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THE VOICE OF THE HEARTH, BARBECUE AND PATIO INDUSTRIES

JULY 2020 ®

Despite the Pandemic

finding a way to sell gas products


PURELY OUTDOOR

theMART, Chicago | CasualMarket.com | #casualmarket

Kingsley Bate


| CONTENTS | FEATURES

50

Inspiration Is Everywhere 10 It could be found at a trade show in Milan,

the fresh colors on a new car, on a runway in Paris, or in a Netflix movie – it could even be from the feathers of a peacock.

Despite the Pandemic 32 Manufacturers and dealers are showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way to sell gas products.

The Electrification of Comfort 42  That’s the goal of Glen Dimplex chief executive Robert Bartucci, whose portfolio also includes wood-burning products.

A Mirror of 2008! 50  Some retailers are thriving, not just surviving, during the COVID-19 pandemic; tired of using an old grill, homeowners are buying new grills, pizza ovens, furniture, and other outdoor products.

BBQ Demos, Classes and Events 56 What is their place in a post-corona world? The British Are Here 62 At the recent HPBExpo in New Orleans, a number of British companies were displaying for the first time. What follows are snapshots of each company.

Grilling Accessories 66 They’re the cherry on top of a grill sale.

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62 32


DEPARTMENTS

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22

Perspective New Products

74 Business Climate

22

78 Stock Watch 80 Classifieds 80

Ad Index

Who Reads Hearth & Home?

81 82

Parting Shot

ON THE WEB News Steep Decline in Satisfaction Millennials and COVID-19 51% Decline in Spending on Food Away from Home

10 42

Recipes The Boss Burger from Pit Boss Grills Smoked Chicken Wings with Bourbon Hot Sauce From Napoleon Grills

On the Cover Elevation X 42 by Napoleon.

www.hearthandhome.com PHOTO COURTESY: ©2020 NAPOLEON. WWW.NAPOLEON.COM

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Publisher/Editor Richard Wright wright@villagewest.com Editorial only, send digital images to paquette@villagewest.com

Advertising Jackie Avignone, Director avignone@villagewest.com Melody Baird, Administrative Assistant baird@villagewest.com

Contributing Writers Lisa Readie Mayer, Tom Lassiter, Bill Sendelback, Larry Thomas Kathi Caldwell-Hopper

Creative Services Erica Paquette, Art Director paquette@villagewest.com April Brown, Graphic Designer brown@villagewest.com Katie Pelczar, Graphic Designer pelczar@villagewest.com Susan MacLeod, Proofreader

Circulation Sheila Kufert circulation@villagewest.com Karen Lange lange@villagewest.com

Office Judy McMahon, Accountant mcmahon@villagewest.com

Copyright Š 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. 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. 8 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.

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| Perspective |

Good News & More News

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uly has always been our Fabric issue. It was selected to coincide with the ICFA Preview Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. That show is really the first time patio retailers get to see next year’s offerings of both fabrics and frames (see new fabrics on pages 10 to 21). It wasn’t always that way. We’re old enough to remember when manufacturers found a four-day market in September to be sufficient. Then along came a new CEO at Brown Jordan, who had the brilliant idea of beating other manufacturers to the retailers’ wallets.

| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Inspiration IS EVERYWHERE It could be found at a trade show in Milan, the fresh colors on a new car, on a runway in Paris, or in a Netflix movie – it could even be from the feathers of a peacock.

By Larry Thomas

W

hether they are at the grocery store, enjoying a European vacation, or just about anywhere in between, fabric designers are always on call. True, they may ignore their inbox and shut off their business phones when they are not officially on the clock, but they can’t predict when the creative juices will be stimulated. It could be the unusual color palette on the shirt of a passerby, or a mural painted on the side of an aging building undergoing renovation, or a piece of furniture on a television show. When the juices start flowing, out comes a camera phone, tablet, or even an old-school sketch-pad. When they are designing a new line, it doesn’t take long for them to accumulate hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and sketches – all of which have to be reviewed, along with the usual sources of inspiration such as shelter magazines, design journals, industry trade shows, and social media sites such as Pinterest. Inspiration, in a word, is everywhere. Designers just have to be keen enough to recognize it. What follows is a brief look at what inspires some of today’s top outdoor fabric designers. They also discuss how they entered the fabric business, and highlight a few innovations we can expect to see in their product lineup for 2021 and beyond.

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www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 11

He lined up 18 18-wheelers (or so the story goes) and headed for Lake Las Vegas where he had struck a deal to exclusively place Brown Jordan furniture throughout the grounds of the Hyatt hotel (I think). Well, the stampede was on! The ICFA and its manufacturers decided to create a three-day show at the Merchandise Mart in July, and it existed until the coronavirus came to town. Will it exist once more when it’s safe to go out? Who knows? But the better question is – is it really necessary? That’s a question that always stimulates conflicting answers. Most patio manufacturers like it for it gives them a chance to work with their larger, most important customers at a leisurely pace (unlike the hectic atmosphere of Casual Market Chicago in September).

But this is a new day, with a new reluctance to gather in groups unless absolutely necessary. If the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) can handle 4,400 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees in four days, and the International Builders Show (IBS) can accommodate 95,000 attendees in three days, then it stands to reason that Casual Market Chicago could easily do so in four days. Just sayin’. Need Some Good News? Leave it to writer Lisa Readie Mayer to uncover sunshine on a cloudy day, or terrific sales in the time of COVIC-19. Case in point . . . “One of the neat things we’re seeing is families are reuniting around the grill,” says Lisa Gilliatt, owner of The Grill Works in Marion, Iowa. “People are home, they have time to cook, and they’re looking for ways to keep the family busy.” By May, Gilliatt’s grill sales were up 78% over last year, with growth across all grill categories, accessories, and fuels. “We’re selling grills so fast we can’t keep them in stock,” she says. “We would receive 45 grills on a Monday, and they were all presold. We would have another 95 grills coming in the following two weeks, and most of those were already presold.” For more good news, turn to page 50. Much More Than Electric Fireplaces If you believe that Glen Dimplex is just a manufacturer of electric fireplaces, you’re wrong, and not alone. It also manufactures wood-burning hearth products, other domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, and renewable energy sources. Want to learn more about Glen Dimplex? Turn to page 42 and meet Robert Bartucci, chief executive of Glen Dimplex Americas. He’s someone that you really should know. Be careful. Be smart.

Click here for a mobile

friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 7


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| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Inspiration IS EVERYWHERE It could be found at a trade show in Milan, the fresh colors on a new car, on a runway in Paris, or in a Netflix movie – it could even be from the feathers of a peacock.

By Larry Thomas

W

hether they are at the grocery store, enjoying a European vacation, or just about anywhere in between, fabric designers are always on call. True, they may ignore their inbox and shut off their business phones when they are not officially on the clock, but they can’t predict when the creative juices will be stimulated. It could be the unusual color palette on the shirt of a passerby, or a mural painted on the side of an aging building undergoing renovation, or a piece of furniture on a television show. When the juices start flowing, out comes a camera phone, tablet, or even an old-school sketch-pad. When they are designing a new line, it doesn’t take long for them to accumulate hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures and sketches – all of which have to be reviewed, along with the usual sources of inspiration such as shelter magazines, design journals, industry trade shows, and social media sites such as Pinterest. Inspiration, in a word, is everywhere. Designers just have to be keen enough to recognize it. What follows is a brief look at what inspires some of today’s top outdoor fabric designers. They also discuss how they entered the fabric business, and highlight a few innovations we can expect to see in their product lineup for 2021 and beyond.

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All colors on this page are fabrics from the designers.

Click here for a mobile

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 11 friendly reading experience


| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Gloria Tsocos

Design Director, Sattler Corp. (Outdura)

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ven when she’s technically offduty, Gloria Tsocos says her quest for design inspiration doesn’t take a holiday. Her camera phone is her constant companion because it’s impossible to predict when she will stumble across something that spurs a design idea, and she must have a record of it.

One very important way for Tsocos to better understand Outdura’s customers is by traveling with the company’s sales teams. While that may not be modus operandi for a lot of fabric designers, she thinks it’s critical to the success of her design team. “I like to listen to the sales presentations, talk to the customers directly, and evaluate their lines,” she said. “That’s the only way

“The customer always wants to see something new – whether or not they buy it. That’s how you start a conversation with them.”

“My inspiration comes from everywhere. It can come from something I see in the fashion industry, or it can come from something I see at the grocery store,” said Tsocos, the Design director at Sattler Corp., which produces the Outdura line of outdoor furniture fabric. “But when I see it, I take a picture of it.” Of course, she also visits trade shows such as Heimtextil, the giant textile confab held each January in Frankfurt, and the Casual Furniture Market, the outdoor furniture industry’s annual gathering in Chicago. But it’s her everyday interaction with people and their surroundings – and her ever-expanding camera roll – that keeps the creative juices flowing. “It’s all about understanding the customer. Once you’ve done that, you can pinpoint what they need,” she said. “The outdoor (furniture) channel is a very different customer, and you have to understand how the aesthetics are so different.”

