflections from the window on the opposite wall. Behind the fireplace, we selected Erthcoverings Silver Fox Strips, installed vertically, for texture and interest with a modern twist. Phone: (905) 889-1239 Website: www.stylishfireplaces.ca
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| Electric Fireplace Installations |
Fireside Supply Inc. Hebron, Connecticut
This electric frankenstove was the outcome of a couple that came into our showroom one fall looking for a nonoperational wood stove that they could install into their 1700â€™s historical home in Tolland, Connecticut. They did not have a functional chimney so they only wanted the stove to look and fit the feel for the period of the home. After showing them around some old Vermont Castings stoves that we had removed over the years, they settled on the Vermont Castings Defiant 1. We started to entertain electric log sets to authenticate the look inside the firebox. We had an Dimplex Opti-myst log insert on the floor so we looked at inserting the log set into the Defiant for authenticity. I started by gutting the Defiant of any cast parts that could be removed to make as much room as possible to fit the log set. It fit wonderfully with a few minor alterations. Next we painted the stove and delivered and installed it in their home. It fit the look and space perfectly and they loved the final product. Maybe this could be a good use of the older VC wood stoves as opposed to scrapping them and losing them to history. Phone: (860) 228-1383 Website: www.firesidesupply.net
StoneCraft Studios Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
StoneCraft Studios designed and installed this contemporary project for the personal residence of a local builder. The Dimplex Ignite XLF Series is trimmed out with a MagraHearth non-combustible, graphite colored, natural wood, four-piece fireplace surround. The top of the stone is capped off with a coordinating natural wood mantel that wraps around on each side of the unit. To complete the design, six sets of MagraHearth Silver Decorative Brackets were used. Phone: (414) 431-3907 Website: www.stonecraftstudios.com
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| Exit Interview |
MODESTY, HONOR, INTEGRITY As Janet Wansor reluctantly leaves her position at Jensen Leisure Furniture, she reflects on the past 28 years, her successes, and most importantly, the people she has met along the way. By Richard Wright
eginning with Jensen Jarrah, then going to Jensen Leisure Furniture, Janet Wansor has been in charge of reps, meaning in charge of sales. With only a handful of dealers to start with, she was instrumental in building the dealer network up to 300. Hearth & Home: How did you get into the patio industry? Janet Wansor: “I was working for a graphic design company called JMP Graphics in southern California. I was hired to do the sales, to cold call, and to meet with clients. I worked with the artists to create company logos, design ads, etc. The company printed their business cards, letterheads, envelopes, that kind of thing. “Max Jensen arrived (from Australia) for the first time to look at selling his
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furniture to retailers; he needed to understand what steps to take to set up his business. He saw our ad in the “Yellow Pages,” called, and I met with him in a credit company that handled companies’ receivables. We talked, and he showed me an idea he had for an ad; it was terrific. “It was the chair from Down Under, and the chair was upside down. It was a very bold ad. I loved it. Within a couple of weeks we put together his logo and some of the print materials. A little time went by and he contacted me and asked if I would consider working part-time for him. He said he was really comfortable with me. He liked me. I was excited because it would be a new adventure. At that time, JMP Graphics was selling the company to a printer. So everything worked out for me to start working parttime for Max.”
What year was that? Wansor: “It was 1991 when I met him, and I started at the end of that year. At first I worked part-time in the office of the receivables company, outside of Riverside. I was doing a little bit of everything. Max was in Australia. He would come over to the U.S. a couple of times a year, at least in the beginning. So I learned a wide variety of skills, from accounts receivable to accounts payable, to bringing on a sales force. I looked into which associations I should join; at that time it was called the CFR (CasuaI Furniture Retailers). “I made sure I joined that group and got involved. I also participated with a local Southern California Credit Management Group. That’s where I met Beverly Lee of OW Lee. I realized the value in bringing on retailers through the sales team that were credit worthy. I immediately took to the industry people. I loved them – still do.” At that point were you actually trying to find reps to sell Max’s products? Wansor: “Yes, I worked with Max. We researched warehousing. There was such a wide variety of research that I had to do. He was more involved with interviewing the reps, getting recommendations. He had a sales manager come over from Australia who was also involved in hiring the reps. We
PHOTO: ©2020 ZAID HAMID. WWW.ZAIDHAMID.COM.
put together small regional teams; back then it was Chicago and New England. “Not all the regions were covered, and if they weren’t then I was responsible to travel the region and cold call. I did cold calls every day. I’d research who the key players were. Then I would contact the reps who covered the regions. In other regions where we didn’t have reps I would make trips and see what I could find out.” What did you think about cold calling? Was it difficult? Wansor: “It was, but I had done it with JP Graphics. The rep team, or family, grew as we became more involved in the industry. I met them through the CFR; I networked with people to find out what reps were the best investment.” At that point were you attending the Casual Market? Wansor: “Yes, the first market I attended was in the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. Upstairs we had a 10 x 10 space. It was fabulous. It was a good group of people.
Did you attend the Apollo Awards program? Wansor: “Yes, the attire was through the moon. It has become a little more casual, a lot more casual, really.” So, at first you learned how to handle the money aspect of running a business, and then you learned how to find and train the salespeople. Did you ever get into designing, or helping people to design, products for the market? Wansor: “I’ve always been included in discussing new products. I appreciate that my feedback was always wanted. In the early years, the designs were all done in Australia. I would always be sent technical drawings, and I would provide my feedback. I learned the importance of being able to go 360 degrees around the piece to see what it looks like from the back, from the side, from the front, all of that. “Max had a really good understanding of the ergonomics, the importance of the comfort of wood furniture. That’s why we still have the Integra and the Governor chairs, because they are so comfortable.”
I remember Max. I remember him as being a very nice guy who was very into his business. He didn’t want to mess around and joke too much. He was there to do business. Wansor: “That’s right. He was very focused, a very complex man. When I moved into our own office, I was in the office by myself. Each day, whatever would arise, I would think, What would Max want me to do? I took total ownership. I wanted the company to have integrity. Whatever I said I would do, I would follow through and make sure it was done.” You were the one managing Max’s business in the U.S. Wansor: “Yes.” What happened with Max? My understanding was that he ran out of Jarrah wood. Wansor: “It was partially that. It was a combination of things that collided. The quality Jarrah, which is only found in southwestern Australia, became less Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
| Exit Interview | and less available. We were also seeing the impact on the quality of the timber that was being used. The cost, of course, went up and up. “He had a really top quality team of production people, but coal mining became a really big thing in northwestern Australia. They were able to offer high wages, so he was losing people. It was a combination of that, the quality of the Jarrah, and the increasing cost of the wood. It became impossible to be able to be successful in the U.S.”
Wansor: “Max was not involved in that at all. That came about through the Roda family.” At that point, when Roda was taking over, do you recall how many dealers you already had? Wansor: “Well, Jensen Jarrah started with about a dozen dealers. At the time when Roda was taking over, we had about 200, and now we have close to 300 accounts.”
“I love what I do. I love the industry, the people. People are what make it.” – Janet Wansor
So he sold the business. Am I correct?
At that point what was your job?
Wansor: “We were at the September market and Max met a gentleman who became the tie between Jensen Jarrah and the Roda Group. Max left that show and headed straight for the Roda Group in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.”
Wansor: “I was vice president of Sales and Marketing. That’s still my title today.”
Now, Roda is a very large company, correct? Wansor: “Yes, they have all kinds of ventures. Outdoor furniture is probably the smallest of their businesses. They were already in the outdoor furniture business. They were using Roble timber and selling it in Europe, England, and the British Isles. “They bought Max out; that was around 2009 and what they wanted was Max’s designs. Jensen Jarrah closed in 2010. I don’t know all the details of what they purchased, but they knew that Ipe and Roble are the best timber to use in outdoor furniture. They have the forests right there in Bolivia. I think it was at the Preview Show in July, 2009, when we introduced the Ipe. What a wonderful wood that is.” It’s beautiful. Did Max already have certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?
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So you found your niche in sales as opposed to finance? Wansor: “Yes.” When Roda took over, the reps reported to you, correct? And that lasted for another 10 years or so. Wansor: “Yes. Until Eric Parsons came in (Parsons joined the company in February 2019; he is now vice president of Jensen Leisure Furniture. For years he had a high-level job at Gloster).” Where does Charles Vernon fit in (Vernon joined the company in January 2019 after many years of working with Gloster). Wansor: “He’s Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors has always been involved with Jensen Leisure Furniture. I would say, in this last year, it is much more involved.” How much longer will you be involved with the company?
Wansor: “Four weeks.” That brings you to about the end of December. Where and what do you want to do? Ideally, what would you like to be doing with your life right now? Wansor: “I really don’t know what’s going to happen, but I do know I want more independence. I want something part-time. Whatever it is, I’m going to love it. I would hope something would open up in the industry. I have a couple of ideas. I’m going to take the holidays off, Christmas and New Year’s. I’m going to be meeting family in Colorado and just enjoy some time off, then I’ll see. “I’m going to be in Virginia through at least half of next year. I’m still in my lease. I thought I was going to retire in 2020, but things got moved up. I go back and forth between being incredibly sad and being excited. It’s bittersweet. “My husband and I have talked about moving to Colorado, or to Oregon. I love Oregon.” What have I not asked that you would like to get out in this article? Wansor: “Just that I love what I do. I love the industry, the people. People are what make it. The retailers are great, and the ability to really get to know people and share their joys and pain is also wonderful. I love that. That is going to be what I miss, and the reps. I love the reps, and the wide variety of personalities they have; some of it relates to the region they are in, and some of it is just personality. “Now, earlier you asked how I grew the Jensen business. That’s best answered by the quality of the people I have worked with over those 28 years. For example, reps such as Todd Crandall, Jack Glynn, Jeff and Claire Walvick, as well as longstanding retailers such as John Billings of Daylight Home, Lighting & Patio, CA; Tom and Deb Stegman of Elegant Outdoors, FL; Jack Wills III of Jack Wills Outdoor Living, OK; Mariah Maydew of Fruehauf ’s, CO.” Ed. Note: Janet Wansor can be reached at (951) 315-7920 – calls or text.
| Climate Change |
SPECIAL REPORT SPONSORED BY
How will a warming Planet Earth affect you?
By Mark Brock
CLIMATE CHANGE – SOME OF THE BASICS Here is a broad overview of Climate Change terminology:
Climate Change – Climate Change is the big concept here. The fundamentals of the Earth’s climate are shifting as reflected by the melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, rising sea levels, extreme weather events such as torrential rains, droughts, extreme tornadoes, and hurricanes. Climate Change has been part of Earth’s history for billions of years, but the new factor here is human activity. Again, a segment of the scientific community is behind the position that burning fossil fuels is increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is warming the planet. This pace of Climate Change is projected to increase.
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limate Change is one of the most controversial and one of the most consequential issues in America today, equal parts science and politics. The issue has become so contentious that many people are unable to utter the phrase, which has been deleted from federal government websites and documents. Planet Earth has gone through many climate changes over billions of years, which we know from the work of archaeologists, scientists, and historians. The presence of ice has increased and then receded, and changes in climate have led to the extinction of plant and animal species as well as the emergence of new life forms, including humans. The essential difference in conversations around Climate Change today is the role of human beings. It’s difficult to deny that Earth’s climate is changing given a litany of observations – polar ice caps and Greenland’s ice sheet are melting; sea levels are rising and threatening Pacific islands and coastal regions; high temperatures are setting records each year all around the globe; wildfires are being fueled by dried vegetation and destroying entire communities; record-breaking rainfall, hurricanes and tornadoes are occurring beyond natural variability; the permafrost in Canada is thawing faster than expected; the United Nations has reported that one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction due to Climate Change; the
world’s largest corporations have reported financial risks of more than $1 trillion caused by a changing climate; and the list goes on. The question that fuels intense debate is centered not on whether Climate Change is occurring, but on what’s causing these changes – whether it’s just Mother Nature being Mother Nature or whether it’s the result of the activities of mankind. The central issue is the burning of fossil fuels that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The global scientific community has reported that increased emissions of carbon dioxide, along with other greenhouse gases such as methane, are increasing temperatures on Planet Earth by trapping heat in the atmosphere, leading to the continual warming of the planet with a cascade of changes in weather events. Not everyone agrees, however, that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the culprits in a changing climate. The most prominent climate skeptic today is the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who has said that Climate Change is a “hoax” created by the Chinese to place American companies at a competitive disadvantage. He has withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris agreement on Climate Change that set goals for reductions in greenhouse gases internationally. The New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, and other sources, counts
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Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience
| Climate Change | ANTARCTICA MASS VARIATION SINCE 2002 GT – A cubic kilometer of ice weighs
What does 58m of sea level rise mean? It means the oceans would rise 190 ft. if all the ice in Antarctica were to melt.
0 Antarctica mass (GT)
approximately one metric gigaton, meaning that the ice sheet weighs 26,500,000 gigatons. Approximately 61% of all fresh water on the Earth is held in the Antarctic ice sheet, an amount equivalent to about 58m of sea-level rise.
-500 -1000 -1500
2004 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 TIME SOURCE: CLIMATE.NASA.GOV
Ice at the South Pole is diminishing as the planet warms, contributing to overall global temperatures and rising sea levels.
Greenhouse gases – The term
greenhouse gas is derived from, well, greenhouses. As everyone knows, a greenhouse is a structure with a transparent roof that retains heat inside so that plants can grow in any season. A greenhouse gas, such as carbon dioxide, also traps heat, but it does its trapping in the atmosphere with molecules that prevent Earth’s warmth from dissipating into space. A certain amount of carbon dioxide is a good thing, keeping the earth from becoming an icy wilderness. Too much carbon dioxide, however, means too much heat trapping which then affects the fundamentals of the climate, including increases in average temperatures and extreme weather events.