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to hear first-hand what people are saying about your product and your designs. It’s a nice opportunity for me to see all of that.” Tsocos likes to follow up on those meetings with a visit to the manufacturer’s showroom, where the proverbial rubber meets the road. “It’s important to see what fabrics they actually picked up. Some of them really surprise me, but that’s part of what makes it so interesting and so worthwhile to be there,” said Tsocos. “Sometimes, I’ll just step back and say, ‘Wow, I would never have thought to use it like that.’” But she learned long ago not to get offended when that happens, and she takes a very pragmatic approach today once a line is in production. “As long as it runs looms, I’m for it,” she quipped. Although she has overseen outdoor furniture fabric design for Outdura

since 2015, the bulk of her career has been spent designing fabrics for various mills and jobbers that serve the contract, OEM, and custom fabric markets. Immediately prior to joining Outdura, she developed custom fabrics for hospitality customers at New Yorkbased Cowtan & Tout, and also had a two-year stint as an independent Sales representative. Tsocos also has worked as a designer in the contract segment at Wearbest SilTex and spent five years as a professor at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where she earlier earned degrees in textile technology and marketing. Earlier in her career, she was a designer at Victor Mills and Arc-Com Fabrics, and also spent time as a freelance designer, where she designed fabric for the bedding and hospitality markets for clients such as Mastercraft, Hoffman Mills, and Momentum. One of her biggest challenges since she shifted her focus to outdoor furniture fabric has been understanding the scale of the pieces where her fabrics might be used, as well as the nuances of cutting and sewing outdoor fabric that differ significantly from most contract cloth. “In outdoor, you don’t want to go overboard with the details of the design,” she said. “In contract, they will just put a nice decorative jacquard on a big chair or a big sofa, but you can’t always do that in outdoor because it will be used in a much smaller space.” Tsocos also admits it can be challenging to constantly develop new designs that incorporate white, which currently is in “every single SKU” in the line and probably will be for her foreseeable future. “It’s going to get rain on it. It’s going to get dust on it. It’s going to get pollen on it, but it has to have white,” she said laughing. “But that’s a great tribute to the acrylics that we use. They’re so easy to clean.” She said it typically takes nine to 12 months to design an outdoor fabric line – from finding the right yarn, to


getting the perfect dye, picking the right coating, making samples, and creating marketing materials. And that’s a very condensed list of everything that has to be done. Those lengthy development times, combined with the long lead times needed by casual furniture manufacturers, mean that Tsocos and her team are now hip-deep into designing fabrics for the 2022 retail selling season. (To put that in perspective, the 2020 selling season just passed its peak, and retailers are scheduled to get their first look at manufacturers’ 2021 lines this summer and will be placing orders by fall.) “The customer always wants to see something new – whether or not they buy it. That’s how you start a conversation with them,” she explained. “You may not sell oodles and oodles (of the new fabric), but you have to have something new to show them.” Tsocos was hesitant to discuss specifics of the 2022 offerings since the line is still several weeks away from being finalized, but said customers are likely to see an extension of the “more modern design offerings” that her team has developed in recent years. For the 2021 season, pastels and soft colors are the rule, and some decorative jacquards with a small repeat are being added for good measure. Plus, a very successful collection from the 2020 lineup called Static is being enhanced and expanded. Once the lines for 2022 are wrapped up this fall, there’s only a short respite before plunging into the 2023 line, which means, “I have to come up with another great idea,” she quipped. Despite those frustrations – and the industry’s obsession with white – she says she thoroughly enjoys what she’s doing and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy the development part of it, and I enjoy the technical part of it,” Tsocos said. “We do all of our own designs. We don’t purchase any artwork. That allows us to be creative and have fun with it.”

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1. Ombre Smoke; 2. Confections Midnight; 3. Ombre Cobalt; 4. Chic Smoke; 5. Sequoia Coal; 6. Moonbeam Midnight.

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| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Monica Thornton

Director of Design, Phifer

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hen the coronavirus pandemic caused many of this year’s major trade shows to be canceled, and retail sales to fall precipitously, Monica Thornton and her design team saw an opportunity. Thornton, who is director of Design at Phifer, a key supplier of outdoor furniture fabric, said the near total shutdown of the economy has been an ideal time for tinkering with fabric designs and yarn constructions that may wind up in the company’s lineup for 2022, 2023, and beyond.

“We get inspiration from everywhere, and we normally attend various design and trade events, including Maison & Objet, the High Point Market, SPOGA, and the HD Expo, to observe product trends and get inspiration from many different industries,” she said. “In addition, we attend several professional color meetings where we discuss color trends that are forecast for the next few years.” But with many of those events canceled or postponed this year, she and her team have spent even more time on the Internet – perusing sites such as Pinterest, as well as those maintained by dozens of consumer

years as a Fabric designer and Trend manager at outdoor furniture resource Home Casual, and was design director at Twitchell Corp., a major outdoor and industrial fabric resource, for 11 years. “Outdoor fabrics have to be very strong and durable, so sometimes this can create more of a challenge,” said Thornton. “Phifer’s PVC products have a very specific sheen structure, and finding avenues to make PVC products different each season can be very challenging. We rely heavily on unique dobby and jacquard weaves, as well as bold color combinations, to set ourselves apart.”

and trade publications covering a wide variety of industries. “We’re not looking to just duplicate what someone else is doing. We want to come up with our own spin,” she said. “It’s important to figure out how it would work for us.” While Thornton’s current duties at Phifer also include oversight of window shade, marine fabric, and commercial flooring design, outdoor furniture has been in her portfolio for three decades and is very likely to remain there. Before joining Phifer seven years ago, she was Creative director at Plantation Patterns, a leading producer of outdoor cushions, pillows, umbrellas, and other accessories. Prior to that, she spent eight

PVC products are used primarily for sling seating and are sold under the Phifertex brand name. They feature PVC-coated polyester yarns that deliver a fabric that is flexible but has very little stretch, she explained, noting that PVC also makes the fabrics water resistant and quick drying. Outdoor cushion and pillow fabrics, which often are used for custom orders and designer sales, are sold under the GeoBella brand name. In addition to being water resistant and fade resistant, the fabric is recyclable, said Thornton. In a typical season, the company will have 350 to 400 fabrics in the line, including about 30 that are kept in stock

“Soft, contemporary design trends are continuing for this season as they provide a balance between nature and technology.”

That’s because many of Phifer’s retail customers were closed for an extended period, which resulted in an extended slowdown at the company’s principal factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “It has given us a lot more time to get prototypes through the factory and tested,” she said. “This is our wheelhouse. Our R&D department is fully staffed and working hard every day.” For competitive reasons, Thornton didn’t want to discuss many details of the projects her team has been working on, but there’s no question that the pandemic hasn’t shut down the creative juices that have been flowing throughout her 30-year career in the outdoor fabric segment.

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for quick shipment. A few of the in-stock selections have been in the line for more than a decade – an eternity in the outdoor or indoor furniture business. “Our customers always want to see what’s new, but they also want something with longevity,” she said. According to Thornton, it takes at least six months to develop each season’s fabric line, which means she and her team are already deep into the design process for the 2022 fabrics and are even thinking ahead to the 2023 season. She said the 2021 line has been wellreceived by manufacturers, and they’re confident retailers will have a similar reaction when they see the products at upcoming Casual Market Chicago. For the 2021 season, she said the company is unveiling a new yarn coating that gives its PVC fabrics a velvet-like feel and a matte sheen – doing away with the notion that PVC fabrics must have a stiff feel to be durable. “Soft, contemporary design trends are continuing for this season as they provide a balance between nature and technology, but we’re also seeing a hint of traditional design with a bit of a vintage feel,” Thornton said. In addition, she said the recent uptick in demand for wicker and rattan products “provide a fresh and exciting way to mix modern and traditional outdoor fabric styles” and ref lect a continuation of the blending of indoor and outdoor furniture styles. Another sign of the influence of indoor design is the recent surge in popularity of navy in the color palette. She said blue has been a staple in the lineup for years, but darker blues such as navy have grown in popularity more recently, especially when they’re used in pillows and accent pieces. “This season’s color palette has real purpose and emotion, and appeals to a very diverse consumer market,” she explained. “We are using multicolored and vibrant fabrics that are specific and special when used with a simple furniture frame. We also are using very soft and ethereal hues that layer in well and are cozy, restful, and peaceful.”

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1. Phifertex – Dupioni Chile Ice Blue; 2. GeoBella – Passages Lagoon; 3. Phifertex – Dupioni Aquamarine; 4. Phifertex – Cole Stripe Ice Blue; 5. GeoBella – Venetto Lagoon; 6. Phifertex – Gannon Revive.

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| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Greg Voorhis

Executive Design Director, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics

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or Greg Voorhis, design is all about collaboration. Good design, he says, is not dependent upon the talents of any single designer or one person’s ability to navigate complex design software better than anyone else. That’s why he’s constantly communicating with team members who are based in France, China, and throughout the Carolinas, which is his home base. “The design team is the company,” Voorhis said. “It includes R&D. It includes Sales. It includes Marketing. It includes Planning. We all come together and coordinate our efforts. As a company, Glen Raven is all about collaboration.” He says the emphasis on collaboration is one of the keys to keeping Glen Raven’s well-known Sunbrella performance fabric in a leadership position in the casual furniture industry. Sunbrella, he noted, was focused exclusively on the outdoor furniture segment for many years, but more recently has expanded into indoor furniture as the demand for performance fabrics has skyrocketed. “It has become a fabric that can go just about anywhere,” Voorhis said. “There’s a big segment of the line that crosses over (for indoor and outdoor use), but some things are designed specifically for people who want to use them outdoors. It all comes down to personal taste.” Cleanability and ease of maintenance – a staple of Sunbrella’s success in the outdoor market – has translated well to the indoor market, and has been an especially effective sales tool as consumer demand for custom upholstery has reached new heights. Plus, manufacturers of outdoor furniture increasingly are incorporating indoor furniture designs into their collections, further blurring the lines between the two segments. “For us, the design process for indoor and outdoor is all the same,” he said. “There are no constraints on the type of

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yarn. We can do things with technology that makes just about any indoor fabric look like an outdoor fabric.” Voorhis, who has worked for Glen Raven for 23 years, was a budding artist and painter while growing up – he and a few classmates staged their own art shows in high school – but moved into the world of fabric design shortly after completing a degree in visual arts from Lander University in South Carolina. Today, his artwork is largely confined to regular painting and drawing sessions with his two children, but he has no

he explained. “When all of these things are mixed together, you can begin to see some sort of commonality.” Trends in the art world, according to Voorhis, are often indicative of themes that might not be in widespread use for another two or three years, but it’s still important to identify them as the design team peers into the future. “It’s a constant process,” he said. “We’re constantly working on fabrics for various collections since it takes a good six to eight months to develop a new collection from start to finish.”

“We’re looking to be influenced by our customers, but we also want to influence them, in turn. It’s a bit of a cyclical process.”

regrets about his career path and enjoys the daily challenges it brings. “Now, I only paint walls and molding,” he quipped. But the world of art still plays a major role in his work by providing some of the inspiration for the fabric designs he and his team develop. Voorhis says he, and about a half-dozen other team members, regularly travel the world – often with Sales or R&D people – looking for design trends and translating them into the needs of Glen Raven’s customers. “Inspiration comes from everywhere. It’s what you’re seeing in fashion. It could be something you see on a Paris or New York runway. It could be something you see on a TV program,”

But the bottom line, of course, is fulfilling the needs of his customers, which is yet another reason that collaboration is so critical. He says it is not unusual for his team to develop an exclusive fabric for a specific customer – a process that usually takes three months for a single design. “We’re looking to be influenced by our customers, but we also want to influence them, in turn. It’s a bit of a cyclical process,” he said. “We have to partner with our customers to bring the best possible new product to them.” Outdoor furniture manufacturers will have Sunbrella’s 2021 line on display for their retail customers in September at Casual Market Chicago. That means


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Voorhis and his team already are waist deep in designing the company’s 2022 line, which it will begin showing to manufacturers during the fourth quarter of this year. “That’s why we’re so closely tied with Sales and R&D,” he said. “They will learn something and talk to us about it. Then we come together and deliver the product.” For 2021, Sunbrella’s major rollout is called the Balance Collection, which aims for the perfect blend – a balance, if you will, – of color and texture. “We’ve used eclectic color combinations to catch the eye, but they’re combined with neutral base colors such as clays, greens, and hazy blues,” Voorhis explained. “Blue

is out there in the marketplace a lot, but an important aspect of this new line is the layering of colors and the combination of colors.” The Surround fabrics, for example, feature a contemporary block stripe with alternating color pops, while the Infused group is dominated by a small scale, pixelated diamond that mimics a cross-stitched effect. The Bliss group, on the other hand, features a bi-colored, twisted yarn that is fused with solid color. That combination delivers a textural grid effect and is available in 10 colorways. In addition, the Nurture group delivers a more elegant texture with its loopy boucle yarn. It is available in 10

colorways dominated by comforting neutral and nature-inspired solids. There’s also the Calm group, which features a tropical design with the look of a hand-drawn pattern, and Centered, a modern bar stripe with blurred edges that convey softness on an otherwise rigid layout. Voorhis said all of the new fabrics feature a luxurious hand and are resistant to fading and the degrading effects of sunlight. They also are easy to maintain with bleach-based cleaners. 1. Balance – Create Haze; 2. Balance – Surround Dusk; 3. Balance – Embrace Indigo; 4. Balance – Nurture Indigo; 5. Balance – Renew Earthen; 6. Balance – Calm Graphite.

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| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Sarah Keelen

Design Director, Outdoor & Performance Fabrics, Bella-Dura Home

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hen Sarah Keelen was a child she always admired the hand-woven placemats, napkins, and tablecloths made by her great-grandparents, Walter and Esther Lansinger – two teachers who operated a weaving business on the side. After they died, when she was in the second grade, her family inherited “many boxes of yarn” and two wooden looms built by her grandfather. According to family legend, Walter Lansinger built the looms from discarded maple furniture and had the designs patented. Keelen, who is now Design director for Outdoor and Performance Fabrics at Bella-Dura, said the looms and the boxes of yarn gathered dust during the rest of her childhood. But that changed

“The goal is to create performance indoor/outdoor fabrics that look and feel like the most desirable indoor fabrics since both categories follow the same trends.”

rather suddenly after she enrolled in a weaving class during her final semester at Syracuse University, where she was pursuing a degree in psychology. “I decided to take that class to learn how to use the looms – and I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I soon enrolled at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City) and have been designing woven textiles ever since.” Walter Lansinger’s looms aren’t in use today, but she still regularly uses placemats and napkins made by her

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great-grandparents. “I love to imagine my great-grandparents’ hands weaving them, and I find their design choices endlessly inspiring,” Keelen said. So inspiring, in fact, that her design team’s first Bella-Dura Home line included a texture based on one especially colorful placemat. The pattern was appropriately named Lansinger, and it ended up being the top selling pattern in the line. Keelen said her design inspiration also comes from a variety of other sources – museums, trade shows, shelter magazines, and other designers she follows on Instagram. She also takes lots of photos on her camera phone,

but prefers old-fashioned tear sheets to sketch out design ideas. When her design team is ready to start work on a new collection, she will buy dozens of magazines, review hundreds of photos she has taken, gather catalog clippings, and assemble dozens of fabric and yarn swatches. The group then analyzes all the material to look for trends and develops a series of “trend boards” that are hung in the design studio alongside several color and pattern inspiration boards. From there, she makes hand-drawn sketches of new ideas – the best ones are then moved to Photoshop – and begins to look for artwork to translate into new fabrics.


“I don’t think the design ‘switch’ is ever really turned off,” she said. “I absorb ideas like a sponge just going about my daily life.” Keelen said every fabric she designs for Bella-Dura can be used indoors or outdoors; she noted there is little distinction today between the two categories. That’s because consumers increasingly are seeking performance fabrics for indoor upholstery pieces, leading to a blending of the two. “Outdoor fabric used to be much more saturated in color, had bolder patterns, less weave interest, and textural yarns,” she said. “But now the goal is to create performance indoor/ outdoor fabrics that look and feel like the most desirable indoor fabrics since both categories follow the same trends.” The biggest challenge with outdoor fabrics, she said, is finding a fiber that’s suitable for outdoor use. While almost any synthetic or natural fiber can be woven for an indoor fabric, that’s not the case with outdoor. “It has been very exciting to work with yarn suppliers in recent years to create some beautiful new novelty yarns that give outdoor fabric a look and feel unique to the performance industry,” said Keelen. “Interesting textures continue to be the most important design category and I’m always looking for new ways to create them, either with a dynamic novelty yarn, unique weave structure, or new color combinations.” She said Bella-Dura’s 2021 line features a number of “linen-inspired” textures, stripes and plaids that are soft and natural looking, and deliver a look that is “casual and chic at the same time.” In addition, the lineup includes several fabrics with geometric patterns with a lot of texture and some sophisticated botanicals. “The palette overall is very residential and livable,” she added. “There is a wide range of cool and warm neutrals, denim, navy, and soft blues and greens. We also are showing some pops of deep teal and bringing in some warm soft red and coral.”

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1. Shady Grove – Pewter; 2. Auden – Guava; 3. Breaking Plaid – Ocean; 4. Kepler – Onyx; 5.Lansinger – Fiesta; 6. Selwyn – Poseidon.

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 19


| Outdoor Fabric Designers |

Jeff Jimison

U.S. Sales Manager, Tempotest USA

T

his year has been a trying time for everyone in the outdoor furniture business, but the coronavirus pandemic has been especially tough on Tempotest, a key outdoor fabric supplier. The company, part of the Parà Group, is based in Northern Italy, one of the hardest-hit regions in the world for coronavirus infections. Its factories, design studios, and administrative functions were shut down for more than two months as the entire country was placed on extreme lockdown.

“The soft, relaxed look that is so popular inside the home is now moving outside.” Despite those setbacks, not to mention the cratering of the U.S. economy, the company’s U.S. distribution center in Carrollton, Texas, is gearing up for the 2021 selling season – albeit in uncharted waters.

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1. Ottomano Onyx Sand; 2. Arco Latte; 3. Sorridere Autumn; 4. Finestra Pumpkin Spice; 5. Grano Aruba; 6. Finstra Baltic

20 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


Jeff Jimison, Tempotest’s U.S. Sales manager, says the company is forging ahead with emphasis on fabric constructions such as velvets, and a new yarn called Long Staple that delivers the look and feel of linen. “Velvet is one trend that is emerging, but it’s not the red velvet of the Gilded Age,” he said. “Our new velvets have wider color possibilities with hues of teal, blue, mauve, and turquoise, and it’s a perfect blend of luxury and comfort.” As a result, Jimison said weaves also will be quite thick and have more texture than has been seen in recent years. Those thicker weaves also are prevalent in fabrics utilizing the new Long Staple yarn, which not only produces the feel of linen, but also gives the fabric a threedimensional look, he explained. “The soft, relaxed look that is so popular inside the home is now moving

outside,” said Jimison. “The new yarn is designed to mimic the look and feel of natural linen.” On the design front, he believes small-scale geometrics and their contrasting color combinations “will emerge stronger than ever this year,” as will floral designs. However, he noted that this season’s florals are not conservative motifs such as romantic flowers with pastel tones, but are large motifs integrated with abstract design. Although he believes the popularity of velvets means more interest in vibrant colors, Jimison said neutral colors remain stronger than ever. As a result, Tempotest has a strong showing of grays and blues in its new lineup, as well as more traditional neutrals such as oatmeal and wheat. In addition, the line includes several socalled “warm neutrals” with names such as sunset pink and biscuit beige.