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more than 80 environmental rules and regulations on the way out under the Trump administration. The controversy surrounding Climate Change is fundamentally about what humanity can do about it and who will pay. Fossil fuel industries – oil, gas and coal – have vested interests in promoting the continued use of these energy sources. On the other end of the spectrum are advocates for renewable energy – wind, solar, and even nuclear – who argue that sustainable energy sources must be embraced to lead us away from fossil fuels so that we can begin to reverse the harmful effects on our climate that have accumulated during the last century. Responses to Climate Change Occurring Globally While the debate continues over the causes of Climate Change, a recent issue of the MIT Review (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) identified three strategic directions for coping – mitigation (reducing the impact of Climate Change), adaptation (making changes to cope with new climate factors) and suffering (feeling the consequences of Climate Change that appear to affect poor countries and poor people disproportionately to prosperous economies and the wealthy.) This special issue of the MIT Review featured many of the ways that the realities of a changing climate are being addressed around the world. Corn and wheat growers in America’s heartland benefited from warmer
weather during recent years, but long-term weather change, including this year’s spring flooding in America’s Corn Belt, is feared as a threat to world food supplies; New York City is making plans to protect its water and power infrastructures that are threatened by rising sea levels and severe storms; in Mexico thousands of dollars are being spent each year to collect fast growing seaweed that’s spoiling pristine beaches visited by tourists. For Central America, one of the main issues is developing a strain of coffee beans that can adapt to changing climate patterns; nuclear energy is being touted by some as a sustainable, lowimpact energy source, but the cost and complexity of building new nuclear plants is mind boggling, with the 2011 tsunami in Japan still within recent memory; growth economies, such as India, Brazil, and China, are becoming larger sources of carbon emissions as they aspire to elevate their citizens to the sort of middle-class prosperity long enjoyed in America. Australia has adopted stringent fireresistant building standards in the wake of wildfires, and implemented a “code red” warning when everyone, including firefighters, should escape immediately; in the absence of federal leadership on Climate Change, many businesses, state, and local governments are taking action against carbon emissions; and the application of new forms of technology are being explored, including such radical ideas as spraying seawater into the clouds
to reflect sunlight back into space and protect coral reefs that are dying due to higher water temperatures. As the MIT feature illustrated, private enterprise and governmental agencies worldwide are taking proactive steps to address the impacts of Climate Change even as leadership in Washington continues to deny the need for action. New York State has adopted what is considered the world’s most aggressive plan for reducing greenhouse gases, and California state government also has been aggressive in steps toward reducing and ultimately eliminating carbon emissions. Much remains to be done, however. For example, engineers estimate that it would cost more than $60 billion to repair the nation’s aging 91,000 dams that are illprepared for heavy bouts of precipitation. Many local communities are dealing with storm-water management systems that can be overwhelmed by heavy rain, resulting in flooding. Even the small South Pacific island nation of Fiji has taken on an innovative and out-sized role in response to global warming. Rising sea levels are threatening Fiji, the Marshall Islands, and other small nations in the south Pacific. Fiji has been working diligently to relocate families whose homes have been swamped by rising sea levels, and the country’s leadership played a central role in the passage of the Paris Climate Change
agreement. Fiji has also obtained funds from wealthy nations globally to aid in its fight against rising sea water. Some climate observers believe that we are already in the midst of irreversible Climate Change and that our quality of life will steadily diminish over the coming years. Some go further, predicting an apocalypse within the current century when many species, including humans, will no longer find Earth habitable, particularly in certain geographic regions such as the Middle East and portions of Africa and Latin America. Mass migrations from these regions could lead to social and political turmoil, even armed conflict, some believe. On the other side of the issue are those who believe that climate and weather are ever-changing natural phenomena that Earth has endured for millions of years. They believe that spending tax dollars in an effort to reverse Climate Change is a fool’s quest and that the planet will adapt and survive as it has in the past. Scientist Working on Climate Change Skepticism One of the many Climate Change specialists dedicated to communicating the scientific community’s view of global warming and Climate Change is Dr. Jeffrey Bennett, author of “A Global Warming Primer – The Science, the Consequences,
Global warming – Earlier in the debate over the environment, you frequently heard the term global warming. This term simply reflects the documented fact that the overall average temperature of Earth has been increasing steadily, particularly during recent decades. The term global warming has generally been replaced by the term Climate Change because climate skeptics continued to point out that certain regions have extremely cold weather. As president Trump tweeted once, “We could use some global warming now.” Weather is not climate with temperatures varying widely. Climate is the baseline, and the scientific community is in agreement that fundamental shifts are occurring.
Rising sea levels threaten South Pacific islands, such as those of Fiji.
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| Climate Change |
“What we are now doing to the world…by adding greenhouse gases to the air at an unprecedented rate… is new in the experience of the Earth. It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways.” — Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, United Nations speech in 1989
and the Solutions.” Based on more than 30 years of scientific research, teaching, and writing, Dr. Bennett, an astrophysicist, maintains that global warming, the source of Climate Change, is as simple as 1, 2, 3. 1. Fact: Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, by which we mean a gas that traps heat and makes a planet (like Earth or Venus) warmer than it would be otherwise. 2. Fact: Human activity, especially the use of fossil fuels – by which we mean coal, oil, and gas, all of which release carbon dioxide when burned – is adding significantly more of this heat-trapping gas to Earth’s atmosphere. 3. Inevitable Conclusion: We should expect the rising carbon dioxide concentration to warm our planet, with the warming becoming more severe as we add more carbon dioxide. Throughout his book, Bennett provides a step-by-step review of the science that underpins global warming and Climate Change, while also refuting claims by Climate Change skeptics. His approach is to break the issue down into question-andanswer formats that can be easily understood by readers who may have been challenged by high school and college science courses. One of the book’s most telling explanations of global warming is a comparison of Earth to Venus. Both planets are roughly the same size and roughly the same distance from the Sun. Earth has just enough carbon dioxide in its
The glacier on Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, which has shrunk due to Climate Change and rising temperatures.
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atmosphere to keep it at a comfortable and livable average temperature of 59 degrees. Venus, on the other hand, has 200,000 times as much carbon dioxide as Earth, with a lead-melting average temperature of 880 degrees. A certain amount of carbon dioxide is a good thing so that Earth doesn’t freeze, but Venus shows that it’s definitely possible to have too much of a good thing. During the past year, Dr. Bennett has been on a nationwide tour, giving lectures to help explain global warming in layman’s terms. He has discovered a diversity of understanding surrounding the topic, but a growing consensus that something is terribly wrong with the climate. “Polls indicate that the vast majority of people believe that global warming and Climate Change are real,” he said. “There are people who understand the science behind global warming and they know it’s real. On the other hand, there are people who believe something is wrong, but they don’t understand the science. Despite the complexities, the basic science around global warming and Climate Change is easy to understand. Once people understand and accept the science, you can then shift the conversation to what can be done about it. The goal of my book and my tour is to help improve public understanding of the issues and possible solutions.” One of the eye-opening segments of Bennett’s book and lecture tour is a quote from British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher from a 1989 speech to the United Nations. Mrs. Thatcher, a leading conservative of her time, said: “What we are now doing to the world…by adding greenhouse gases to the air at an unprecedented rate…is new in the experience of the Earth. It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways.” Another leading conservative thought leader, President Ronald Reagan, who is also quoted in the book, said in his 1984 State of the Union Address: “Preservation of our environment is not a liberal or a conservative challenge: it’s common sense.” “During my tour there are points at which politics enter the conversation, but one of the first things I point out is that major conservative leaders, many years ago, spoke out on the threats to our environment from human activities,” Bennett said. “This observation shocks
people because the political divide on the environment, global warming, and Climate Change is fairly recent.” Bennett’s book and lecture tour are not only dedicated to improving the understanding of the science behind global warming and Climate Change, but also intended to help readers and audiences focus on solutions. “I believe it’s highly unlikely that Climate Change will lead to extinction of humanity, but we are certainly putting at risk the quality of life that we enjoy today,” he said. “On a positive note, there are technologies available to us that can lead us away from burning fossil fuels, provided there is the public and political will for change. “When I talk to kids, I tell them the future does look bleak if we don’t solve these problems,” Bennett continued. “But if we do solve these problems with existing and new technologies, I tell these kids they can live in a world in which energy is more abundant and more affordable, and in which the standard of living is higher than they could imagine today.” Climate Change Affecting Business Outlook While Dr. Bennett and other scientists take a broad environmental view of the impacts of Climate Change, an organization known as CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) invites major corporations to disclose projections related to the impacts of Climate Change on the global business outlook. A recent report from CDP indicated potential losses of approximately $1 trillion attributable to Climate Change as reported by major corporations. These losses relate to the costs of making technological shifts toward a low-carbon economy, extreme weather events, and changes in governmental regulations that increase the cost of operations. At the same time, the CDP forecasts growth opportunities from Climate Change at more than $2 trillion; these opportunities are based on an anticipation of increased demand for low-emission products and services and enhanced competitive positions based on consumer preferences. According to CDP, Climate Change effects will vary greatly by industry segments and across geographic
Wildfires in California and beyond have become more frequent and severe.
regions, necessitating deeper analysis and new strategic actions. “Any company that produces goods for sale is at risk of having its operations impacted by severe weather events that are increasingly frequent,” said CDP North America president Bruno Sarda. “As we continue to damage our environment, extreme storms, wildfires, and droughts can damage facilities, jeopardize manufacturing, and interrupt supply chains.” Sarda cites all types of businesses, including outdoor living product companies, as being at risk from the impacts of Climate Change as a result of rising and shifting temperatures, and changing consumer behavior. For example, it could become too hot to sit outside for long periods of time in parts of the continental U.S. during certain seasons. “Though the risks are severe and numerous to both people and businesses, Climate Change also presents a financial opportunity that companies would do well to act on,” Sarda said. “One of our recent reports found that the world’s largest companies identify $2.1 trillion in potential opportunities from enacting sustainable business practices. Whether these gains come from saving costs by switching to renewable energy use or from creating new businesses to keep up with increasing consumer demand for Green products, companies stand to gain by transitioning alongside the growing sustainable economy.”
“Any company that produces goods for sale is at risk. As we continue to damage our environment, extreme storms, wildfires, and droughts can damage facilities, jeopardize manufacturing, and interrupt supply chains.” – Bruno Sarda President of CDP North America
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| Climate Change |
Sustainable energy sources –
The world we have lived in since the Industrial Revolution has been fueled by the burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas, and coal. There’s no question that these fuels have created a standard of living for the U.S. and many other countries without rival in history. To address Climate Change, however, the focus is on how humans can shift from fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases, to sources of energy that don’t give off those gases – wind, solar, and even nuclear. These technologies, with the exception of nuclear, are indeed growing in use, but at the current pace probably not fast enough to stem the current carbon dioxide tide.
Solar energy and wind power stations.
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While the CDP disclosure report focuses primarily on large multi-national corporations, Sarda says that small businesses, such as specialty retailers in hearth, barbecue, and patio segments, and their manufacturing suppliers, are also at risk from the effects of Climate Change. Extreme weather events, for example, can disrupt supply chains, making the availability of products unpredictable and unreliable. “Extreme weather is just one example of a risk that could disrupt the supply chain; another is water scarcity, a problem increasing in many global locales,” Sarda said. “It takes many gallons of water to create one pound of plastic. If a plastic manufacturer runs out of water, it may be unable to provide the raw material needed to create a patio furniture company’s products. Growing deforestation is another area of concern. Companies that rely on timber production to create wood-based products for outdoor use are vulnerable to the increasing scarcity of the world’s forests as mass consumption threatens their existence.” Increased business risks resulting from Climate Change mean that smaller companies should remain in close contact with their key suppliers to ensure that these suppliers are sustainably sourcing materials and diversifying their raw material sources, he said. “Smaller companies themselves should aim to set an example for suppliers by disclosing their own environmental impact which many small companies do voluntarily through CDP,” according to Sarda. “Only then can these smaller companies understand their risks fully,
and take steps to prepare for our rapidly changing world.” In addition to CDP reports, a survey by the consulting firm Deloitte found that 84% of businesses are well aware of potential dire consequences from Climate Change, and two-thirds of these companies are either reviewing or have changed their energy management strategies as a result. Many of these companies are directing their energy purchases toward wind and solar as these sources become more cost competitive. In releasing its report, Deloitte noted that advances in sustainable energy technology are increasing the range of options for major corporations in reducing their global footprints. Yet another indication of the impact of Climate Change on business was a decision by Moody’s Corporation to purchase a controlling interest in a company that measures the risks of Climate Change. Moody’s, the international company that rates the credit worthiness of bonds issued by government agencies and corporations, purchased a majority share in Four Twenty Seven, a California company that tracks the impact of climate risks on 2,000 companies and 196 countries. This purchase indicates that global warming can threaten the creditworthiness of governments and companies around the world, and is one of a series of moves by rating agencies to account for the effects of Climate Change on the ability of governments and corporations to make good on the bonds they issue to finance a wide range of investments.
New Building Material Touted As Climate Change Solution A relatively new building material known as “mass timber” is being touted as an innovation that could revolutionize the building industry while adding an important element to Climate Change solutions, according to an article in “Yale E360,” a newsletter from Yale University devoted to environmental issues. While
Carbon 12 in Portland, Oregon, is the tallest building in the United States made with mass timber.
mass timber is increasing in use and has strong advocates, environmentalists maintain that the benefits could be overstated, particularly if responsible forestry management is not included as part of this product’s lifecycle. “Among architects, manufacturers, and environmentalists, many want nothing less than to turn the coming decades of global commercial construction from a giant source of carbon emissions into a giant carbon sink by replacing concrete and
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steel construction with mass timber,” according to the article by Jim Robbins, a veteran journalist based in Helena, Montana, and writing for “Yale E360.” “That, they say, would avoid the CO2 generated in the production of those building materials, and sequester massive amounts of carbon by tying up the wood in buildings for decades or even longer, perhaps in perpetuity.” Mass timber encompasses large structural panels, posts, and beams that are glued under pressure or nailed together in layers with the wood’s grain stacked perpendicular for extra strength, according to Robbins. Mass timber is not only prized as an innovative building material, superior to concrete and steel in many ways, it is also hoped it will come into its own as a significant part of a Climate Change solution. For example, a typical steel and concrete building has an emissions profile of 2,000 metric tons of CO2. With mass timber, 2,000 tons of CO2 can be sequestered in the building. The adoption of mass timber is much further developed in Europe than in the U.S., Robbins’ article reports. Mass-timber buildings are located in London, Norway, Vancouver, Atlanta, and Minneapolis, including an 80-story high-rise proposed for Chicago. While mass timber advocates point to these buildings as part of the Climate Change solution, there are skeptics. “There are big questions being asked about just how sustainable the new building material is – especially about how forests that produce mass timber are managed, and how much CO2 would be emitted in the logging, manufacture, and transport of the wood products used in the construction. So far, critics say, there aren’t good answers to those questions,” according to Robbins’ article. While advocates and skeptics debate the merits of mass timber, the field is taking off. “The burgeoning demand for mass timber posts and beams has seen sawmills open in the timber towns of the U.S. Northwest and loggers go back to work to harvest the pine, fir, and spruce used in the manufacture,” according to Robbins. “The first certified U.S. producer of mass timber – also known as crosslaminated timber – opened in Riddle, Oregon, in 2015. Other producers have either recently opened or soon will. Analysts call it a revolution in building and the next great disruption of the construction industry, for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with the environmental aspects.” Other benefits of mass-timber structures are how exposed wood interiors in these buildings are warmer than other materials and more aesthetically pleasing, according to Robbins. The dense, laminated beams also hold up well to fire, unlike other kinds of wood construction. Mass timber can be cheaper than concrete and steel, depending on where it’s sourced. When production is scaled up across the globe, experts say, mass timber should be considerably cheaper. You can read the full article on mass timber at: https://e360. yale.edu/features/as-mass-timber-takes-off-how-green-isthis-new-building-material.