“All types of coloring are very close to nature – to the tones of the roots of the interlaced fabrics,” Jimison said. “We anticipate that solids for body cloth will be our best sellers, as usual, while jacquards will primarily find their way onto pillows and accents.” He said he has been pleased that, since the Texas distribution center was opened in 2014, Tempotest’s brand recognition has grown significantly within the outdoor furniture industry. “Our name recognition is at the point where manufacturers are calling us to ask if they can take a look at what we have to offer,” he said. “We are able to give the specialty retailer a fabric that truly is special because of our Italian heritage and performance. Whether they realize it or not, specialty retailers desperately need to differentiate themselves from their competition, and we are here to help them.”

Handcrafted from recycled steel in one of America’s favorite ski towns, Breck Ironworks’ fire features come with a lifetime warranty and ship anywhere in the US. Options scaled to your clients’ project size & budget with our four models. SUMMIT | TREELINE TRAILHEAD | PORTABLE

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Contact Jason at 970.759.3103 or jason@breckironworks.com

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 21


| New Products |

Agio

The Avalon Dining Collection is made of Resysta, a strong material that is fade and splinter resistant. Resysta gives Avalon the warm, welcoming appeal of real wood, and will last for years. Phone: (800) 416-3511 Website: www.apricityoutdoor.com

NE W PRODUCTS

Forshaw

HiGold’s Geneva Collection has unique style and a sleek design. Available in pink or champagne and black combinations, various pieces are finished in aluminum and teak and offer dining and seating groups suited to transitional trends. Cushions are quick drying sling material. Phone: (800) 367-7429 Website: www.forshaws.com

Treasure Garden The Landscape Pro Slim electric fireplace has up and down lighting with an edge-to-edge viewing area, active ember bed, driftwood logs and Wi-Fi controls, as well as a 5,000 Btu heater, remote and wireless control and a choice of two linear sizes.

The Manhattan in plush gray is a dual level geometric design outdoor rug constructed of 100% polypropylene. The rug is made in Belgium of multi-ply cabled heat-set yarns. Available in two popular sizes, the rug is easy to clean.

Phone: (877) 246-9353 Website: www.modernflames.com

Phone: (626) 814-0168 Website: www.treasuregarden.com

Modern Flames

22 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


Padma’s Plantation

The E32 H is a single-sided, trimless electric fireplace. Features are Evoflame technology for a flame effect and a fireplace width of 32 inches, allowing the unit to fit in a variety of spaces with no venting needed. The realistic Woodland Log Set offers a contemporary and eco-friendly twist.

Creating the allure of a Parisian sidewalk café, the French Bistro Chairs and Table are charming and colorful. The frames are made of strong bent rattan and the table top, chair seats and back are hand-woven, all-weather weave, perfect for any outdoor area.

Phone: (781) 324-8383 Website: www.europeanhome.com

Phone: (800) 753-9190 Website: www.padmasplantation.com

European Home

Phifer

OW Lee

The Portable is scaled for smaller outdoor space use by RVers, boaters and campers. Features include a 12-inch diameter fire pit base, a removable log set and heat of up to 60,000 Btus.

Six new fabrics have been added to the SheerWeave 5000 line, including “Feather” in a feathered jacquard pattern in four neutral colors, and two new color releases in “Jute”, with a subtle texture. Offering Microban antimicrobial protection, SheerWeave 5000 can be fabricated into a variety of interior and exterior shading systems.

Phone: (970) 759-3103 Website: www.breckironworks.com

Phone: (800) 633-5955 Website: www.phifer.com

Phone: (800) 776-9533 Website: www.owlee.com

Breck Ironworks

The transitional style of the Avana Collection was crafted with simplicity and style. The chair has modern, swooping arms that balance the design of the back. Deep seating has Plush Comfort cushions and Sytex seat support. The collection includes dining, balcony, deep seating and lounge pieces.

Click here for a mobile

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 23 friendly reading experience


| New Products |

Camp Chef Ashley Furniture Industries

The Preston Bay Dining Set features the popular farmhouse design and color combination for enjoyment outdoors. The cushioned aluminum set offers seat cushions made of Nuvella high performance fabric. Homeowners can choose from side chairs or arm chairs. Phone: (608) 863-1970 Website: www.ashleyfurniture.com

Outdoor chefs can smoke, bake, roast, braise, barbecue or sear foods with the Woodwind Wi-Fi Pellet Grill. Change the temperature, set timers, and receive notifications when meat reaches the desired temperature with a Wi-Fi enabled controller. The Ash Kickin’ Cleanout makes clean-up easy. Phone: (800) 650-2433 Website: www.campchef.com

Lovinflame

The Mist Glass Candle enhances the aesthetics of fire with safety in mind. The candle has a stainless-steel wick and water soluble, non-toxic fuel. Should the candle accidentally tip over, the flames are contained and will not spread. Phone: (800) 474-5587 Website: www.lovinflame.com

Pindler

Pendleton II by Sunbrella draws inspiration from the American West. The collection also pays homage to America’s National Parks with new patterns in National Park Stripes. Phone: (800) 669-6002 Website: www.pindler.com

Amantii Electric Fireplaces

The Tru-View Slim fireplace is sophisticated, modern and suited for installations where the wall depth is limited. The fireplace is just under four inches deep. Phone: (877) 850-9458 Website: www.amantii.com

24 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


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REAL-WOOD LOOK UNCOMPROMISING PERFORMANCE Discover the performance and power of Resysta® Apricity’s elevated designs feature the latest materials, including one that’s sure to revolutionize the world of outdoor – Resysta. Crafted with all the warmth, richness and beauty of real wood, Resysta is fade and water-resistant, unlike other synthetic wood products. Sure to boost to your bottom line, Resysta gives you an entirely new lineup of product offerings that are sure to impress.

EXCLUSIVELY DESIGNED FOR

TABLETOPS

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Learn more about adding Resysta to your showroom today at apricityoutdoor.com


| New Products |

Valor Fireplaces / Miles Industries

The L3 linear gas fireplace is large, measuring 66¼ inches, with birch log and stacked stone liner media options. The efficient design utilizes a standard 6 ⁵⁄₈inch ventilation system for simple installation. Phone: (800) 468-2567 Website: www.valorfireplaces.com

Glen Dimplex Americas Reaching maximum heat in three seconds, the DSH Series Indoor/ Outdoor Infrared Heater has a one-, two- and three-hour time delay, three temperature settings, corrosion resistant anodized aluminum and stainless steel, durability in a variety of climates, remote control and easy installation. Phone: (888) 346-7539 Website: www.dimplex.com

Bear Mountain

Four new Craft Blend wood pellets bring smoky flavor to grilled foods. The products include the Gourmet BBQ Blend offering smoky and sweet flavor; Bold BBQ Blend for a smoky, earthy taste; the smooth smoke taste of Savory BBQ Blend and Sweet BBQ Blend for a mix of fruitwood flavors. Phone: (800) 544-3834 Website: www.bearmountainbbq.com

Mendota

Poly-Wood

The EDGE Deep Seating Sectional has all-weather cushioning with a sleek contemporary design. Homeowners can coordinate with other EDGE Collection pieces to create a modern outdoor oasis. Made of Polywood lumber, pieces will not splinter, crack, chip, peel or rot.

Boasting a large, panoramic view, the ML60 linear gas fireplace has optional LED lighting to inject instant energy into gatherings, or to soothe the soul on a quiet night in – with or without the flames. Choose the classic Timberline log fire, or a contemporary aesthetic with elements like natural river rock, shimmering glass and tumbled marble. An optional Power Vent is available.

Phone: (773) 615-6622 Website: www.polywood.com

Phone: (800) 553-5422 Website: www.mendotahearth.com

26 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


Phifertex is the only outdoor fabric infused with exclusive MicrobanÂŽ Antimicrobial Technology - the leading brand of continuous product protection against mold, mildew and bacteria growth.


| New Products |

Empire Comfort Systems

Plaza Luxury Fireplaces offer endless installation capabilities. With innovative heat redistribution, a television, artwork, or mantel that can be safely installed as low as 8 inches above the fireplace. Power vent technology allows greater vent run lengths and the ability to vent down below the fireplace. Phone: (800) 851-3153 Website: www.plazafireplace.com

Sunset West

With a natural wood grain texture, the Faux Bois Coffee Table mimics natural materials with a reinforced fiber concrete that withstands the elements. Finished in bone white, the table can be used indoors or outside and is made of resilient glass fiber reinforced concrete.

Kingsley Bate

Also available in weathered gray, with a factory-applied finish, the Tuscany Collection now has a Rustic option without a finish and showcases the natural color and beauty of the distressed teak. It is available on all Tuscany pieces. Phone: (703) 361-7000 Website: www.kingsleybate.com

Phone: (760) 599-1021 Website: www.sunsetwestusa.com

Elaine Smith Sanibel doors and drawers exude craftsmanship and durability. Doors and drawer fronts are made of HDPE. Choose from such styles as teak doors with Shaker-inspired, routed center panels. Cabinet boxes are built to order from waterproof composite material.

Designed with Sunbrella yarns, the Tropical Bee Spring pillow has an exquisite jacquard fabric woven in multi colors. Mix it up and add square and lumbar-shaped pillows, both with tailored, concealed zippers.

Phone: (866) 708-7601 Website: www.weatherstrong.com

Phone: (561) 863-3333 Website: www.elainesmith.com

WeatherStrong Cabinetry

28 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


You spoke, we listened. primogrills.com/launch


You bring COMFORT HOME. THANK YOU.

Now more than ever, the family is the focal point of living. And the fireplace is the focal point of the home. Thank you for your tenacity to create those sanctuaries of peace and protection. Because of you, the future is bright.


| Gas Products |

DESPITE THE

PANDEMIC Manufacturers and dealers are showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way to sell gas products. By Bill Sendelback

T

he COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a massive curve ball at the world, and it certainly has not spared the hearth products industry. But even with many hearth product dealers temporarily (we hope) shut down, manufacturers of gas hearth products are selling and shipping a surprising number of gas products. Most are realistically optimistic about this year and the future, and most are concerned about the survival of each of their dealers, and are actively trying to assist them through this crisis. The majority of manufacturers report good and even excellent 2019 sales of gas hearth products. But, interestingly, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) manufacturers’ shipment numbers don’t reflect strong gas hearth product sales last year. Their numbers, including gas fireplaces, stoves, and inserts – but not gas logs – indicate that U.S. sales of these products were down almost 5%, and Canadian sales of gas hearth products were down almost 15%. One explanation is that not all manufacturers report their shipment numbers to the HPBA. Or is it possible that some manufacturers over-state their sales numbers? Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest concern for the gas hearth products industry is the growing number of municipalities and areas that either have or are trying to ban natural gas in residential new construction.

32 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

“For many environmentalists, greenhouse gases are a bigger concern than the COVID-19 crisis,” according to John Crouch, the HPBA’s director of Public Affairs, “and some cities such as Sacramento, California, are even proposing incentives to replace gas appliances in existing homes. The 20- and 30-year-olds are focused on the issue of greenhouse gases. That threat has not disappeared during the COVID-19 crisis. Like the threat to wood stoves decades ago, this threat will appear in surprising places. “Hearth product dealers need to speak up in favor of natural gas,” Crouch says. “Our dealers have a real stake in this, and it could negatively affect their business. Dealers need to keep the HPBA apprised of what is going on in their area. The good news is that gas utilities have awakened to this threat and are beginning to organize against it.” Manufacturers of Gas Products Sales of gas hearth products last year were “phenomenal” for Regency Fireplace Products, according to Glen Spinelli, president. “Sales were steady for fireplace inserts, and we saw a nice increase in gas fireplace sales, with sales of our newer City Series gas fireplaces way up. “Nobody knows what will happen this year with the COVID-19 crisis, but so far sales are pretty good. Orders are steady, and we have plenty of early-buy orders although they are somewhat fewer

than in 2019.” But Spinelli is wondering whether the COVID-19 crisis will bring delays from suppliers of needed parts for manufacturing. Spinelli is looking at Regency’s market in Australia as perhaps an indicator of what may occur this year in North America. “Australia, too, has COVID-19 problems,” he says. “The country is counter-seasonal to North America, but even with their COVID-19, our business in Australia this year has picked up tremendously.”


Regency is surveying its dealers daily to see how they are coping. “Seventy percent are still operating, even if they are only doing quotes and installations,” he says. Spinelli sees a trend toward more expensive gas fireplaces, especially in its strong-selling, linear, ducted City Series. “The consumer today has so many more options,” he says. New models in the City Series include the CB60E San Francisco Bay fireplace, a 60-inch companion to the 40- and 72-inch sizes. The CV60E New

York View is a new flush-mount model. Regency’s linear City Series is now available with crystal ember beds or optional logs placed on those crystals. “We’ve added a new 30,000 sq. ft. New Innovation Center research and development facility.” Sales of gas hearth products last year were “very regional” for Empire Comfort Systems, according to Nick Bauer, president. “Sales did well above the Mason-Dixon line. It was cold in the Northwest, but the South never got

cold.” Direct-vent gas fireplaces sold well for Empire Comfort, along with fireplace inserts, says Bauer. “With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have no idea how sales will go this year. We’re planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Through the first quarter our orders were up, with more early-buy orders CB60E San Francisco Bay from Regency Fireplace Products’ City Series.

Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020

| 33


| Gas Products |

TruFlame 40-inch direct vent indoor/outdoor see-through fireplace from Empire Comfort Systems.

than we had last year at this time, even though our dealers say their sales are off an average of 20%. The orders we have received perhaps were for products sold prior to the pandemic.” Bauer sees linear styling now as an established market that the company is addressing. “We’re more into the custom home market, so we’re selling more large, high-end, gas fireplaces in the $8,000 to $10,000 retail price range. To meet the demand, we’ve introduced 50-, 55-, and even 72-inch gas fireplaces.” But Empire Comfort also is introducing smaller direct-vent linear fireplaces in 32- and 42-inch sizes. “These are more basic, not so fancy models at lower prices, from $2,000 to $3,000,” says Bauer. “Our Outdoor Room business is exploding. People now are afraid to travel, so they’re staying home and putting money into their backyards.” Along with Empire Comfort’s line of outdoor gas fireplaces, the company has introduced a higher-end, 40inch see-through, indoor/outdoor model. European Home saw its 2019 sales of gas hearth products do “very well,” says Chris Weiner, Sales manager. “It was a solid year with our direct-vent and vent-free models selling well, along with an uptick in sales of our outdoor gas fireplaces.” Weiner says this year sales started well, too. “At mid-year we were still receiving orders and were shipping product. There still seems to be demand in homebuilding, and we’re hopeful that it will pick up more in the fall.” The good news, says Weiner, is that most European Home dealers are at least open to doing installations during the

34 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

pandemic. “But many are in survival mode, and we’re trying to help them survive,” he says. To help dealers, the company has hosted more than three dozen product training sessions by Zoom to help dealers have more successful sales efforts during these stay-at-home times. Efficiency in gas models is a “big trend” that Weiner sees in today’s marketplace. “Our dealers are hearing from consumers about their growing concerns regarding efficiency, so we’ve made that a focus.” While contemporary linear styling still is a strong trend, European Home is seeing customers leaning toward more traditional fireplaces featuring logs, rather than modern, glass ember beds.

Element4 Club Series from European Home.

“More and more customers today want big, robust log sets, making their fireplaces look more sophisticated and more highend.” And Weiner sees an “uptick” in sales of the company’s vent-free models “because of the ease of installation and the lower costs.” New from European Home is its Sky T M model by Element4, a vertical, see-through, gas fireplace that was a Gas Products finalist in the 2020 Vesta Awards program. Also a finalist in that category was the company’s Element4 Summum 140 T linear, see-through, gas fireplace. New, too, is European Home’s Cupido 50 and Cupido 70, slim, gas fireplaces by Element4; only eight inches deep to facilitate installation in small, tight spaces. European Home also has introduced a traditional, 40-inch outdoor gas fireplace offering a choice of linear or campfire burners. Hearthstone stoves had a “flat” 2019 sales year with its gas stove line. “We’re hearing a lot of pessimism about this year, but I think we’ll have a strong sales year,” says Dave Kuhfahl, president. “Dealers are now selling other products such as spas, hot tubs, and grills. We’ll have a rebound. Yes, we’ll have some casualties among our dealers, but most will make it through this.” Hearthstone is not introducing any new gas stoves this year. “We’ve been very focused on getting our wood stoves certified to the NSPS Step 2 standards,” he says.


Heat & Glo Foundation Series Bay Fireplace from Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT).

Kuhfahl sees a “strong desire” in the hearth market for standing pilots rather than IPI in gas hearth appliances. “That’s because of the simplicity of standing pilots. They are reliable and always work.” Sales of gas hearth products showed “strong growth” for Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT), particularly in gas fireplace inserts, says Julie Milum, vice president of Heat & Glo Brand Marketing. “It helped that last year we introduced and emphasized a new product line, but we saw good sales growth in all gas hearth product categories.” Like most manufacturers, Milum sees 2020 as a “really challenging sales year. We’re anticipating pent-up consumer demand, but it’s unpredictable as to when that will kick in, particularly in an election

year. Fortunately, our dealers seem to be finding ways to stay afloat. “Customers now have more product choices, but they continue to want more, and are always looking for what’s new,” she adds. While HHT sees a trend toward new finishes, such as antique brass, and mixed finishes and textures, this year the company is focused on expanding its Smart Home-type of connectivity, allowing customers more ways to easily interact with and control their hearth products by using their smart phones. Gas hearth products sales were up about 4% last year for Jøtul North America, according to Bret Watson, president. Gas models are becoming a larger part of Jøtul’s product mix, he says. They represented 52% of Jøtul’s sales in 2018, and 60% last

Jøtul GI 645 Astrid with matte black rectangle steel overlay.

year; so far this year, gas models are at 62% over Jøtul’s wood-burning appliance sales. The first quarter of 2020 was Jøtul’s best first quarter ever, “before sales slowed in the second quarter. We’re a build-toorder company, so we can quickly react to market changes.” Watson sees a trend in gas models to more transitional styling from Jøtul’s more traditional models. “We’ve moved to simpler, lighter, more transitional, castiron accents,” he says. Even with today’s trend toward IPI, Watson says some customers still want the simplicity of a standing pilot. New from Jøtul is its GI 645 gas fireplace insert that, along with Jøtul’s current 635 and 535 transitional models, results in two medium-sized and one large-sized insert in that line. “Last year’s sales were great,” says Ron Schinnerer, Sales and Marketing lead for Mendota Hearth / Johnson Gas. “We had tremendous sales growth, and so far this year we’re more optimistic than we were in April, but we all still have a ways to go.” Mendota is making a point of keeping “very good, immediate” communications with its dealers during the COVID-19 crisis. “We get an update every two weeks from each dealer. They all have individual needs, and there are a lot of different ideas on how they are surviving. Some have closed their doors until things with the COVID-19 virus improve. Dealers who have been successful so far seem to be able to pivot to new

FV48 with Birch HD Log Set from Mendota Hearth / Johnson Gas.