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| Impact on Hearth, Barbecue, Patio |
CLOSER TO HOME Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio companies respond to climate change issues. By Mark Brock
he women and men of the hearth, barbecue, and patio companies are, first and foremost, residents of Planet Earth, so there is no escaping the effects of Climate Change on them and their families. With a focus on products for use outdoors, and on products that consume energy, the impact on professionals in these industries becomes increasingly important. Will Climate Change be a positive or negative experience for these three industry segments? How will these industries adapt? What can be done now and in the future?
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In terms of the current outlook, consumer demand for outdoor living products has grown steadily over the past few decades and remains strong today. A recent survey underwritten by the International Casual Furnishings Association found that nearly 50% of consumers want outdoor living spaces included in their homes. These outdoor spaces come fully equipped with shade products, durable patio furnishings, and fabrics, fully functioning kitchens, and a variety of fire features such as fire pits fueled mainly by wood, natural gas, or propane.
Inside the home, fireplaces have become not just heat utilities, but also design features. Fans of home makeover programs on HGTV, ranging from “Property Brothers” to “Fixer Upper,” can attest to the fact that interior designers are still focused on fireplaces as focal points for the décor in virtually any room. (That is not the case with the lower-cost Builder Boxes that go into tract homes.) Given the popularity of outdoor living and fire-based appliances, are members of the hearth, barbecue, and patio industries concerned about Climate Change? Is Climate Change affecting sales? What is the outlook for the future among those on the front lines of manufacturing and retail Houses on the edge of an ice cliff in Greenland.
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sales? We recently posed these questions to the readers of Hearth & Home through an email survey. Hearth & Home Email Survey Overall, survey respondents indicated that Climate Change is having little to no effect on recent or current sales. The majority of readers responding also indicated that they see Climate Change as a natural process and not directly linked to human activity. Nearly 80% of hearth, barbecue, and patio specialists report that Climate Change never comes up when working with customers, and more than 80% of survey respondents said that Climate Change has had no effect on recent or current sales. Hearth & Home readers said that consumers are motivated by a desire to secure products that add comfort and style to their outdoor spaces, and that the Green features of a product are highly motivational with consumers only about 4% of the time. More than 60% of respondents said they don’t think that Climate Change will have any effect on hearth, barbecue, and patio products, and more than half of the respondents said they believe that weather and Climate Change are simply natural processes, and that the issue is being overblown by the news media and some politicians. While readers downplayed the effects of Climate Change on their businesses, there was somewhat of a divergence when asked how Climate Change might affect them and their families. While 30% said they are not concerned at all over the impact of Climate Change on themselves and their families, 40% said they are slightly concerned and 30% reported being very worried for current and future generations. (See full survey results beginning on page 66.)
The good news is that manufacturers, such as Twin Eagles, a leader in fine outdoor kitchen equipment based in Cerritos, California, are well aware of the issues and taking positive steps that are designed not only to address environmental concerns, but also to help ensure that consumer demand for more and better performing appliances are met. “As a manufacturer, the environment is top of mind for us at Twin Eagles and has been for a very long time,” said Brian Eskew, director of Marketing. “We are doing everything we can do to reduce waste and any impact on the environment. We’re a family-owned business, and being good stewards of the environment is important to us in all that we do.” Twin Eagles’ concern for the environment is reflected in the design and engineering of its gas grills which feature both direct and radiant heat. Hot air from the burners and radiant heat reflected from grill components result in grills that heat up and cook faster, reducing the amount of fuel needed. “We would love to think that people just wake up one morning and think they want a new and sophisticated gas grill,” Eskew said. “What the customers for our grills really want is a better backyard, and a great grill is part of that better backyard. “At this point, I can’t say that Climate Change is having an effect on our business because demand remains strong for our products and people love cooking with natural gas,” he continued. “Longer term, it’s hard to say how all of this will play out. As a manufacturer I can tell you that we are always trying to do the right thing; we’re improving our products and making them more efficient with less environmental impact.”
Hearth and Barbecue Manufacturers Respond to Climate Concerns Manufacturers of gas-fired products are feeling the effects of global warming and Climate Change as the fuels used for those products are coming under increased scrutiny and regulation. Wood products have been a focus of environmentalists and regulators for several years, now pellet products are coming under scrutiny, and natural gas is being viewed increasingly as a source of greenhouse gases.
Hearth and Barbecue Products Are More Efficient RH Peterson, a manufacturer of outdoor kitchen appliances based in City of Industry, California, is also working to make its products more energy efficient with reduced environmental impact. The company is concerned about how changes in climate and regulatory action will affect their business outlook, which is currently positive. “Our products are extremely weather dependent,” said Jerry Scott, senior vice president of Sales for RH Peterson. “A late
CLIMATE ASSESSMENT REPORT PAINTS A CHALLENGING SCENARIO One of the most comprehensive assessments of the state of Climate Change is provided at least every four years as a result of the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of Climate Change and the variability and its impacts across the U.S. now and throughout this century. The most recent report from 2017 examines the impact of Climate Change on communities and the economy along with actions to reduce these risks. The following are extracts from this report:
Communities – Climate Change
creates new risks and exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in communities across the United States, presenting growing challenges to human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth. The impacts of Climate Change are already being felt in communities across the country. More frequent and intense extreme weather and climate-related events, as well as changes in average climate conditions, are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities.
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Economy – Without substantial
and sustained global mitigation and regional adaptation efforts, Climate Change is expected to cause increasing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century. Rising temperatures are projected to reduce the efficiency of power generation while increasing energy demands, resulting in higher electricity costs. With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century – more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states.
spring or summer season can affect the sales of outdoor products, as can extreme weather events, such as storms and heavy rains.” Changing regulatory oversight concerns RH Peterson, along with other companies in the barbecue and hearth industries. While federal environmental regulators have been reviewing and rolling back environmental regulations, state agencies have taken on a more proactive role. Increased regulatory activities at state levels are particularly evident in RH Peterson’s backyard of California and Washington state. “One of the greatest concerns of manufacturers is the possibility of multiple standards that vary by state and country,” Scott said. “With a federal standard at least there would be some consistency. If regulations vary by each state, and are also different in Canada and other export markets, manufacturers could be faced with a situation of having to modify products for each individual market.” Scott says the industry wants to work with regulators, both at the federal and state levels, in the best interest of consumers. “Our industry has been working to create more efficient fire products for many years, which is in our own best interest and in the best interests of our customers,” he said. “We want regulators to understand that we want more efficient and cleaner-burning products and that
Home destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Ramrod Key, Florida, in 2017. Hurricane Irma was an extremely powerful and catastrophic hurricane, and the most intense observed in the Atlantic since 2007.
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we are in no way anti-environment. Our industry is trying to work with regulatory agencies in a way that consumers continue to have choices in the products they buy – products that they need and can enjoy.” While regulators debate environmental standards, demand for products such as those from RH Peterson continues to increase each year, all based on the use of natural gas. “Outdoor living has been a huge consumer trend for many years,” Scott said. “People don’t want just a grill outside, but an outdoor kitchen that is by all intents and purposes an extension of their indoor living spaces. For homebuilders, one of the top features that consumers are looking for are outdoor spaces.” Fire features inside the home are equally popular, with fireplaces evolving from heat appliances to central interior design features. RH Peterson provides gas inserts that are incorporated into these features with a movement away from wood-burning to natural gas, which consumers see as cleaner-burning and easier to manage than cutting firewood. Some regulators are also discouraging new wood-burning appliances. “Fireplaces bring people together in social settings,” Scott said. “There are a lot of intrinsic human values associated with fire products. It’s a place and time where two-career parents and their kids can share a moment together.” Manufacturers Are Challenged by Fragmented Climate Change Response Glen Spinelli, president of Regency Fireplace Products in Delta, British Columbia, is concerned by the fragmented approach that is occurring within regulatory oversight of the hearth industry, yet he remains optimistic for how manufacturers and retailers can continue in leadership roles in meeting the needs of homeowners within a changing global climate. “Each level of government – state, provincial, municipal – is aiming to tackle global warming and pollution,” he said. “Legislative reforms are projected to continue and are impacting how manufacturers design their products in a rapidly evolving and fragmented regulatory environment. We welcome
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Actions to Reduce Risks –
Communities, governments, and businesses are working to reduce risks from and costs associated with Climate Change by taking action to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies. While mitigation and adaptation efforts have expanded substantially in the last four years, they do not yet approach the scale considered necessary to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades. Future risks from Climate Change depend primarily on decisions made today.
Interconnected Impacts – Climate
Change affects the natural, built, and social systems we rely on individually and through their connections to one another. These interconnected systems are increasingly vulnerable to cascading impacts that are often difficult to predict, threatening essential services within and beyond the nation’s borders. The full extent of Climate Change risks to interconnected systems, many of which span regional and national boundaries, is often greater than the sum of risks to individual sectors.
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opportunities to work alongside legislators in following an informed process for creating progressive environmental laws.” Spinelli believes that the hearth industry has a responsibility to develop highly-efficient zone heating appliances that contribute to the increased efficiency and insulation of homes, reducing both the impact on the environment and on homeowners’ wallets. In his view, the industry has been a leader in adopting environmentally-friendly processes and designing appliances for maximum heating efficiency. “Regency is a proud proponent of the environment and strives to ensure that our manufacturing processes are as environmentally responsible as they can be,” he said. “With all of our products manufactured in North America, we adhere to some of the most stringent environmental laws in the world. Our company is also seeking to reduce waste from manufacturing facilities and corporate offices. We are making great strides with moving toward paperless manufacturing and have a full recycling program in place for any waste from manufacturing. “Regency is creating the cleanest-burning stoves it has ever created, not only meeting, but in most cases exceeding, government requirements,” he continued. “Our units are available with electronic ignitions as well as seven-day pilot-light timers to reduce gas consumption during periods when the fireplace is not in use. We are also promoting environmental stewardship by encouraging our employees to volunteer for shoreline clean-ups with the company donating the time for employees to take on this initiative.” Manufacturers and retailers have opportunities to promote environmental stewardship, Spinelli said. “Consumer education is extremely important to ensure that homeowners are knowledgeable about how to load, light, and maintain a wood fire to both improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions,” he said. “As with every other appliance, getting the maximum efficiency relies upon ensuring that the unit is in good working order through a program of routine maintenance and service. Retailers are in a great position to offer such services to ensure homeowners are getting optimal heating and emissions performance from their units.”
“New gas and wood fireplaces create an opportunity to lower heating costs with zone heating and the potential to reduce reliance on more costly heating sources such as oil or electric heating.” — Glen Spinelli President, Regency Fireplace Products
While fragmented regulatory oversight is presenting a challenge to the industry, Spinelli is optimistic for the future given market demand. “Hearth products remain a highly sought-after feature and continue to increase both the value and aesthetic of a home with one of the highest returns on investment of any home improvement,” he said. “As homeowners update and improve the heating efficiency of their homes, new gas and wood fireplaces create an opportunity to lower heating costs with zone heating and the potential to reduce reliance on more costly heating sources such as oil or electric heating.” Regulators Target WoodBurning; Is Natural Gas Next? Driven by concerns for Climate Change, the regulatory landscape for fireplaces is fragmented and confusing, with considerable activity, but little consensus. Wood-burning fireplaces have been a flash point of regulators, and there is also growing concern that natural gas could be ostracized as greenhouse gas emitting. “The New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) coming into effect May 15, 2020 has generated a lot of confusion, concern, and uncertainty especially at the retail level,” said Dana Moroz, Technical Support manager for Napoleon. The NSPS has already changed the purchasing strategies of retailers and distributors, resulting in manufacturers
carrying the majority of the hearth season inventory rather than it being spread out through booking programs, according to Moroz. “There are good arguments to support wood-burning as being carbon neutral, so this new rule should have little impact,” he said. “We have yet to see what impact the Climate Change issue will have on gas hearth and barbecue appliances.” While wood-burning fireplaces have been the focus of regulators, there are also efforts underway to address natural gas as a greenhouse gas emission. Moroz is concerned that regulators fail to understand that gas fireplaces are often aesthetic rather than heat generating, which makes their approach focused on heating efficiency misguided. “Without natural gas, the future of fireplaces and barbecues is pretty bleak, but here again, regulators haven’t thought this through,” he said. “The ultimate question is whether consumers will accept living in an area where they are prohibited from enjoying a gas hearth or barbecue appliance. Certainly the transition of consumers from gasoline to electric vehicles is making slow progress, with many consumers still favoring larger-sized gasoline engines. Consumers may simply choose not to live in areas where these products (natural gas) are unavailable.”
Prolonged hot, dry weather results in poorly developed cornstalks on a farm in Wisconsin.
Napoleon is taking numerous steps to make its product offerings more energy efficient, including phasing out standing or continuously-burning pilot lights. Other climate-based strategies by Napoleon include providing information to regulatory agencies and continual product innovation. “With today’s technology, phasing out the continuous pilot is a natural solution. To support our dealer network in the transition from standing pilots we have intensified our dealer training program,” he said. “We also work closely with regulators to ensure that they understand the hearth category before they implement requirements. At the same time, we continue to update and broaden the number of our electric hearth products with innovations that support the push away from fossil fuels. Finally, we are developing some exciting new product innovations to address these concerns, but it’s too early to unveil them.” Everyone involved in the fireplace and barbecue industries has a stake in the outcome of regulatory responses to global warming and Climate Change. Moroz encourages all segments of the industry, particularly consumer-facing retailers, to remain informed and proactive. “We encourage retailers to understand the issues and be able to provide consumers with the facts,” he said. “With all of the media coverage, there are bound to be misconceptions and the retailers who can help to dispel these misconceptions will be the ones who make the sale. It’s also essential for retailers to embrace technological changes such as the transition from standing pilots to electronic ignition systems.” Despite regulatory uncertainty, Moroz remains optimistic for the outlook in fireplace and barbecue products given consumer demand. “We are concerned with the environmental legacy that we will leave for our children, and support initiatives that make sense in reducing greenhouse gases,” he said. “We also recognize the political motivations that regulators are driven by, and we hope our industry can continue to help the regulators navigate this issue so that it continues to flourish with consumers enjoying the benefits of
Water – The quality and quantity
of water available for use by people and ecosystems across the country are being affected by Climate Change, increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry, recreation, and the environment. Rising air and water temperatures and changes in precipitation are intensifying droughts, increasing heavy downpours, reducing snowpack, and causing declines in surface water quality, with varying impacts across regions. Future warming will add to the stress on water supplies and adversely impact the availability of water in parts of the United States.