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 35


| Gas Products | positions or ideas to help them survive. We’re keeping our dealers close, showing them they can count on us to help make their lives easier.” A dealer sales aide introduced by Mendota is its “Picture It” Apple or Android app that allows dealers and their customers to design their fireplace installations online. “Homeowners virtually can see their fireplace in their own home,” says Schinnerer. In fireplace designs, Schinnerer has noticed a trend toward what he describes as a “mid-century transitional,” landscape-shaped fireplaces similar to the shape of today’s TV sets. In Mendota’s linear gas models, Schinnerer says opening heights are increasing, and there is a movement back to logs. New from Mendota are its ML54 gas fireplace, a linear model with an optional power vent, the FV48 FullView 48-inch landscape gas fireplace, and the ML60, a larger, linear gas fireplace with taller glass and optional arched fronts. Mendota also is updating its linear ML39 and ML47 models now with optional ember bed lighting. Montigo had a “good year” last year in its sales of gas hearth products, with sales up across the board, according to Jonathan Burke, president and CEO. “We were up by double-digits in the U.S., but we were flat in Canada where we expected disruption in our sales due to a change in distributors.

The DelRay from Montigo.

36 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Altitude X Series from Napoleon Fireplaces.

“We anticipate a pretty good 2020, but sales definitely were down through April,” he says. “Residential sales are a challenge with many showrooms not open, but our inquiries and quotes for commercial jobs are as numerous as ever. No one knows how long this crisis will last, but we’re hopeful that low interest rates and pent-up demand will stimulate new construction and remodels.” Linear styling still is “super strong” for Montigo, especially in the Southwest U.S. where sales of linear models have “taken off,” according to Burke. “We’re not seeing much return to traditional logs, but we are seeing more demand in urban areas for smaller fireplaces for today’s smaller homes.”

New from Montigo are its DelRay 36 and DelRay 42 linear gas fireplaces featuring shallow depth for smaller fireplace footprints. Montigo’s C View is a more custom gas fireplace featuring advanced controls and lighting. The company is also updating its older products. “We’re putting more focus on efficiency,” Burke adds. “Consumers are becoming more savvy about efficiency.” Napoleon Fireplaces had a “great” 2019 sales year with its gas hearth products, according to John Czerwonka, vice president of Hearth Sales. “Our gas fireplaces and gas fireplace inserts both showed sales growth, particularly in the mid- to higher-end price points. Our inserts enjoyed high doubledigit growth after introducing a new line to replace older models.” In the first half of 2020, Napoleon products were backordered from “strong” sales, with a five-day delay in shipping rather than the company’s normal 48-hour order turnaround. “While focused on employee safety during this COVID-19 crisis, we were operating at 80% capacity through the first half, but we were back to full operation by mid-June,” says Czerwonka. “We see light at the end of the tunnel. People are staying home, and many are making home improvements. The whole industry is down, but we see major sales growth in 18 months. It will be 2021 before the industry gets back to 2019 sales levels.” Sixty percent of Napoleon’s dealers are open for business, says Czerwonka, “but 85% of those are open only by appointment or for curbside product pickup.” Czerwonka stresses that, in this critical time, dealers need to strengthen their online presence


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| Gas Products | with a more professional website and to start promoting their stores. “Dealers have to put themselves out there to the consumer, also by using social media. Dealers who are doing this are in good shape.” Napoleon sees sales growth with its midand upper-priced products. While cleanfaced fireplaces are trending, Napoleon is seeing double-digit sales growth in its linear models. “Consumers want more options so they can tailor their fireplace to their décor and differentiate it from that of their neighbors,” he says. New from Napoleon, and showing strong sales growth for the company, has been its Elevation and Altitude Series of modern, clean-faced gas fireplaces featuring a double-burner with low flames in front and high flames in the rear, a variety of emberbed media options including logs, and six different trim packages. The company also plans to introduce three new gas fireplaces by the end of the year, good-better-best models aimed at new home construction. “We’re shooting to introduce four to six new products a year,” says Czerwonka. Gas hearth product sales at Pacific Energy Fireplace Products for 2019 were “about even” with 2018, especially the company’s Town & Country line. “But we were up 20% in 2018, so we feel pretty good about holding on to that gain,” says Cory Iversen, North American Sales manager. This year sales of the Town & Country brand are growing with a “good uptick” in sales of traditional models. Pacific Energy is seeing the COVID-19 crisis having some impact on its sales, “but it is not too severe yet. New construction seems to be continuing on,” says Iversen. “We’re seeing both ends of the spectrum with our dealers. Most seem to be holding their own, while some have shut down during the crisis, and several are seeing sales exceeding previous years. The ones who are determined to stay in business are finding ways to do just that.” New from Pacific Energy in its Pacific Energy brand is its Z25 in the Tofino line, a new, 25,000 Btu, smaller gas fireplace for smaller homes. It is also redesigning many of its models, e.g., expanding birch logs as an offering in the Town & Country products. RH Peterson Co has seen “steady” sales of its high-end American Fyre Designs outdoor gas fireplaces, says Bob Dischner,

38 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Real Fyre DVIT-30i direct-vent gas insert from RH Peterson Co.

senior vice president of Marketing. “This is a solid business, but not a strong growth category, more of a niche product for us.” Peterson also offers its Real Fyre brand gas fireplace insert in 25-, 30and 36-inch direct-vent models. “We’ve introduced a contemporary version, but our sales strength still is in models with logs,” he says. In Peterson’s American Fyre Designs brand, the company has added two new modern looks to its popular Brooklyn line. “We don’t know how this COVID-19 crisis will impact our season, but naturally we expect sales will be a little softer,” says Dischner. “A lot of dealers have temporarily shut down, but even though

some businesses are closed, many still are selling online, giving product and job quotes, and offering service and parts. It really depends on their geography. But we’re maintaining phone contact with our dealers to see how they’re doing and to see what we can do to help them,” he says. Last year was a “good sales year” for SÓLAS, according to Patrick Moynihan, founder and president. “It was an ‘up’ year for us as we worked hard to expand our distribution and add new products. This year has been a challenge, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised and encouraged to still be shipping products. But we don’t know if these sales were from projects in the works before the COVID-19.”

THIRTY8 built-in direct-vent gas fireplace from SÓLAS.


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| Gas Products |

L1 linear fireplace from Valor.

While expanding SÓLAS’ distribution, Moynihan faced an interesting revelation. “SÓLAS has been built on contemporary styling of its gas fireplaces. But as we expanded out of our usual East Coast market, we found that, suddenly, we had to offer traditional-styled models.” SÓLAS now offers all of its models either in contemporary styling with glass ember beds, or with traditional logs. SÓLAS has also added transitional styling in its new Model THIRTY8 gas fireplace featuring an opening that is more square than in linear styling. “We had a good sales year in 2019, with sales up modestly,” according to Paul Miles, president and director of Sales for Valor Fireplaces. “The year started slow, but the second half was a lot better after the best fall we have ever had. Things were rolling along until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.” During the current crisis, Valor’s gas stove and fireplace insert sales have been hit the hardest, while the company’s gas fireplace sales have been less affected. “Stoves and inserts go into existing homes while fireplaces normally go into new-home construction, or remodeling projects where social distancing can be maintained,” Miles believes. Valor dealers are “seeing life again. Things are starting to come back. There’s more traffic now, so sales are starting to happen,” Miles says.

40 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Valor is seeing a trend toward bigger, higher-priced gas fireplaces so far during the crisis. “Blue collar consumers are more price sensitive customers, and that segment of our population has been hit harder.” Valor has been upgrading all of its products to include the new V-Class burners that offer better performance and more realistic flames. New from Valor is its interactive remote control that offers fire voice control, a feature now standard on Valor’s Linear Series of gas fireplaces. Valor’s new G3.5 and G4 gas fireplace inserts feature the new V-Class burner and optional birch logs. The G3.5 insert also

Woodbridge Fire Feature outdoor gas fireplace.

has optional new craftsman styling. Other new Valor gas fireplace models include the Linear Series L1, L1 See-Thru, L2, and L3 models. New H5 and H6 models will appear later this year. Woodbridge Fireplaces did “okay” in 2019 with its gas fireplaces, says Tony James, president. “But this COVID-19 crisis really took the wind out of our sails this year. We were up 3%, but at the beginning of this year we thought we would be up 15% to 20%. Obviously, this year is not quite business as usual.” James sees a trend toward larger, higherend gas fireplaces in both indoor and outdoor installations. “Outdoor fireplaces are going to go crazy. People are willing to spend the money, and now they plan to spend more on their backyards rather than taking a chance on traveling.” Woodbridge gas fireplace sales now are split 50/50 between indoor and outdoor models. Commercial gas fireplace projects now are 25% of Woodbridge’s sales. “Commercial sales are all over the map in creativity, and these sales are not faltering with the COVID-19 crisis.” New from Woodbridge is its SeeVue indoor/outdoor gas fireplace, in four sizes up to seven feet long. Already offering 3-, 4-, 5- and 6-ft., single-sided and see-through models, the company is introducing bay and pier outdoor models in 3-, 4- and 5-ft. widths. Time will tell how 2020 sales will go for all hearth products. But those offering gas models seem surprisingly upbeat, and with the sales to prove their optimism.