Health – Impacts from Climate
Change on extreme weather and climate-related events, air quality, and the transmission of disease through insects and pests, food, and water increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people, particularly populations that are already vulnerable. Populations including older adults, children, low-income communities, and some communities of color are often disproportionately affected by, and less resilient to, the health impacts of Climate Change.
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| Impact on Hearth, Barbecue, Patio |
Indigenous Peoples – Climate
Change increasingly threatens Indigenous communities’ livelihoods, economies, health, and cultural identities by disrupting interconnected social, physical, and ecological systems. Many Indigenous peoples are reliant on natural resources for their economic, cultural, and physical well-being and are often uniquely affected by Climate Change. The impacts of Climate Change on water, land, coastal areas, and other natural resources, as well as infrastructure and related services, are expected to increasingly disrupt Indigenous peoples’ livelihoods and economies, including agriculture and agroforestry, fishing, recreation, and tourism.
Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services – Ecosystems and the
benefits they provide to society are being altered by Climate Change, and these impacts are projected to continue. Without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, transformative impacts on some ecosystems will occur; some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing such transformational changes. Many benefits provided by ecosystems and the environment, such as clean air and water, protection from coastal flooding, wood and fiber, crop pollination, hunting and fishing, tourism, cultural identities, and more will continue to be degraded by the impacts of Climate Change.
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gas hearth products and barbecues for many generations to come.” Moroz adds: “The market for hearth and barbecue products will continue to be robust. While the aesthetic values and product expectations of the younger generation have and will continue to change, our products will evolve with them to satisfy their values and exceed their expectations.” Hearth Industry Advocates “Common Sense” Climate Change Solutions The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is the North American industry association for all types of fireplaces, stoves, heaters, barbecues, and outdoor living appliances and accessories. It provides professional member services and industry support in government relations, including issues related to the environment, such as Climate Change and global warming. “Right now we are seeing an increase in state-level regulation of gas hearth appliances,” said Jack Goldman, president and CEO of the HPBA. “This is due to the decision by the current administration to not move forward with regulating, so some states and cities are deciding to do that on their own. This is a concern for us because we certainly don’t want our industry to face multiple different regulations from different regions. “We are doing everything we can to be a part of the discussion at the state levels in the U.S. – and at the provincial level in Canada – to encourage the use of common sense, whether it’s in the decision to regulate at all or at least to be sensible with regulations,” Goldman said. “We also are encouraging these different state and provincial regulatory authorities to always take into consideration what is already being done in other regions. And finally, our role is to simply call attention to the true cost of these regulations. Sometimes something might be proposed that seems relatively benign to the average person, but it could actually change their lifestyle or incur costs far more than they realize.” In terms of responses to environmental concerns, the HPBA has been supportive of a movement to replace wood-burning products with cleaner-burning models that have less of an environmental impact.
“We’ve been strong proponents of wood stove change-outs for decades and think that those programs should be expanded even further. These efforts have long preceded a serious Climate Change discussion,” Goldman said. “Changing out an old wood stove for an EPA-certified version can sharply reduce the greenhouse gas impacts of a household. This leads to cleaner air for everyone while still allowing consumers to enjoy the benefits of wood-burning in their homes. We’ve also been encouraging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be smart about its coming new NSPS and give the industry time to adapt, design, and test so that consumers will still have plenty of environmentally-positive choices at many price points.” While the debate over global warming and Climate Change continues as a central focus in political debates, the HPBA is focused on helping ensure the continued
Due to ongoing and potential loss of their habitat, polar bears are a threatened species.
success of its members, including manufacturers and retailers, in addressing changing requirements. “We don’t take a position on the policy and politics of Climate Change, so our actions are mostly related to defending the ability of our members to manufacture and sell the types of appliances that
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| Impact on Hearth, Barbecue, Patio |
Agriculture – Rising temperatures,
extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands, and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly disrupt agricultural productivity in the United States. Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability. While some regions (such as the Northern Great Plains) may see conditions conducive to expanded or alternative crop productivity over the next few decades, overall, yields from major U.S. crops are expected to decline as a consequence of increases in temperatures and possibly changes in water availability, soil erosion, and disease and pest outbreaks.
Infrastructure – Our Nation’s aging and deteriorating infrastructure is further stressed by increases in heavy precipitation events, coastal flooding, heat, wildfires, and other extreme events, as well as changes to average precipitation and temperature. Without adaptation, Climate Change will continue to degrade infrastructure performance over the rest of the century, with the potential for cascading impacts that threaten our economy, national security, essential services, and health and well-being. Climate Change and extreme weather events are expected to increasingly disrupt our nation’s energy and transportation systems, threatening more frequent and longer-lasting power outages, fuel shortages, and service disruptions, with cascading impacts on other critical sectors.
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consumers would like to use in their homes, while always working to improve the technology that makes these products work even better,” Goldman said. “In addition, we are joining an interesting conversation with players in the gas industry about the use of renewable natural gas as a bridge fuel,” he continued. “Currently, this only refers to methane from landfills and dairies, but some large gas utilities are conserving and creating hydrogen with excess solar energy and then mixing it into the gas supply to lower the total carbon content. This is only in the discussion stage but we will continue to monitor developments.” With the HPBA in a leadership role as an industry spokesperson, Goldman sees an important role for each of its members concerning all environmental issues, including those related to Climate Change. “Manufacturers and retailers can respond by emphasizing the benefits of their products,” he said. “All of our member manufacturers remain very nimble and very
are also always innovating and creating. HPBExpo tends to be the place where those innovations first appear.” Goldman is optimistic for the future of the hearth, barbecue, and patio markets, and anticipates products for those markets will continue to evolve over coming years. “There will always be a market for hearth products, but we have to be smart about planning for the future. That market may look very different,” he said. “Natural gas appliances are an important bridge technology that can help ease us to a future with less carbon, and wood-burning appliances fill an important need in many regions of the country. It’s in everybody’s interest to keep these appliances available and make them as clean-burning as possible.” Climate Change Is DoubleEdged for Shade Products For manufacturers and retailers of shade products, global warming is currently a positive. With higher temperatures, people are seeking ways to stay cooler while enjoying
Water fills the fields after a levee breaks in Pacific Junction, Iowa, causing a grain silo to burst.
committed to creating innovative products. As an example, only a few years ago many assumed that electric fireplaces and electric barbecues would never be optimized enough to grab any market share. In the last 10 years we’ve seen good progress in both of those areas, driven by small, aggressive, results-focused companies. The gas- and wood-burning appliance manufacturers
outdoor spaces. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that shade frames, fabrics, furnishings, and other components of outdoor living must be even more rigorously designed and manufactured given extreme weather events. This recognition bodes well for value-added products featured by specialty retailers. (Continued on page 64)
Transforming Manure and Food Wastes into Renewable Energy One of the fastest growing sources of renewable energy are manure and food wastes that create methane for pumping directly into natural gas pipelines, according to a recent article in “Yale E360,” an online publication from Yale University dedicated to environmental reporting. “Biogas has been around for a long time in the United States, mainly in the form of rudimentary systems that either capture methane from landfills and sewage treatment plants and use it to produce small amounts of electricity, or aging digesters at dairy operations that might power a local farm and send some surplus power to the grid,” according to an article by Jonathan Mingle, a freelance journalist who focuses on the environment, climate, and development issues. “But those (rudimentary systems) are fast becoming outdated and out-produced by a new wave of large-scale renewable natural gas (RNG) projects that are springing up around the country. These ventures are tapping into heretofore unexploited sources of energy: Some are capturing the vast amounts of methane generated by manure from some of the 2,300 hog farms that dot eastern North Carolina; some are building biodigesters to turn clusters of large California dairy farms into energy hubs; and some are seeking to divert food waste from landfills and transform it into vehicle and heating fuels.” A growing number of private companies are driving the increased development of renewable natural gas, relieving farmers, landfills, and others of this highly technical area that is evolving with new forms of technology. Rather than focusing on using gas to generate electricity, these new facilities are creating methane that can be added to natural gas pipelines. “The untapped potential – especially of the billions of gallons of animal manure and millions of tons of food waste generated each year in the U.S. – is immense,” Mingle reports. “According to a 2014 ‘Biogas Opportunities Roadmap’ report produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the
Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Energy, the U.S. could support at least 13,000 biogas facilities, fed by manure, landfill gas, and biosolids from sewage treatment plants. Those new systems could produce 654 billion cu. ft. of biogas per year – enough renewable energy to power 3 million homes. A study by the World Resources Institute estimated that the 50 million tons of organic waste sent to landfills or incinerated every year in the U.S has the energy content of 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel, 15% of all diesel consumed by heavy-duty trucks and buses.” In addition to the entry of private companies into renewable natural gas, several other factors are in play. “Some states, including California, are passing laws requiring the development of renewable natural gas,” Mingle writes, “and utilities across the country are starting to support these new initiatives…For proponents, the ultimate goal is to replace a significant portion of the fossil-derived natural gas streaming through U.S. pipelines with pure methane generated by human garbage, and animal and agricultural waste.” According to the article in “Yale E360,” efforts to create renewable natural gas are much further advanced in Europe than in the U.S. “In the field of renewable natural gas, the U.S. is playing catch up with Europe, which has more than 17,400 biogas plants and accounts for two-thirds of the world’s 15 gigawatts of biogas electricity capacity. Denmark alone, a country of 5.8 million people, has more than 160 biogas systems. For a period last summer, 18% of the gas consumed in Denmark came from RNG produced by its anaerobic digesters. Flush with their success, Danish bioenergy firms estimate it will be feasible to fully replace the country’s natural gas with renewable natural gas within 20 years.” You can read this entire article at: https://e360.yale.edu/ features/could-renewable-natural-gas-be-the-next-big-thingin-green-energy.
A covered lagoon manure digester on Van Warmerdam Dairy in Galt, California.
PHOTO: ©2020 MAAS ENERGY WORKS. WWW.MAASENERGY.COM.
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“All of our lighting is motion-sensing…to cut down on energy usage. We are also in negotiations for full solar panels on our building. This is our attempt to…do more to prevent global Climate Change.” — Marc Kaufer President, Frankford Umbrellas
Oceans and Coasts – Coastal
communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of Climate Change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values. Rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, retreating arctic sea ice, sea level rise, high-tide flooding, coastal erosion, higher storm surge, and heavier precipitation events threaten our oceans and coasts.
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(Continued from page 62) But as with many aspects of Climate Change, there is a double-edged sword in the works, according to Marc Kaufer, president of Frankford Umbrellas of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. “Although Frankford could certainly comment that global Climate Change has helped us due to higher temps which sometimes result in more sunny days and the need for more shade, that is only part of the story,” Kaufer said. “Global Climate Change has also resulted in more severe weather around the country, which has resulted in more unpredictability with the weather which has not helped sales. I don’t believe we’ve had a normal summer or spring in the Northeast in the last several years. Temperature and weather have been all over the place.” Frankford has continued to enjoy strong demand for its products from hotels and resorts, long the core of the business. The company is also growing in residential markets with sales to consumers increasing by 40% annually. Because of its emphasis on performance fabrics and engineered frames that can withstand extreme weather, Frankford sees its products as part of the solution to challenges brought on by Climate Change. “We feel that manufacturing highquality umbrellas with fabrics that don’t fade and disintegrate results in keeping fewer low-cost commodity umbrellas out of landfills,” he said. “We have recently been working with a giant beverage manufacturer and several restaurant chains that used to purchase thousands of low-quality umbrellas each year, but now purchase only a few hundred from us because they don’t have to replace them year-after-year.” Concerns for the climate are not only reflected in Frankford’s product design and manufacturing, but also in how it manages operations. “Frankford’s Green initiatives have us recycling all vinyl, paper, and cardboard,” Kaufer said. “In addition, all of our lighting is motion-sensing in our 53,000 sq. ft. facility to cut down on energy usage that has been reduced by more than 30% in the last two years. We are also in negotiations for full solar panels on our building in the coming year. This is our attempt to reduce our carbon footprint,
help the environment, and do more to prevent global Climate Change.” Gary Ecoff, president of Bambrella USA of Deerfield Beach, Florida, agrees that global warming and Climate Change are a mixed bag for the makers and retailers of shade products. While people are increasingly aware of the dangers of UV rays and are seeking comfort from
A marine biologist surveys a coral reef bleached by global warming.
extreme heat, there is also the likelihood that “nice days” outdoor will be disrupted by extreme weather events. “Certainly shade products are becoming more important and are on the radar of our customers (consumers, retailers, and commercial properties),” Ecoff said. “One example is the number of our commercial customers (hotels, resorts and country clubs) with kiddie pools that are asking for solutions to shade these areas because parents are more keenly aware of skin cancer issues and the amount of time their kids spend in these pools. “We also are receiving more questions regarding SPF (Sun Protection Factor) ratings in general because of shade needs being a more top of mind issue,” Ecoff continued. “While concerns over sun protection are not a direct result of Climate Change, it’s all part and parcel of the same
issue. As it gets hotter people want to make sure they have shade options available, especially commercial properties, both for practicality and as an amenity.” The impact of global warming and Climate Change is varying around the world, which is also having an impact on the demand for shade products, Ecoff said. As an example, Australia has been an epicenter for extreme heat, making it virtually impossible to sit outside without shading when temperatures rise well above 100° F. These extreme heat events have resulted in high demand for shade products from the Bambrella subsidiary located there. In addition to providing shade solutions, companies such as Bambrella are also emphasizing environmental stewardship in the design and manufacture of their products, which can help to reduce greenhouse gases. The frames for Bambrella umbrellas are manufactured using bamboo as a sustainable material that is also extremely strong and durable, capable of withstanding extremes in weather. “Bamboo used to produce natural Bambrella collections is some of the most carbon dioxide absorbing plants that exist on the planet,” he said. “This sustainable material is actually a grass not a tree, so when you cut one down six more grow in its place. In effect, bamboo is a selfsustaining material.” Climate Change and Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio Markets Global warming and accompanying Climate Change are affecting the hearth, barbecue, and patio markets in a number of different ways. The most immediate and visible impact for the hearth and barbecue industries is increased environmental regulation that is, unfortunately, often fragmented and presents challenges for designing products marketed over broad geographic regions. Individual manufacturers and trade associations, such as the HPBA, are actively involved in encouraging a cohesive and informed process. On the positive side, consumer demand within hearth, barbecue, and patio markets has never been stronger. Homeowners are investing in elaborate outdoor spaces that are extensions of designs from inside the
home, and interior fireplaces are increasingly viewed as both heating appliances and part of elegant décor. Shade products are seen as essential to enjoying outdoor spaces as average temperatures continue to increase. Each of these industry segments is meeting consumer demand with products that are increasingly efficient and durable, enhancing the enjoyment of time with friends and family. Manufacturing companies have also adopted processes that reduce energy consumption and recycle wastes. The long-term outlook on Climate Change is a mixed bag. Many local, state, and provincial governments and private industries are at the forefront of taking steps to reduce carbon emissions. While each of these actions is to be applauded, the lack of broader actions against Climate Change, particularly within the current U.S. administration and internationally, does not bode well for reducing greenhouse gases on a level that the scientific community advocates. It’s essential that the women and men of the hearth, barbecue, and patio industries continue to stay informed concerning Climate Change and advocate for policies, products, and processes that can help sustain the quality of life now enjoyed throughout many parts of the world. Climate Change is inevitable, but through individual action and civic will, humankind can channel its efforts for a sustainable world yet to come.
Tourism and Recreation –
Outdoor recreation, tourist economies, and quality of life are reliant on benefits provided by our natural environment that will be degraded by the impacts of Climate Change in many ways. Climate Change poses risks to seasonal and outdoor economies in communities across the United States, including impacts on economies centered around coral reef-based recreation, winter recreation, and inland waterbased recreation. In turn, this affects the well-being of the people who make their living supporting these economies, including rural, coastal, and Indigenous communities. You can read the full report at https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/
Italian ski resort with artificial snow due to high temperatures and lack of snowfall.
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| Impact on Hearth, Barbecue, Patio |
Hearth & Home Readers Weigh in on Climate Change
As part of our coverage of Climate Change, we conducted a survey of Hearth & Home’s retail readers; we received nearly 200 usable responses. Below is a detailed summary of how the hearth, barbecue, and patio industries view Climate Change.
Overall View of Climate Change
The weather is constantly changing, which is just part of nature, and Climate Change is nothing new and is being overblown by the news media and some politicians.
Climate Change Effects on the Outdoor Products Industries
I don’t think Climate Change will have any effect at all on the hearth, barbecue, and patio markets.
Climate Change is being driven by human activities on earth and is an immediate threat to the environment and our way of life.
Climate Change will have a negative impact on the outdoor products industries because, with weather extremes, people will spend less time outdoors.
Climate Change is occurring, but we are not sure why the changes are taking place and, in any case, it won’t be a real issue for another 50 to 75 years.
Climate Change will actually be a positive for hearth, barbecue, and patio markets because the weather will be warmer for longer periods of time.
Climate Change Effects on the Purchase of Green Products
Consumers are not motivated at all by the environmental features of the products they purchase; price is the primary factor, followed by design and quality.
All things being equal (price, quality, design) the Green positioning of a product can be a deciding factor in which products a customer purchases.
Consumers are insisting that the products they buy have a minimal impact on the environment and are willing to pay up to 20% more on products that are environmentally friendly.
Customer Perceptions of Climate Change and Their Buying Habits
Climate Change never comes up when I’m working with customers. As always, they simply want to have comfort and style in their outdoor spaces as they extend the seasons.
Customers are aware of Climate Change and are looking more than ever for products, such as shade, hearth, and barbecue, to help them enjoy the outdoors even with weather extremes.
Customers are aware of Climate Change and are more motivated today to purchase shade products because they are aware of new extremes in heat.
Hearth & Home Readers Speak Out on Climate Change As part of the Retailer Survey on Climate Change, we invited readers to share their opinions, and they certainly didn’t hold anything back. We received numerous comments that Climate Change is simply part of nature and the issue has been politicized for personal gain. Many others expressed concern over the prospect of increased governmental regulation in the hearth and barbecue categories. Still others expressed concern over how the climate is changing and its effects on humans, but advocated for intelligent and balanced solutions. Here are some of the comments we received: NORTHEAST Connecticut: “To me, Climate Change is directly affected by the pollution and emissions that humans create. Mother Nature can only absorb so much. When we learn to clean up our mess and start using recyclable products that are carbon neutral, we stand a real chance of surviving another
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Maine: “Delays due to severe weather
have had a significant impact on our work schedule. With nearly 20 inches of rain in four months, weather delays have cost us time and money.” Pennsylvania: “Climate Change is the
biggest scam ever perpetrated on the public.”
Pennsylvania: “My only real concern
100+ years as a species. That is, if we can first learn to coexist, which is probably more of an immediate concern than Climate Change.”
right now is the government stepping in and restricting our product sales for indoor and outdoor products. They could go after our smokers as well as non-EPA outdoor fireplaces.”
Delaware: “Delaware has been one of
Pennsylvania: “Anything you can do to
the highest above-temperature states in the nation, and we definitely have seen sales drop in the hearth business because of it.”
bring awareness to this issue is appreciated. In Lancaster, we have more insects and our summers are becoming too hot, thus my
T H E W E A R E A N Y T H I N G B U T C O R P O R AT E
N E X T
G E N E R A T I O N
FIRE AS A BONDING AGENT
W E B R I N G T H E H E AT
Napoleon is proud to say that we, along
with our partners, help to warm hearts and the souls of people everywhere. Being a
family company, brothers Stephen and Chris Schroeter cherish celebrations. They would Many believe Napoleon makes the industry’s
best grills and fireplaces. But there’s much more to the story. Our entire culture revolves
around creating those moments when you
can be yourself and let your hair down. Our company vision says it best: To inspire and
be the first ones to say how much they enjoy
bringing new products to market. Every day
Yes, we’re really good at harnessing heat,
that their grills, fireplaces and HVAC
passion that are making us the fastest-growing
they are motivated to come to work knowing
systems play an integral part in the lives of their customers.
in many different forms. It’s our vision and
name in the industry. For Stephen and Chris,
Napoleon’s company vision is more than
a BBQ picnic, or time spent in front of a warm fire, it’s about family gatherings where
enhance the most memorable experiences
memories are made.
people enjoy in their homes.
We want to hear from you. Email Chris and Stephen Schroeter directly at firstname.lastname@example.org napoleon.com
| Impact on Hearth, Barbecue, Patio | Climate Change Impact on Sales by Product Segment
78% 58% 20% 20%
Won’t Affect Sales Indoor Hearth
Climate Change Effects on Recent and Current Sales
Climate Change has had no effect on recent or current sales.
Climate Change has had a negative effect on sales.
Climate Change has had a positive effect on sales.
pessimistic view of the potential impact on business. I should also add that some customers seem to like the extended warm weather, so one could argue the customers you lose due to the intense heat you will gain
“Regardless of the politics of Climate Change, I would think that air pollution and brown haze is bad for us personally and for outdoor living, whether it causes long-term weather changes or not.” — Texas
68 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
Will Lead to Decreased Sales Outdoor Hearth
19% 15% 11% 9% Will Lead to Increased Sales Patio (Including Shade Products)
Climate Change Effects on You and Your Family
I’m slightly concerned about Climate Change, but other issues (healthcare, the federal debt, immigration) are likely to have greater impacts on our lives.
I’m not concerned at all about the impact of Climate Change on me and my family; everyone will be just fine, as people have been for millions of years.
I’m very worried about Climate Change because I believe it will affect my generation and generations to come; I support policies and programs to reduce greenhouse gases.
due to the extended season. Whatever you do, do not Green-wash this issue or minimize its significance on generations to come.” SOUTH Georgia: “Climate Change…we call it weather.” Tennessee: “The most concern regarding
Climate Change is the impact of the ridiculous regulations we are going to see, including the potential banning of hearth products.” Texas: “Regardless of the politics of
Climate Change, I would think that air pollution and brown haze is bad for us personally and for outdoor living, whether it causes long-term weather changes or not.” MIDWEST Minnesota: “The question on how Climate Change will affect our business was hard to answer in the multiple choices available. I
answered no change to all of them, but it does affect customer choices. These choices sometimes have positive and sometimes negative sales results. Overall they can cancel each other out, but it does pay for us to be on our toes with the product choices we offer and to be able to explain and fit these products into the changing climate.” Wisconsin: “I believe that Climate
Change cannot be addressed by America, Canada and other progressive countries alone. Third World countries need to be on board with this, too. I also believe there is a weather pattern that simply happens.” Wisconsin: “My feelings are that Earth
has been changing since the beginning of time and will continue to do so regardless of what we do as humans. That being said, it would be stupid to keep polluting our atmosphere because (we) don’t believe it will have an adverse effect. I think that
Our town has a stated goal of 80% reduction in 20 years and 100% reduction (elimination!) of greenhouse gases in 30 years. This will affect our business dramatically (both good and bad).” — California
keeping our air clean and our oceans free of debris is very necessary and all countries need to respect what we have. Scientific data that has not been paid for by a political party for their gain (with a) pre-specified outcome has shown that we are changing due to natural events in the atmosphere and changes in rotational and meteorological effects on our planet. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and forest fires have a far greater effect on our weather than we do. Again, not saying we should be careless and pollute, but go about taking care of how we live in an intelligent manner.” WEST California: “Climate Change is real. I’m
not a Trumper. Efficiency standards are important. Coal is bad.” California: “Being from California, I
can say that state regulations are having more of an effect on consumer choices than anything else.” California: “Greenhouse gas reduction
policies are the real issue. Our town has a stated goal of 80% reduction in 20 years and 100% reduction (elimination!) of greenhouse gases in 30 years. This will affect our business dramatically (both good and bad).” Colorado: “Climate Change needs to be
addressed. The term “Green” has almost become a dirty word. We need to market Climate Change for what it is, and that
our industry is concerned and making progressive changes to reduce our impact on current and future generations – that we are not leaving our descendants a cesspool to live in.” Idaho: “Humans produce less than half
of 1% of the CO2 on the planet. I don’t think we were responsible for the last ice age either.” Oregon: “While the industry likes to
deny it as these sales are very profitable, it is my opinion that outdoor gas heaters, fire pits and other gas display features are contributors to global warming not only by emitting CO2 and the associated gas leaks that occur through their use, but also the plain heat they produce that simply vanishes into the atmosphere. They should all be outlawed. Only regenerative sources should be allowed for these displays. I am aware that that goes against the ‘convenience mentality’ but that is exactly the point. The danger we are facing is for a large part driven by convenience and wants, not the necessity for careful use of energy.”
held more accountable for these problems, but there is a whole world of countries that haven’t done anything to help reduce gases, if it actually has anything to do with Climate Change. In the ’70s they said our ozone was disappearing due to aerosol cans. Aerosol cans are still available and yet they have said the ozone has repaired itself and we hear nothing today.” CANADA New Brunswick: “We need to push our
politicians and policy makers to regulate the use of plastics and all oil-based products that are not biodegradable.” Ontario: “We have delayed our response to
Climate Change for too long. The focus has been on quarterly profit as opposed to the long-term viability of our industry. Since we have not been proactive, (we can) expect to see strong oversight that curtails our design freedoms in the next 10 years. Most gas products will be curtailed. No amount of lobbying will get us out of the hole we dug. If our industry does not promote real Climate Change alternatives, we will implode.” Ontario: “In terms of the effects of Climate
“My biggest concerns are about gas fireplaces because they burn fossil fuels. Most cities are working toward a zerocarbon-emission program by 2050. I fear gas appliances have an expiration date on them.” — Québec
Washington: “I do believe Climate
Change is real, but I don’t think it’s all on humans. I think the earth has gone through these changes for millions of years. I feel the United States is always
Change on sales, I can report no effect. But consumer questions and thought processes are changing a lot. Most people are talking about how heat, rain, storms, and power could change their lives. They are looking to be off-grid more often now, or at least ready for the shutdown of resources.” Québec: “My biggest concerns are about
gas fireplaces because they burn fossil fuels. Most cities are working toward a zero-carbon-emission program by 2050. I fear gas appliances have an expiration date on them. Wood is a product of the future because it is renewable energy.” Saskatchewan: “It’s my opinion that
we should pay attention to the climate and make any improvements that we can. However, we need to keep in mind that at least some of this is likely natural. We would still have dinosaurs running around if Climate Change had not occurred in the past. We’re all aware of the Ice Age. Some of this will be natural cycles while information on others continues to be learned, e.g. the hole in the ozone.”
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| Kamados, Smokers & Charcoal Grills (KSC) |
THAT FIRST TASTE! Your customers may begin with gas, but chances are they will graduate to kamados, smokers, or charcoal grills. By Lisa Readie Mayer
arly on in the days of backyard barbecuing, people usually started out with a charcoal grill and then “graduated” to gas. These days, that path is often reversed. While gas grills offer hard-tobeat convenience and are ideal for getting dinner on the table fast, some find the food they turn out to be –shall we say – lacking in the flavor and experiential departments. Some can recall the a-ha moment when they realized the flavor difference cooking
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over charcoal makes. Whether it was a perfectly seared charcoal-grilled steak, a super-moist kamado-roasted chicken, or a smoked rack of ribs, that first taste inspired an “upgrade” to a charcoal grill, kamado, or smoker, and began a new cooking adventure. It was a bite of grilled baloney that did it for John McAdams. Twenty years ago, the then-hearth retailer sampled a hunk of lunch meat that had been grill-smoked on a Big Green Egg, and immediately signed
on as a dealer of the ceramic kamado grills. He didn’t just sell the product, he lived the lifestyle – cooking multiple times a week for his family, demo-ing the kamado and accessories in his store, and evangelically spreading the good news about the versatile cooker to customers. He went on to become one of the largest Big Green Egg dealers in Canada before buying the Big Green Egg Canada distributorship in 2017. Kamado manufacturer Grill Dome refers to this kind of passion as “OCD” – “obsessive ceramic disorder” – explaining that once someone tastes the juicy results of food cooked in a kamado, they “can’t stop compulsively trying more.” That leads to experimenting with techniques such as long, slow cooking, searing, baking, Icon Grill by Vision Grills.
roasting, and smoking – far more action than a typical gas grill would see. For a good decade-long run, backyard chefs became kamado converts in droves. The cookers enjoyed “it-grill” status and pioneered a broader resurgence in cooking with charcoal and other solid fuels. But, as with everything, popularity is cyclical. Currently, pellet grills are the cookers-dujour and have reportedly taken a bite out of kamado sales the past couple of years. Pellet people enjoy the gas-grill-like, pushbutton convenience, Wi-Fi-connected smart-app controls, and the automated path to wood-smoke flavor. However, it’s for the exact opposite reason – pure simplicity – that many remain devoted to their kamados and other types of charcoal-fueled grills, and why the category still remains a hot seller at specialty retail stores. “The beauty of the product lies in its simplicity,” says Ardy Arani, CEO/ managing director of Big Green Egg, the kamado category leader since Ed Fisher founded the brand nearly four decades ago. “True, you don’t push a button, but if you look beyond that, you’ll see it’s natural, with no mechanical apparatus, and so easy to use. It heats up in minutes – about the same as every other type of grill – but the thermal properties of the ceramics are superior, so heat stays inside the vessel, unlike a metal grill. “You don’t have to clean out a clogged auger box or worry about electronics failing. (A kamado) may be more expensive initially, but not when you consider that a pellet grill’s motor and controls will eventually burn out and need to be replaced.” In fact, it’s the hands-on interaction – something most kamado enthusiasts consider more fun than work – that drives the culture and lifestyle, according to Tom Tarantin, president of Tarantin Industries, a wholesale distributor of barbecue grills, including Big Green Egg. “People who want convenience go for pellet grills,” he says, “or if they want quick and easy, they go for gas grills. With a gas grill, you turn it on, cook for 10 minutes, turn it off, and you’re done. A kamado is not like that. It’s a lifestyle and an experience. People enjoy the process as much as the flavor and moisture.”