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| Manufacturing |

THE

ELECTRIF CATION OF COMFORT That’s the goal of Glen Dimplex chief executive Robert Bartucci, whose portfolio also includes wood-burning products. By Richard Wright

R

obert Bartucci joined Glen Dimplex three years ago, and since then has maintained a low profile (at least as Hearth & Home is concerned). In those three years, he has absorbed a great amount of knowledge regarding the hearth, patio, and barbecue industries – as you will soon see as you get to know him. Hearth & Home: Let’s begin with your

background. Where were you before Glen Dimplex? When did you start with Glen Dimplex? Robert Bartucci: “I’ve been in the home

improvement manufacturing space my whole career. I’ve been with Glen Dimplex for about three years; I started in April 2017. Prior to that, I began my career with Masco Corporation. It’s a large, publiclytraded entity that has a bunch of home improvement brands, such as Behr Paint, Delta Faucets, Milgard Windows, for example. I was there for about 12 years. “Then I left and went to work with an entrepreneur for three years. We manufactured outdoor play structures,

42 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

outdoor gazebos, and pergolas for the home. We more than doubled that business over a three-year period, and we successfully exited the business by selling it to a private equity (firm). “At that point I was looking for something closer to my heart, which was private entrepreneurship, rather than being in the public space. I met the Naughton family, the family that owns Glen Dimplex globally. I really enjoyed my interview process with them, speaking with them, understanding their values, and what they wanted to do with the business. I joined them, as I said, in April 2017. “Their business was founded in 1973 by Martin Naughton, who celebrated his 80th birthday recently, still very active in the business. The day-to-day business is now being run by two of his three children, Neil Naughton, who’s our Executive Board chairman, and Fergal Naughton, our global CEO. We are the world’s largest manufacturer of electric heating products, and we have a significant position in domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, fires, and renewable energy sources.

“The common thread through all of those things is comfort, and trying to find ways to control or influence home comfort, whether it’s heating or cooling through a variety of different sources. We’re primarily trying to be focused on the electrification of comfort. We believe that the world, over time, will continue to move away from fossil fuels, and we want to be leading the change to that sustainable future. “Now, we certainly have wood fire businesses. We’re also in the gas fire business. But even in those spaces, we are looking for ways to make those technologies much more sustainable for the future.”

PHOTOS COURTESY: ©2020 GLEN DIMPLEX AMERICAS. WWW.DIMPLEX.COM.


My first comment is why did you acquire Faber, a wood stove company? It seems so strange in the mix of products you have. Bartucci: “Faber has been part of our

product portfolio in Europe for a very long time. As we looked at becoming a fires supplier in North America, as opposed to just an electric fires supplier, we were looking for products that we felt fit a gap in the market. “Faber is a premium price-point, high design company. It has some patented features, such as the burners and the logs that we feature – campfire-style fires. We thought it was a good fit for North

America. In fact, Faber has been part of the Glen Dimplex family for a significant number of years, it just didn’t have a presence here in the Americas.” When did you bring Faber to North America? Bartucci: “We did a soft prelaunch at

the Kitchen & Bath Show in January this year. We showed some of the product at the previous HPBExpo in 2019. We had a little bit of product in our booth; we were testing it with the hearth dealers, trying to get some reaction. We did a launch at the KBIS show in January 2020, and we

actually just won the Vesta Award at the HPBExpo this year (in the category of Gas Products). “It’s a new brand to North America, and a new brand for us. But again, it’s leveraging technology that we’ve used in Europe for a very long time. We are launching the MatriX and the e-MatriX, the electric version along with the gas version this summer. “We’re in production as we speak, but it’s very limited, slow production. We’ve got a number of distributors that have signed Dimplex Opti-myst Pro Built-in Electric Firebox.

Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020

| 43


| Manufacturing | Bartucci: “We’ve got upwards of 2,500

retail locations across Canada and the U.S.” Wonderful. Bartucci: “I would say that 600 of them

Robert Bartucci.

on for the product and will be introducing it into the market as we get later into the summer and into the heating season. Over the next 12 months, we’ll continue to expand the offering, both indoor and outdoor products, gas and electric.” You’re going up against a lot of the major competitors that have been out there for years and years. Correct? Bartucci: “The reality is that the major

competition you’re describing has been starting to encroach on the electric space as well. There were only a few dominant players, from a design and technology perspective, in the electrics for the last 10 to 15 years. But very recently we’ve seen some of those large powerhouses look at electrics as a legitimate line of product for them. So we need to make sure that we are not just the electric fireplace guys; we are the fireplace supplier, Glen Dimplex.” How many retailers do you have now?

44 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

have really great showrooms and we’re very proud to be working with them. But the electric fireplace business is still a pretty small part of the hearth specialty business. Depending on what part of the country we’re in, it could be as low as 10% of their business. It could be as high as 20%. But it probably is somewhere in that range. While we have some models that definitely retail at $2,000, $2,500, up to $3,000, we don’t get up to the $8,000, $9,000, $10,000 gas fireplace range with electric, and the electric installation is far less complex. “So the total bill to install an electric fireplace is, in some cases, significantly lower than what a gas installation would be when you factor in product and service, and the installation fees. However, there are two things that are working in our favor. “Electric fireplaces can go anywhere in the home. Where previously you were very limited in your design as to where you could physically locate a gas fireplace or your wood-burning fireplace – you needed

“The other part is there are some changing regulations that are providing tailwinds for electric fireplaces. In markets where gas is no longer being run to the house – in some jurisdictions in California, or in multifamily applications such as a new condominium being built in Chicago or LA or Manhattan – those guys weren’t putting fireplaces in, but now they’re using electric fireplaces, giving both the builder and the homeowner the ability to return fireplaces into the dwelling. It’s really an exciting opportunity in some ways, to displace gas, but it’s actually growing the overall fireplace market.” So, instead of going after someone who can afford an $8,000 fireplace, you’re going after a market that’s substantially lower, which is in your favor. Bartucci: “Part of the challenge for electric

fireplaces is they’re easily knocked off, where gas is less so. There’s a significantly higher number of regulations and approvals required in order to launch a gas fireplace into the market. But barriers for entry around electric fireplaces are much lower, which means you might find something that they call an electric fireplace on Amazon or on Walmart at ridiculously low prices. While

“Many times, the electric fireplace is an additional fireplace sale for the retailer. Where they previously would have only sold one fireplace per dwelling, they now have the opportunity to sell multiple fireplaces.” to effectively be able to get a vent outside of your house, which meant it was on one of your exterior walls, most likely – electric fireplaces can go anywhere in your home. “Even people who are installing gas fireplaces are, at times, putting electric fireplaces in their master suites, in their bedrooms, in their kitchens, in their foyers, in locations where previously fireplaces were not possible. Many times, the electric fireplace is an additional fireplace sale for the retailer. Where they previously would have only sold one fireplace per dwelling, they now have the opportunity to sell multiple fireplaces.

technically they are electric fireplaces, they are not the same types of electric fireplaces you would find at a hearth dealer. “We do believe that we have industryleading technology and IT that we can build into our fireplaces, heating elements that will heat up to 1,000 sq. ft. We have highperformance electric fireplaces that, frankly, are really geared toward people at the upper end of the electric fireplace market. But to your point, on average they do cost less than what a gas fireplace would.” The heating element is becoming very important, isn’t it?


Bartucci: “What we like about the heating

element on the electric fireplace is that you have the option to run the fireplace with the heater or without. In warm markets, where perhaps you don’t want to heat the entire room, you have the ability to enjoy the ambiance of the electric fireplace 12 months of the year. It also allows you to change the temperature in the room very rapidly, but also to maintain the temperature in the room. You don’t have to wrestle with turning the appliance on and off to try and maintain temperature. “Our technology and our industry-leading position as an electric heating company has allowed us to take that technology and work it into the electric fireplace. But it’s optional, meaning that while it comes with every fireplace, the homeowner has the option to operate the appliance with or without heat. That’s certainly an advantage over a gas or wood stove.”

I’m sure you’re keenly aware of the fact that the incidence of fireplaces in new-home construction has been plummeting over the past decade or two. No one seems to know exactly why, and they certainly don’t know how to stem that tide. Bartucci: “Yes. My hypothesis is that, as

we went through the financial downturn in ’07 and ’08, new-home construction and home values plummeted. As that market came back, builders and probably consumers were looking for ways to get back into homes in a more cost-effective

money on a fireplace. But the other thing, and probably more important, is for all of the years that I’ve been watching this industry, manufacturers have sold their cheapest products into new construction. So that’s what many millions of people grew up with – an ugly, cheap, low quality fireplace. Why should they want one now that they’re grown up? Bartucci: “Yes. There’s a lot of work to

be done as an industry on reeducating the consumer, as opposed to spending as much time as we do with the dealer. Certainly, the dealer is critically important to what we’re

It seems to me that the HPBA has taken positions directly opposed to electric. They want to protect gas and wood at all costs. Bartucci: “We aren’t taking a position

against gas or wood. Frankly, I believe that Glen Dimplex will be in the gas business. In fact, we are with Faber. It’s very possible that we’ll be in the wood-burning business at some point in the future. What we are suggesting is there’s a better way to do it, and we want to make sure that we’re doing it in a sustainable way. I think the EPA 2020 guidelines regarding wood stoves are great for us as an industry, but also for the economy. “Now, some of the manufacturers in that space may disagree. Certainly, there are a lot of hurdles to jump through in order to comply. But I do believe that it allows businesses and companies that are innovative and have great technology to bring the best possible solutions to the market. “Are we competing with that product? In some ways, we are, absolutely. But we want to see that the overall fireplace market, generally speaking, grows. With the split among electric and gas and wood there’s some room for us to battle one another in that space, but certainly it’s in our best interest to see fireplaces overall continue to grow in prominence in the U.S. and in Canada.”