Tarantin describes the brand’s devotees as a “cult-like following,” and says, “If I wear a Big Green Egg shirt in an airport, a half-dozen people will stop and talk to me about it. You don’t get that with a regular grill.” Nick Bauer, president of Empire Comfort Systems, believes the kamado category “is still very viable” with plenty of marketshare to go around. The maker of Broilmaster gas grills and American Hearth and White Mountain Hearth products, bought Primo Ceramic Grills from the brand’s founder and owner George Samaras last October. “The brand is a natural fit because it meshes
“There are synergies here that will provide efficiencies for Primo dealers, “We want to help our dealers simplify their business.”
— Nick Bauer
with our company’s core tenants: a family business with North Americanbased manufacturing,” he says. “This is a growth-based acquisition. We’re confident we can grow the marketshare for Primo.” Bauer says adding the brand to the Empire family will be advantageous for dealer partners. “There are synergies here that will provide efficiencies for Primo dealers, bring freight costs down, and reduce the amount of product they have to order and inventory,” he says. “We want to help our dealers simplify their business.” Bauer says his company will spend the next several months listening to Primo customers about their wants and needs. “We will not be messing with the features, warranty, and other aspects they love, but we have ideas for new products and accessories that we expect to introduce later this year.”
Innovation and Differentiation Indeed, kamado manufacturers have introduced a wealth of unique and innovative product features to keep the category fresh and distinguish their brands among others in an increasingly crowded field. Icon Kamados have optional, patented QuickChange Inserts that can be swapped in and out to switch between charcoal, gas, and pellet fuels on the same ceramic kamado chassis. “Consumers have the flexibility to choose the fuel depending on their mood, their menu, and whether they want a quick weeknight dinner or are relaxing and entertaining,” says Scott Walters, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing. “For
Oval 400 in a wooden cart by Primo Grills.
dealers, the QuickChange Inserts make great conversation starters, generate excitement in the store, and become a supplemental sale.” The company’s QuickChange Pellet Insert was inspired by growing consumer interest in pellet grills, according to Walters, and offers the best of both worlds. The unit has turnkey features similar to a pellet grill, including an integrated auger and precise, digital temperature controls between 150 to 800 degrees that can be managed wirelessly via an app. But the ceramic construction retains heat and maintains cooking temperatures “no matter what the conditions are outside,” he says. “We tested our product in Canada and had amazing reviews. It was 15 degrees Fahrenheit outside with snow on the ground, and cooking temps exceeded 600 degrees and remained steady without a thermal blanket. Our Canadian dealers can’t wait to get their hands on this.” Click here for a mobile friendly reading |experience www.hearthandhome.com JANUARY 2020
| Kamados, Smokers & Charcoal Grills (KSC) | The latest of Kamado Joe’s numerous innovations is its patented “SlōRoller” hyperbolic smoke chamber insert. The technology, developed by a team of Harvard researchers, is currently available on the company’s new Classic III and Big Joe III grills. The insert creates cyclonic airflow inside the grill, causing smoke and heat to revolve around food up to 20 times
Big Green Egg introduced a patented, cast-iron cap called the “rEGGulator” that adjusts air flow for more accurate temperature control and holds the setting in place even if the lid is lifted. Now standard on all new EGGs, the cap is also available as a retrofit, and has an optional umbrella-like shield to keep rain out of the vent holes.
barbecuing; the middle level – the approximate location of the fire grate in most kamado brands – is for roasting; and the highest position, just four inches below the cooking grid, is for searing. All cooking grids and fire grates can be f lipped open for easy access when lighting, adding coals and cleaning up.
Shokunin kamado from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet.
X2 Infinity from Grill Dome.
20" Cast Aluminum Kamado from Blaze Outdoor Products.
more than on other grills to deliver more even heat distribution and better smoke flavor. “It’s not just new, it’s scientifically better,” according to CEO Bobby Brennan. Named one of the best new products of 2019 by AmazingRibs.com, the Slow ’N Sear Kamado Grill from Adrenaline Barbecue Company, incorporates the patented Slow ’N Sear charcoal basket, a long-popular aftermarket accessory for kamados and charcoal kettles. Integrated in the base of the new kamado, the charcoal basket creates simultaneous direct- and indirect-grilling zones, concentrates heat for better searing, improves smoke flavor, and allows easier access to coals for refueling. Grill Dome ceramic kamados are known for glossy finishes and jewel-like colors. The company offers five standard colors – red, blue, copper, silver and black – as well as numerous custom colors. There is even the option to mix-and-match lids and bases in two different colors, a great sales differential for retailers whose customers like to show team pride.
More Variations on the Theme For some kamado manufacturers, building the proverbial better mousetrap has included swapping out traditional ceramic construction for other materials. Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet’s new Shokunin kamado is hand-crafted of stainless steel with ipe wood accents to coordinate with the company’s Arcadia outdoor cabinetry series. “It fits better visually in an outdoor kitchen than a ceramic kamado ever could,” says Russ Faulk, chief designer and Head of Product. The name Shokunin, which means “master” or “artisan” in Japanese, pays homage to the kamado’s Asian origins and the artisanal nature of live-fire cooking, according to Faulk. The rectangular shape is designed to facilitate multi-zone fires and indirect cooking, while the taller profile accommodates three different levels for building the fire. The lowest position, furthest from the cooking grid, is ideal for low-and-slow
Two inches of insulation between double-walled stainless steel keeps the exterior cool to the touch, provides greater fuel efficiency, and maintains steady temperatures between 200° and 1,000°F. In tests, a full load of charcoal held 225-degree temperatures for 65 hours. Solid cast-aluminum stands in for ceramics on the Blaze Outdoor Products kamado, a material offering similar heat retention, but greater durability. Another innovation: the lid and base fit together with a unique tongue-and-groove seal, eliminating the need for a traditional gasket that often needs replacing. The cooker is also designed to incorporate an optional rotisserie in the base. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal introduced the 4K, a cast-aluminum kamado available in six colors. The appenabled smart cooker uses a series of grill and meat probes to maintain cooking temperatures and monitor doneness. The four-legged base of the tall, angular kamado incorporates a handy storage
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Multi-position spring adjustment to accommodate a variety of lid weights. Hinge opens beyond 90Â° to allow full access to the smoker.
Complete your kit with a high-quality, stainless steel drum smoker hinge; fueled by Vectisâ„˘ Technology. Learn more by visiting: weberknapp.com/drumsmoker vectisoutdoor.com weberknapp.com
| Kamados, Smokers & Charcoal Grills (KSC) |
drawer to stow the pizza stone, tongs, grid lifter, and other accessories that come standard with the grill. The Broil King Keg has a doublewalled steel body that is thermally efficient, but does not absorb or transfer odors like porous ceramic materials. The lightweight cooker is easily maneuverable
Coyote Outdoor Living now offers three charcoal models, including its stainless-steel 36-inch Charcoal Grill; a Hybrid Grill with side-by-side charcoal and gas grill heads; and the Asado Cooker, a traditional kamadostyle ceramic grill. “More consumers wish to include multiple types of cooking
While technology is helping to make charcoal grilling as convenient as cooking with gas or pellets, for many, it’s the back-to-basics, interactive experience that’s part of charcoal-grilling’s appeal. Cooking with charcoal – whether in a grill, kamado, or smoker – fits in with a growing interest in other “old-
Bison Premium Charcoal Grill from Bull Outdoor Products.
Portable Kitchens 360 Grill & Smoker.
Gravity Series 560 Grill + Smoker from Masterbuilt.
and, with a trailer-hitch adaptor in place, can even be transported to a tailgate or on vacation. Available in stainless steel or three powder-coated color finishes, the Caliber Pro Kamado has triple-layered insulation and a patented flue system to retain heat and moisture, while using 40% less lump charcoal. It weighs 75 lbs., approximately one-third of the weight of traditional ceramic cookers. At 460 lbs., Goldens’ Cast Iron Kamado is at the opposite end of the weight scale. Crafted from Americanmade cast iron, it is virtually indestructible and comes fully assembled with a patented, integrated, cast hinge system.
appliances in their outdoor kitchens,” says president Jim Ginocchi. “We want to have something for everyone.” Bull Outdoor Products offers the stainless-steel Bison Premium Charcoal Grill, available on a cart base or as a built-in. Twin Eagles’ Charcoal Grill, with height-adjustable charcoal tray and a double-walled hood, sports seamless welds and polished accents just like its gas grills. The stainless-steel, smart Sonoma Smoker from Lynx features Bluetooth app-enabled controls. Technology is a differentiating feature of the new Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Grill + Smoker. The patent-pending cooker offers the flavor and high temperatures of a charcoal grill, with the ease and convenience of a propane or pellet grill. Its unique “GravityFed” vertical hopper holds enough charcoal to grill or smoke for up to 15 hours without refilling. Cooking temperatures, ranging from 225° to 700°F, are maintained and controlled by a Wi-Fi- and Bluetoothenabled thermostat, and proprietary thermostatic DigitalFan technology.
fashioned,” nostalgic, hands-on pursuits such as embroidery, vinyl records, produce gardening, and canning. This trend is helping drive a rebirth for the Portable Kitchens (a.k.a. PK). First introduced in 1952, today’s PK charcoal grill maintains the original rectangular shape and heavy, castaluminum construction, but is now available in several colors and with a host of available accessories. The classic grill again caught the attention of backyard grillers after being used by the winners of the Steak Cookoff Association World Championship for four years running. “It’s a beloved product but not that many people know about it, so we are working on building awareness,” says chief Marketing officer Scott Moody. “Millennials have a ‘buy-it-for-life’ attitude, so the fact that PK lasts forever, resonates with them. It’s also trendy with the 35- to 55-year-old grill-nerd guys, and gaining traction across all incomes and education levels.” That's why it's referred to as a “classic.”
Charcoal’s on Fire While kamados often steal the spotlight, charcoal-fueled grills and smokers of all types are enjoying a renaissance and increasingly being included in outdoor kitchens as a companion to a gas grill. Accordingly, most premium grill manufacturers have now added charcoalfueled appliances to their lineups.
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World Market Center theMart Chicago
SPACE B-0166 SPACE 15-102
| Kamados, Smokers & Charcoal Grills (KSC) | Growing a Mature Market That kind of news is encouraging to specialty barbecue retailers, because people who cook on charcoal-fueled grills, smokers, and/or kamados tend to return to the store often. Each visit to replenish lump charcoal, fire-starters, and wood chips, brings an opportunity to sell the enormous selection of aftermarket
stepped-up in-store education efforts with increasing sales. Other retailers organize festivals and cook-offs to educate customers, build camaraderie, and fuel passion for charcoal grills and kamados. The experiential events, something experts say would never fly with gas grills, generate traffic and sales.
company processes the transaction, but a local dealer – determined by location, inventory availability, and other factors – assembles and delivers the product and gets paid for the sale. After beta testing is complete, Arani says the platform will scale nationally throughout 2020. By end of year, he says a click-and-collect system is expected
A Large Big Green Egg.
36″ Charcoal Grill from Coyote Outdoor Living.
Daniel Boone from Green Mountain Grills.
accessory products, and hearth and patio products as well. “Smart retailers commit to selling charcoal and accessories,” says Arani. “These products help build the camaraderie and ongoing relationships that keep customers coming back to you as a resource for advice and suggestions about new techniques. Maybe a customer tries the pizza accessories. They come back and say, ‘Wow, that was amazing!’ and you can say, ‘Did you know you can grill breakfast with this Half-Moon Plancha Griddle?’” That’s exactly the modus operandi of Stephen “Ruff” Ruffatti, owner of Ruff’s Barbeque Shoppe in Golden, Colorado. “Our Big Green Egg business has doubled this year because we decided to sell them, not just carry them,” Ruffatti explains. “My son and grandson are big into social media. They use it to promote the EGG and all the related accessories, and teach people how to use them.” Ruffatti credits this social-media campaign and
Awareness of the kamado category was further boosted this year after Big Green Egg partnered with Ace Hardware, and the independent retail co-op featured EGGs extensively in its national television commercials. In addition, Big Green Egg has launched its own television ads, which Arani says effectively send consumers to the company’s dealer-locator page. “We’re hearing from dealers that the advertising has been tremendous for their business,” says Tarantin. “People will come in and say, ‘Oh, I saw that on TV!’” Arani hopes to build on that effort with an e-commerce platform to sell Big Green Eggs directly to consumers. “More and more consumers prefer to shop from their living room,” he says. “We want to offer that convenience, while protecting our dealers.” The soon-to-launch platform allows consumers to research and purchase online directly from Big Green Egg. The
to be in place, allowing the consumer to specify the dealer they wish to work with locally. “We are in no way competing with dealers; we are collaborating,” explains Arani. “We understand the challenge of running a brick-and-mortar operation and want to be supportive. Some manufacturers will say MAP policy protects dealers and levels the field with online competitors. But even with MAP protection, every sale that doesn’t go through the dealer is a sale the dealer doesn’t get. With our e-commerce platform, the dealer essentially makes the sale and gets the profit as if it was sold from their sales floor.” Clearly, there is a lot that’s new and exciting in charcoal grills, kamados, and smokers. Feature them in store displays, position them as a grilling skill “upgrade,” promote them in your social media classes and events, and watch sales grow. Don’t forget that vast variety of accessories is a great draw.
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| Manufacturing |
THE FAMILY TORCH A second generation of Shimeks stays mainly with hearth products, but this time it’s primarily for the outdoors.
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By Bill Sendelback
ost of us are lucky to have just one really good idea in our lifetime. First, the Shimek brothers – Ron, Dan, Steve and Gerry – started and later sold Heat & Glo, which became one of the cornerstones of the present industry giant Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), the other being Heatilator (the Shimeks played no part in creating Heatilator). Dan Shimek’s second creation was The Outdoor GreatRoom Company, (OGC) an enterprise dedicated to the Outdoor
Room concept, revolving around outdoor fire features, and offering upscale products. Today (OGC) offers electric and outdoor gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts, fireplace cabinets and surrounds, vented gas logs, gas fire burners and burner controls, fire pits, fire tables, outdoor furniture, Outdoor Room decorative accessories, patio awnings, outdoor kitchen islands, pergolas, and custom products for residential and commercial outdoor applications. All of this is still under the ownership and leadership of the Shimek family, now with second-generation family members.
“The Shimek brothers started The Outdoor GreatRoom Company with the concept of selling the whole Outdoor Room package.”
Ron Shimek, a technical director for Sperry Rand (Unisys) and a lead engineer on the Minuteman guided missile project, and brother Dan, then a research chemist and purchasing manager for 3M Corporation, formed Heat & Glo in 1975 in Ron’s garage. The company featured their then-revolutionary Spin-a-Fire circular glass, wood-burning fireplace. The other Shimek brothers – Gerry and Steve – soon joined Ron and Dan in their new venture. In 1985 the brothers patented the nation’s first direct-vent, gas, zero-clearance fireplace. Then, in 1996, the four brothers sold Heat & Glo to HON Industries to form HHT, and in 2003 Dan Shimek moved on to create The Outdoor GreatRoom Company, (OGC ) later to include his brothers. The company initially was named Fire Stone Home Products, but, as one could expect, the Firestone tire company quickly forced the fledgling company to change its name. That’s when OGC was born. “But that change turned out to be a great thing, because OGC actually better defines what we do,” says Joey Shimek, vice president of Sales and son of Steve Shimek.
PHOTO: ©2020 JEFFREY SCHMIEG GAMUT ONE STUDIOS. WWW.GAMUT1STUDIOS.COM.
Ron and Dan Shimek have since passed away, while Gerry is now CEO and president of OGC. Steve Shimek, former vice president of Sales before passing the torch to his son Joey, remains a sales consultant to OGC as he prepares to retire later this year. Kay Shimek, wife of the late Dan Shimek, is majority owner. Gerry’s son Ryan is OGC’s controller, and his son David is OGC’s Western U.S. Sales manager; the second generation of Shimeks continues to cement the legacy of the original four Shimek brothers and patriarchs. Keeping things in the Shimek family, Jeff Hanel, OGC’s new Construction and Builder Business manager, is the late Ron Shimek’s son-in-law. And, yes, OGC does have non-Shimeks in its management team. Renee Schmitz is vice president of Business Development, Eric Hawkinson is vice president of Operations, and Ross Johnson is OEM and National Accounts manager. Both Schmitz and Hawkinson were employees at Heat & Glo and later at HHT. “The Shimek brothers started OGC with the concept of selling the whole Outdoor Room package, including outdoor kitchens, patio furniture, and pergolas, to make the Outdoor Room an extension of the home with an outdoor LEFT PAGE: 20-inch Round Crystal Fire Burner with wind guard; 12 X 16 sq. ft. Redwood Sonoma Wood Pergola Kit with Redwood Wood Lattice; Custom Outdoor Kitchen with White Onyx Supercast Countertops. THIS PAGE: Joey Shimek
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
PHOTO: ©2020 JEFFREY SCHMIEG. GAMUT ONE STUDIOS. WWW.GAMUT1STUDIOS.COM.
| Manufacturing |
fire feature as a main gathering place,” Joey Shimek explains. “We want to create alternative experiences through fire features, where consumers can really enjoy being outside in the comfort of their own backyard. “Three to five years ago, we were experiencing double-digit sales growth. Much of our success can be attributed to our family background in the outdoor fire category, and the expertise of our 41 employees. The last couple of years our sales growth has slowed somewhat due to more people joining this market, particularly with lower-end products. That has made sales growth more challenging.”
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While the OCG offers an extensive and growing line of fire features and Outdoor Room products, its fastest growing category is its gas burners, for fire pits and fire tables. “This line has had strong sales growth every year,” according to Shimek. Called Crystal Fire Burners, the line includes linear models up to 120 inches, round, rectangular, square, and custom versions in high-grade stainless steel with suggested retail prices ranging from $339 to $2,898. OGC recently expanded that line to now include its upscale Crystal Fire Plus Burners, featuring higher Btu capacities and re-engineered and upgraded construction for brighter, taller, fuller, and
“While The Outdoor GreatRoom Company has focused on products for outdoor living, it does offer products for the inside of homes. ” — Joey Shimek
more yellow natural flames. Crystal Fire Plus Burners include glass ember media. “We developed this line as a result of feedback from our dealers and consumers,” says Shimek. “People want to have the best and most real flame presentation, and they want to know that the burners will last a long time. We think these are the best gas burners on the market.” OGC makes quite a few of its products right in Minnesota. “We make the majority of the outdoor gas fire pits, all the outdoor kitchens, and other ready-to-finish pieces, including pergolas, says Shimek. “We used to import 100% of our products, now we make 50% to 70% in-house.”
With its headquarters and 60,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Burnsville, The Outdoor GreatRoom Company sells through independent manufacturers’ representatives to hearth products, casual living, pool and spa dealers, landscapers, and homebuilders in the U.S. and Canada, and also distributes its products in Australia. Thirty percent of OGC’s sales are through hearth products dealers. “Our products are priced toward the higher end of the middle range,” says
company,” he says. “We really are getting into the commercial and component sides of the business. And we expect those sales to double in the next year or two.” While The Outdoor GreatRoom Company has focused on products for outdoor living, it does offer products for the inside of homes. “We offer electric fireplaces, non-combustible mantels, and gas fireplace inserts, as examples. Indoor products are a smaller part of our business now, but we are putting an increasing emphasis on these
Shimek. “We have always sold a lot of finished fire tables, but we also offer the individual components and even custom items.” Shimek says OGC is expanding its offerings to include ready-to-finish fire pits, outdoor kitchens, and outdoor fireplaces. “We want to be a full service provider of finished products, or any part of an outdoor project for a consumer, a DIY customer, or a builder.” Hospitality and commercial uses of OGC products, such as in restaurants and lobbies, has grown by double-digit percentages for each of the last four years, and now totals 10% of the company’s sales, says Shimek. “We want to be more than just a retail-type
products for our hearth product dealers. “We look for hearth product dealers who are experts in hearth products, have some experience in outdoor products, or have the desire to sell both indoor and outdoor fire features. We want dealers who will ask customers, ‘What are your plans for your outdoor space?’” he says. To assist and grow its dealers, OGC offers “constant education” on the company’s many new products, its Crystal Fire and Crystal Fire Plus Burners, and its new commercial products. “We travel with our sales reps to our dealers to make sure both are educated on our products,” he says. “We look for better
ways to communicate with them, whether it’s face-to-face or through training webinars. We want to make sure our dealers are experts when it comes to outdoor fires. “And we listen to our customers. When Dan Shimek founded this company, his vision was to provide the whole Outdoor Room. Many of our new products are the result of direct feedback from our dealers and our customers. We really try to put that feedback into each product we make,” he says.
GROUP IMAGE L to R: Joey Shimek, Renee Schmitz , Gerry Shimek, and Eric Hawkinson. PRODUCTS: A – Intrigue Tabletop Outdoor Lantern. B – Stone Arch Freestanding Gas Fireplace. C – Lyndale Highback Swivel Rocker with Cast Ash and Sunbrella Cushions. D – Custom Outdoor Kitchen Island. E – Highland Gas Insert with traditional front surround. F – Havenwood Fire Table. G – White 30-inch Cove Fire Bowl. H – White Onyx Beacon Dining Height Gas Fire Pit Table. I – Cortlin Linear Gas Fire Pit Table with linear glass wind guard.
www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 83
| New Products |
A new line of exclusive fire pits was designed by company owner John Hunt, featuring 304 stainless steel bowls, hand-applied faux-concrete finishes, concealed propane tank access and the capability of emitting up to 55,000 Btus. Phone: (888) 910-5646 Website: www.americasbackyards.com
The Wildridge Round Farm House Table Set has classic good looks and invites guests to gather. The set is made of durable HDPE resin and marine-grade fasteners. Durable for outdoor use, the set is eco-friendly and easy to clean. Phone: (330) 893-4212 Website: www.wildridge.com
Kingsman Fireplaces The versatile design of Homecrestâ€™s Eden table top is sparked by Swedish simplicity, clean lines, and flawless craftsmanship. The slatted, teak-inspired collection is both coolly sophisticated and comfortably welcoming.
The Titan freestanding, direct-vent, gas stove, part of the Marquis Collection, is available in either natural gas at 28,500 Btus or propane at 26,000 Btus. Options include a brick liner or fan.
Phone: (877) 599-4803 Website: www.homecrest.com
Phone: (855) 593-3304 Website: www.marquisfireplaces.net
Homecrest Outdoor Living
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The Pop-Up Fire Pit is a portable, full-size fire pit and grill. The aluminum design weighs just 8 lbs. and packs away smaller than a camp chair. When used with the optional heat shield, the Pop-Up Fire Pit meets BLM and USFS Fire Pan requirements. The stainless fire mesh maximizes airflow for brighter fires and produces 80% less smoke than traditional fires. Phone: (623) 207-9333 Website: www.firesideoutdoor.com
The Laurel Screen SG-353 is a four-panel room divider, ideal for adding a bit of separation between spaces, while keeping areas on both sides bright and connected. The attractive screen allows some light and sound to pass through and is finished on both sides. Phone: (310) 787-8716 Website: www.myscreengems.com
The Charisma garden stool is handmade from heavy porcelain for durability. Decorated with a handpainted floral design, the stool can be used in the garden or other outdoor areas and weighs 24 lbs. It is 12½-inches deep by 17-inches high.
Phone: (818) 782-3060 Website: www.importcollection.com
Phone: (855) 502-9988 Website: www.cabanacoast.com
Inspired by the classic architecture of a raised structure offering a “fine view,” as it means in Italian, Belvedere is a collection of substantial nature, accentuated by bold, chamfered edges.
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
| New Products |
The eclectic Grand Cay Collection is inspired by the architecture of South Florida and the Caribbean and influenced by Dutch, British and French Colonial styles. The collection combines traditional lines with beach bungalow elements for a casually elegant feel. The collection includes dining, deep seating and lounge options. Cushioned deep seating features Plush Comfort and Sytex Seating Systems.
Phone: (800) 776-9533 Website: www.owlee.com
Phone: (800) 967-4254 Website: www.kasrugs.com
Refresh outdoor living spaces with transitional Terrace rugs. The easyclean rugs are machine woven in Turkey of UV-treated polypropylene with texture and a low pile height of Âź-inch.
Three Birds Casual
The special thermal properties of Mariana Soapstone Firebrick make bricks sawn from our natural, dove gray soapstone perfect for lining fireplaces, and a beautiful upgrade from regular firebrick. Four sizes are in stock; shipping is nationwide.
The St. Lucia Swivel Rocker has a Grade-A plantation teak frame and soft Sunbrella cushions with quickdraining reticulated foam cores. The chairâ€™s construction offers strength and durability.
Phone: (401) 855-6608 Website: www.stonetrade.com/stones/mariana-soapstone-firebrick/
Phone: (866) 243-2473 Website: www.three-birds.com
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ROCKSTARS WANTED ENTRY DEADLINE
New Orleans, LA March 12 - 14
Enter by January 10th, 2020 and the entry fee is $200 per entry; enter later and the fee is $250.
| New Products |
Pelican Reef / Panama Jack Outdoor
Grand Canyon Gas Logs
Made of Acacia wood, the Poolside Collection features a sectional sofa with arm chairs for a variety of entertaining options. Cushions are made of an outdoor white fabric with a choice of Sunbrella fabrics for upgrading to a personalized look.
This new Vulcan Vent-Free Burner system and boutique-style logs have created a wood-burning look in a ventfree gas log set. This listed system provides variety to the vent-free market.
Phone: (888) 820-4455 Website: www.pelicanreef.com
Phone: (602) 344-4217 Website: www.grandcanyongaslogs.com
Skyline Design European Home
The E60 3-Sided is a bay style, trimless electric fireplace that adds an extra dimension to your classic linear modern fireplace. Evoflame technology, powered by LED lighting, creates a robust flame effect while providing all the added benefits of an electric fireplace such as energy savings, optional heating, and the ability to install almost anywhere without having to worry about vent pipe. Phone: (781) 324-8383 Website: www.europeanhome.com
88 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
The Bandido Collection has modern sophistication, adding style to outdoor seating, dining or lounging areas. The collection is made of weatherproof, 100% recyclable wide bands of strong and durable woven fibers in a Silver Walnut finish over a sturdy, yet lightweight powder-coated aluminum frame. Phone: (877) 595-4634 Website: www.skylinedesign.com/ northamerica/
New Orleans, LA March 12 - 14
VOLUME 25, NUMBER 1
A P u b l i c at i o n O f T h e H e a rt h , P at i o & B a r b e c u e A s s o c i at i o n
This Year Will Be Different There’s never been a more crucial time for you AND your team to be at HPBExpo. Evolving consumer demands, a rapidly changing marketplace, and emerging regulations in our industry are creating new challenges for all of us. HPBExpo is your best chance all year to connect with manufacturers face-to-face and build relationships that could be critical for growing your business. Real, actionable solutions are here, including how to revamp your sales tactics, create a better showroom experience, and leverage cutting-edge marketing strategies.
Education that moves the needle.
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Education Foundation has carefully curated an education program that will help you improve sales, get up to speed on the latest technical specs and regulations, and learn how to run your business more profitably. The very best in our industry will be with us in New Orleans, armed with value-packed education programming that will provide actionable, tangible salesboosting strategies and tactics. From manufacturer-specific training and 40+ classroom sessions to the NFI certification program and Thursday’s Keynote Address, you can get critical information and insights that could build – and maybe even save – your business in the long term. NEW in 2020! Take the NFI exam on your schedule! Online exams will be available onsite at HPBExpo. Due to the level of interest, advanced sign-up is highly suggested.
Speaking of Keynotes…
Thursday’s Keynote Address, “Hot Profit: Optimizing Retail Space to Spark Growth in Your Sales,” generously brought to us by Napoleon Products, will be delivered by one of the best architects and retail space designers in North America, Wayne Visbeen of Visbeen Architects. Learn how showroom design
HPBExpo 2020 and New Orleans are Calling.
New Orleans is a city that embodies the very lifestyle that our industry creates: full-sensory experiences and new discoveries. So, there’s no better place to celebrate indoor-outdoor living than the Crescent City. And that’s why, next March, thousands of passionate professionals from around the world will come together to meet old friends and new; make connections that can change the trajectory of their businesses; share what they’ve learned over the last year and exactly what they’re doing to win; see new products and what trends are shaping up; take part in an Education Program that will help grow their businesses; see what their competition is up to; and, let’s face it, have a lot of fun!
90 | January 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
EXCLUSIVE HPBEXPO 2020 EDUCATION SESSIONS: There will be four Education sessions at HPBExpo 2020 that will ONLY be available on-site. For more information like dates, times and locations, go to hpbexpo.com/educational info.
• Showroom Design with Debbie Hannig of Hannig Marketing. Learn the best way to present your business and how to be clear and direct with the message you send to your customers when they come through your front door. • Win More with a Marketing Strategy Design with Tim Reed of Reed Marketing. Learn how to craft a marketing strategy and a compelling message that will get you results. • Sales Leadership: Learn to Build a Sales Process That Motivates Your Team and Wins More Business Than Ever with Tim Reed of Reed Marketing. Learn how to boost the effectiveness of your team’s sales techniques – from harnessing a customer’s purchasing momentum to followup strategies that yield higher close rates.
Keep your business growing with HPBExpo 2020 Education! Don’t miss out!
• HPBA Hearth & BBQ Consumer Research Survey Results with Cameron Downs of HPBA. Get inside the minds of barbecue and hearth consumers and see what drives purchase intent and affects product usage behavior.
and thoughtful product display can create better customer experiences, which ultimately lead to boosted sales. By popular demand, Wayne will also share tips on how dealers can win more fireplace specs and field your questions in a lively Q&A. So don’t miss out if you have any specific things you just have to know!
No Hotter Show. No Cooler City.
Along with the amazing new products and people at HPBExpo 2020, and special NOLA-themed events, there’s an entire city waiting to be experienced. With 300 years’ worth of history and a mix of cultures, New Orleans is an ever-popular international destination with quite a bit more to it than just Bourbon Street. Brimming with block after block of colorful architecture, secret gardens, unique restaurants, and contagious music, there’s something for everyone. Plus, Expo takes place over Friday the 13th and right before St. Patrick’s Day; two holidays that the city embraces full-force. What a great time to be in NOLA and at HPBExpo!
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that HPBExpo is the “same old trade show” and miss out on this opportunity to learn how to run your business better. Register today at hpbexpo.com/register. See you in New Orleans!
The HPBA Journal is intended to provide in-depth information to the hearth and outdoor products industries. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the officers, board, staff or members of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.
Copyright ©2020 by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is prohibited. Direct requests for permission to use material published in the HPBA Journal to email@example.com.
Click here for a mobile
friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | January 2020 | 91
| Business Climate |
In early December Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare November 2019 sales to November 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 194 usable returns.
RETAILER SALES - U.S. AND CANADA November 2019 vs. November 2018
59% 58% 47%
RETAILERS NO CHANGE
RETAILERS UP HEARTH
Spa retailers had another good month; 47% of them were UP over the same month last year, while 38% of Hearth retailers were UP, 29% of Barbecue retailers were UP, and only 17% of Patio retailers were UP.
13-MONTH YEAR-OVER-YEAR RETAIL SALES November 2019 vs. November 2018
Dec Jan Feb Mar 2019
May June July Aug
Dec Jan Feb Mar 2019
May June July Aug
Dec Jan Feb Mar 2019
May June July Aug
Dec Jan 2019
May June July Aug
In November, both Barbecue and Spa retailers were UP 4%, Hearth retailers were UP 3%, and Patio retailers were UP 1%.
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SPAS 9% 9%
1% 0% 0% 0% -4% 2% 1% -2% 2%
WEATHER REPORT RETAILER COMMENTS
NORTHEAST Massachusetts: (Hearth, Patio) “November was a good month, our advertising response was excellent. Good weather was another plus. Our inventory level had a very positive affect on sales. Outdoor furniture continues to be top sellers.”
For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflect the temperature ranking for the period since records began in 1895.
STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE RANKS NOVEMBER 2019 20
15 11 11
15 22 30
selling off all the non-2020 EPA compliant wood stoves. Deep discounts.”
New Jersey: (Hearth) “Still working on
16 32 28
27 22 29
New York: (Hearth) “Too much service
work – not enough time for installs.”
1 = COLDEST / 125 = WARMEST
“Fantastic year! Wood-stove sales really took off this year. We are completely sold out of non-2020 products. People seem to love the new ones. Wish some companies were farther along with the new product availability.”
— New York
NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA
Much Below Average
In November, California posted temperatures that were Much Above Average, while eight other contiguous states experienced Above Average temperatures.
STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE RANKS SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER 2019 55
95 104 82 58 113 114 104 115 109 119 100 112
44 50 82 82
104 112 112
New York: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Fan-
tastic year! Wood-stove sales really took off this year. We are completely sold out of non2020 products. People seem to love the new ones. Wish some companies were farther along with the new product availability. Gas stoves have been strong all year long with inserts and fireplaces. Service work is off the scale. Never had so much work.”
Much Above Average
1 = COLDEST / 125 = WARMEST
Much Below Average
NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA
Much Above Average
For the three-month period of September – November, the heat was primarily in the Southeast, with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia all experiencing Much Above Average temperatures.
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020
| Business Climate | New York: (Hearth, Spas) “Interest-
ing that this year we have seen a spike in interest from the doomsday folks. They want to see wood stoves, pellet, and anything else that can keep them off the grid. On another note, we test marketed pellets in 20 lb. bags, and they were well-received by many of our female buyers in particular. “Have been burning the BioBricks in our store; they burn quite well, but they have yet to get a stronghold in our market. We’re wondering if any other hearth retailers are selling them successfully. Brought in some accessories for Christmas shoppers, but with low expectations. Hard to compete with the convenience of online shopping – at home – in your PJs – while watching TV – eating popcorn, and cuddling the dog. Ya know? Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a prosperous New Year to all our fellow brick-and-mortar supa-stars!” Pennsylvania: (Hearth) “In addition to
new sales, a lot of parts sales and service work.”
For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflect the temperature ranking for the period since records began in 1895.
STATEWIDE AVERAGE PRECIPITATION RANKS NOVEMBER 2019 89
47 55 72
59 44 23 25
107 58 59 54
1 = DRIEST / 125 = WETTEST
Much Below Average
NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA
Much Above Average
In November, the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin set a new Record Wettest period.
Pennsylvania: (Patio, Spas) “Sales are
great. We also sell Christmas products and that is up 30%. Having a good year here in the Northeast.” SOUTH
Arkansas: (Hearth) “Pretty decent
hearth retail month, but still behind YTD from 2018 due to a slow summer. Wood is king now. Weather is delaying installs but we will get them in ASAP.” Florida: (Hearth, BBQ) “This last quar-
ter has been sluggish; the Thanksgiving holiday helped but that was the last two weeks. December is looking better already. Maybe consumers were holding off their purchases until after Thanksgiving. I’m hoping the trend continues. Buy local.” Kentucky: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “No-
vember 2019 sales were steady with our fall fireplace season starting in November instead of October this year.” Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Terrible year
and month so far. The Internet is getting a lot of it.”
94 | JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
The Consumer Confidence Index decreased in November, following a slight decline in October. The Index now stands at 125.5 (1985=100), down from 126.1 in October. “Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decline in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic growth in the final quarter of 2019 will remain weak. However, consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, and growth in early 2020 is likely to remain at around 2%. Overall, confidence levels are still high and should support solid spending during this holiday season.”
135.7 134.1 126.3 126.1 125.5
6 Mo. Ago
1985 = 100
A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth. The Index is based on a probability-design random sample conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company.
STOCK WATCH COMPANY – EXCHANGE
MARKET CAPITALIZATION ($000,000)
Standard & Poor’s 500 (a)
HNI Corporation (b)
Pool Corporation (c)
Restoration Hardware (b)
NOTES: (a) = Standard & Poor’s 500 is based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. It is considered one of the best representations of the U.S stock market, and a bellwether for the U.S economy. (b) = New York Stock Exchange. (c) = NASDAQ.
52-WEEK STOCK PRICE CHANGE
S&P HNI POOL RH AS OF 29-NOV-2019
Virginia: (Hearth) “November was off
Michigan: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “We
Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Everyone
Michigan: (Hearth) “Another banner
the charts for us! Almost more work than we could handle, which is much more than November 2018. Praying it keeps up through December.” wants something installed by Christmas. It’s December 4. Really?”
MIDWEST Michigan: (Spas) “Absolutely a horrible month for our retail sales across the board in all categories. Abnormally cold weather – major snowstorm – and General Motors UAW strike. It’s dark when you go to work. It’s dark when you leave work. Our sports team sucks. Nothing good at all to report in metro Detroit. Ho Ho Ho.”
are up overall around 5% over last year. Outdoor kitchens and fire pits died early due to weather, but fireplaces kicked up to make up for it.” year for hearth products. Back-to-back record sales. I hate to say it, but I believe a recession will be on us in the next one to two years. In Michigan we get hit about 18 to 24 months before the rest of the country, anytime the big three auto companies struggle we very quickly see sales drop.” Nebraska: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Although a mild fall helps with new construction, it has hurt retail sales of hearth products this year.”
Ohio: (Hearth, BBQ) “Staff upgrades are still resulting in increased sales! Last year was a record-setting November, and we came close to doubling that number this November! Already ahead of 2018’s YTD sales and things continue to look good; we’re hoping that since the cold weather hasn’t even set in here in Ohio, that we will close out the year strong and continue that trend into the first quarter of 2020! Really hoping lawmakers help us out with a hefty tax credit on wood stoves to pair with the new EPA standards coming down the pike.” Wisconsin: (Hearth) “The market is rapidly softening. Consumers are more cautious on big ticket items.”
(Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Weather was a contributing factor for Wisconsin:
www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 95
| Business Climate | our sales this year – in both November and YTD.” Wisconsin: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ )
“Unbelievable month. Busiest in 30 years. Can’t believe in the amount of new construction. Wow. Still booked out two months. Not slowing down.” Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ ) “We are
in a transition time. We are retiring and yet still functioning as a business until the new owners are completely in position. So some sales are going to them, the remaining to us. Makes our bottom line look down at this time. But really it is not.” WEST California: (Hearth, BBQ, Spas) “Great
year so far, up from last year, and does not
seem to be slowing down. Having trouble getting all the new 2020-compliant stoves in, in a timely manner, and the older models are all sold out.” California: (Hearth, Spas) “November
was a slow start for us due to warm weather conditions in California. Our priceless wet/ cold conditions didn’t hit until the second week in November but the month still was up in sales from last year. Hopefully, our winter will be extended this year.” Colorado: (BBQ) “Big Green Eggs
are doing well. Pellet grills are on fire. Accessories are strong.” CANADA British Columbia: (Hearth) “This year’s
sales pattern has been strange, in that clients are not waiting until first frost to
research/buy hearth products. Sales and installations of hearth products have been very steady, with a lead time of up to three months from deposit to installation due to high volume.” British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ)
“Hearth sales are consistent with wood ahead of gas. While we haven’t hit a solid year for pellet units, some gas manufacturers frustrate us because they don’t include propane adaptors with their units – and propane is very important.” Ontario: (Hearth) “We are predominantly
RNC which in the GTA area of Ontario is experiencing a major slow down.” Ontario: (BBQ) “We have been very fortu-
nate this year. Sales were strong. Our website sales have seen significant growth.”
MARKETPLACE IMPORTANT POSITION AVAILABLE! Maine, the way life should be… We are located just 12 miles from stunning Acadia National Park. Come and enjoy nature’s beauty - mountains, lakes, ocean coastline, yet with small city benefits including great food, the arts and a wide variety of community activities. Four seasons with long winters creates a strong hearth market. Due to a recent expansion, northern Maine’s largest hearth dealer has an opening for an operations manager to oversee three retail locations, and a full installation and service department of approximately 20 employees total. Ideal candidate would have a strong background in the hearth industry, with a superior knowledge of sales as well as the installation and repair of gas, wood, and pellet appliances.
Keep up-to-date on the latest news, trends, data, and events with the leading industry source!
SUBSCRIBE ONLINE For Print and Digital Editions!
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• Experience with residential and commercial contractors and architects a plus. • Very competitive compensation package for the right individual. Please send a letter of interest and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this opportunity to live and work in the spectacular state of Maine.
AD INDEX Advertiser
This ad index is an additional service provided by Hearth & Home to its advertisers. Hearth & Home assumes no liability for any incorrect information.
Apricity / Agio - USA
Blaze Outdoor Products
Bull Outdoor Products
Dansons Group / Louisiana Grills
Ever Green Home & Hearth
Glen Dimplex Americas
Hearth & Home Technologies
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
IMC – Las Vegas
8, 9, 57, 61, 67
+491522 26 44 162
Sunset West USA
Telescope Casual Furniture
Twin Star/Classic Flame
Vectis / Weber Knapp
www.vestaawards.com THE VOICE OF THE HEARTH, BARBECUE AND PATIO INDUSTRIES
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news, trends, data, and events WITH THE LEADING INDUSTRY SOURCE!
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www.hearthandhome.com | JANUARY 2020 | 97
| Parting Shot |
ire Roll is a curling sheet of 3/16-inch-thick stainless steel fitted with a 300,000 Btu gas burner, in this case for propane. “Enclosing the flame with an open wave of metal, the shape is designed to push the warm air out toward you,” says Elena Colombo, artist and president of Fire Features. Operated with a manual pilot, or electronic ignition system, the sculptural wave is 7 ft. long by 20 inches high. It can be customized in size, and comes in five finishes – mild steel, Cor-Ten steel, stainless steel, copper, or bronze. It can be further customized by adding a metal, stone, or concrete base. This piece was done for the Buttercup Design Group, and a private client on Shelter Island. Ed. Note: We have been publishing the wonderful work of artist Elena Colombo for about two decades now, and are always astonished at what she does with metal and fire. Do yourself a favor and take a look at the volume of work she has produced since the turn of the century – www.firefeatures.com Fire Features, a division of Colombo Construction Corp., 252 W 30th St. 6A, New York, NY 10001; (212) 234-5069.
Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience JANUARY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com
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The voice of the Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio industries. Hearth & Home is a trade journal serving the hearth, barbecue and patio furnishings...
Published on Jan 8, 2020
The voice of the Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio industries. Hearth & Home is a trade journal serving the hearth, barbecue and patio furnishings...