Dimplex Revillusion Built-in Firebox.

way. The features that used to be packed into homes now started to either disappear completely or they became upgrade options. The fireplace is one of those things. “Where previously a fireplace was a standard feature in a home, builders realized they could either go to less expensive fireplaces, or to no fireplace at all, and just offer the fireplace as an upgrade. Certainly, one of the places where we see an opportunity for electric fireplaces is at that new-home builder market where installing an electric fireplace returns fireplaces to new-home construction, but that’s at a much lower cost than previously existed with gas.” I think it has something to do with all the electronic gear that the younger people really covet much more than they want to spend

doing and a big partner, but the technology has come so far that we really need to do a better job as an industry, in my opinion, of educating the consumer on what those technologies are. Whether it’s gas, electric, or wood, they each have their own challenges. “But I agree with you. If we look at some of the product that has been installed over the last 20 years, it was inferior technology. It wouldn’t light. It wasn’t pleasing to the eye, relatively speaking. It wasn’t easy to maintain. It wasn’t easy to get service. “We talked about the number of empty hearths in America. I would tell you there’s probably triple or quadruple that number of underused gas fireplaces in America because people just don’t know what to do with their old gas-burning box. If there were a way that they could get that unit upgraded

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 45


| Manufacturing | or improved, or if we could get back to a demand situation, I think that is really the way into this. Fire is something that humans have been drawn to since caveman days. What we’ve learned, though, is if we don’t do it correctly, it actually scares people. “Whether it’s gas or wood – I know you’ve seen our Opti-myst technology that looks like a realistic fire – we actually see people who are afraid of these products. We have to explain to them the technology that we’ve built in to make them safe and enjoyable, because everybody would like to hang their stockings by the fire for Christmas, or have it on when they’re watching a movie with their family, or in a romantic setting with one of their loved ones. The hearth is at the center of family life, and we’ve pushed it away because we’ve created these ideas around it in the last 20 years that we’ve got to battle against.” But some of us – and I include myself in that group – find it hard to warm up to an electric fireplace. I don’t get a sense of warmth from it. Frankly, I want to poke the fire. I want to move the log. I don’t much care for gas fireplaces either. Bartucci: “That’s not an electric problem,

then. A gas fireplace has the same problem for you. I appreciate that. My family and I get to spend some time outdoors, building a campfire, learning how to build the fire with the kids, and roasting marshmallows, the smell of that wood burning. There is no replacement for that.

Faber MatriX.

46 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Faber e-MatriX.

“If we move indoors in trying to find ways to replicate that ambiance, there’s really two different strategies here. One creates heat. When we talk about wood-burning stoves, those aren’t really for ambiance. That’s actually a heating method, and it competes with other heating methods. When we talk about gas, or we talk about electric fires, for the most part, those are ambiance creators. Even the premium, higher-end products that we’re offering at Faber, or Ortal, or some of these other high-end lines, they spend an enormous amount of time, energy, and money taking heat away from the product. We’re actually sucking as much heat as we can outside of the building because we want that for ambiance.

“I hear what you’re saying. It’s difficult to get comfortable around that fire, but I would challenge you that the electric fireplaces that we’re producing today are as realistic as they’ve ever been. In some instances it actually is as close to a fire as you can get. The technology has come a long way, and we’re working on new technology around using real flames in order to create the right aesthetic in the electric products.” As you know, there are many companies that are saying, “Yes. Electrics are the future, and we’re going to come out with dozens of different models.” The competition is going to heat up, or has already heated up a bit, correct? Bartucci: “Yes. Look, it’s certainly heated

up a bit already. The position that we’ve enjoyed as the leader, from a technology perspective, is still unrivaled. However, we certainly are being pushed for retail space at the hearth dealer, and at the consumer level. I think the competition will bring out the best in each of us. We will continue to try and push the envelope from a technology perspective. Competition does that. “At the end of the day, the hearth dealer, the industry, and the consumer will be the winners. I welcome the challenge that entrants like Napoleon and Hearth & Home Technologies (HHT) coming into the space bring because I think it will make all of us better. This is about growing the entire fireplace industry; there’s room for a lot of us in that space.”


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| Manufacturing | All right. You have two test labs. What do they test, and where are they located? Bartucci: “Yep. So we have labs that do two things primarily. One is a UL lab. And so we are DAP certified with UL, which allows us to test all of our heaters against those UL standards. Again, heat is a big part of those electric fireplaces. “Then we have performance labs, one in Cambridge, Ontario, and one in Montreal, Quebec. The performance labs really simulate rooms with exterior walls. It looks at heat movement within a space, the conduction of heat, and that really looks at how these appliances operate in the real world. What can we do from a design perspective to optimize the way the heat moves through the room?” Outside of specialty retailers, what other channels of distribution do you have for your electric products?

A lot of the patio stores, particularly singlestore owners, are struggling. The competition is fierce. They have to go up against dot-coms, Big Box stores, Wayfair, etc. Do they need help? Yes. Do they need other products such as your electrics? Yes. That’s something that I wouldn’t neglect, and I’m sure you won’t.

and expand into counter-seasonal business. So we have a series of outdoor heating products that we’re bringing to market that have electric infrared technology, and gas heaters as well. We’re really trying to find a way to make Glen Dimplex a 12-month business for our partners.”

Bartucci: “We’re always looking for new

That’s excellent. This whole trend that started back in the late ’90s, called the Outdoor Room, that’s just been marvelous for the hearth industry, the patio furniture industry, the barbecue industry. I don’t know where these industries would be without that.

paths to market, and we’ve got a strong distribution network throughout Canada and the U.S. where those distributors are protected in their geography, and then, together, we approach some of the specialty dealers, hearth dealers, patio dealers, to make sure that we get our product on display and available to them.”

So you do go through distribution as opposed to going dealer-direct? Bartucci: “Yes. We found that the

With Big Box stores, how high do they go in terms of a price point?

distributor has actually helped both us and the specialty store. It’s been a great relationship. It allows us to get product to market more effectively. At the end of the day, it’s actually less expensive for the dealer. They don’t have to worry about prepaid minimums from us. It creates a much more efficient distribution model for us at this stage.”

Bartucci: “They will go up to $2,000

How many employees do you have?

Bartucci: “With electric fires, our primary

customer remains the hearth dealers. We do a little bit of business with some of the Box stores, but with different products.”

or so. But really, those products are not intended to go after the consumer. They really support the Box stores’ move to looking at the general contractors who are buying products from them. Electric fireplaces fit that space quite nicely because a gas fireplace requires a certified gas fitter, where our electric products being sold through the Home Depot Pro Desk could go to the average general contractor. Certainly, the application and the install is much less complex.” Have you tried opening specialty patio stores to your electric products? Bartucci: “There’s been some limited

success there. Really, the reason is that these guys are focused primarily on summer products. They dabble in counter-seasonal business. I think we’ll start to see that change, frankly. So we do that in some markets, but we do it with limited success.”

48 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Bartucci: “Just under 300.”

Now, that’s for North America? Bartucci: “Yes.”

How many do you have in R&D? Bartucci: “Probably about 50. That would

be our global team. A lot of the technology that we develop around electric fires is done in conjunction with our European and Australian businesses. It is one of the benefits of being part of a global group.” What have I not asked that you would like me to ask? Bartucci: “We talked a little bit about

our ambition around fires and expanding into gas and wood, but we’re also looking at ways to take some of that technology

Nectre N65.

Bartucci: “I believe in that Outdoor

Room strategy. I would love to also see Glen Dimplex in the barbecue business. One of the benefits that we will see for our industry coming out of the COVID-19 scenario is people will be spending less money traveling. “For some industries, that’s going to be a problem. Hospitality will have a problem, so will airline industries, travel industries. That means we’re going to be able to spend time with our loved ones at home in smaller gatherings in our backyards. I can see that the Outdoor Room is going to continue to grow in popularity, probably faster because of the situation we’re in.”


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| Good News! |

A

MIRROR

OF 2008!

Some retailers are thriving, not just surviving, during the COVID-19 pandemic; tired of using an old grill, homeowners are buying new grills, pizza ovens, furniture, and other outdoor products. 50 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

By Lisa Readie Mayer

N

one will debate that 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, and particularly, for small, independent retailers. But there also has been good news amid the doom and gloom. Some barbecue and patio retailers and manufacturers have seen sales increases – by as much as 80% – during the lock-down period and beyond. So, what did they do differently? They recognized that people were stuck at home needing to feed and entertain their families, and found creative ways to connect with these consumers to provide grills, fuel, fire pits, outdoor furniture, take-out meals, and other items to fill

this need. In short, they quickly adapted their approach to doing business in the new normal. “None of us wanted a new normal – we liked the old normal just fine,” says Brad Barrett, founder of the grilling accessory company GrillGrate. “But there are good things coming out of this. More people are getting fired up about using their grills. Even grilling newbies and people who grilled very occasionally are discovering grilling. One customer sent us a note saying, ‘I’ve never grilled before, and now I can’t stop!’ “Grilling is becoming central to family and home life,” he continues. “It could be a golden age for our industry.”


Retail Growth “One of the neat things we’re seeing is families are reuniting around the grill,” agrees Lisa Gilliatt, owner of The Grill Works in Marion, Iowa. “People are home, they have time to cook, and they’re looking for ways to keep the family busy.” The trend has led to significant sales increases in her store. By May, Gilliatt’s grill sales were up 78% over last year, with growth across all grill categories, accessories, and fuels. “We’re selling grills so fast we can’t keep them in stock,” she says. “We would receive 45 grills on a Monday and they were all presold. We would have another 95 grills coming in the following two weeks, and most of those were already presold.” Starting March 30, the store transitioned to phone, Facebook, and email orders with contactless curbside pick-up, and once reopening was allowed, began taking in-store appointments. It also created a temporary outdoor sales floor so customers could shop in an open-air environment. Jonathan Huddleston and Tracy Hopson saw similar growth at Grills of Mississippi, the barbecue supply store they co-own in Ridgeland, Mississippi. Though relocating the store to a bigger space with greater exposure just prior to the pandemic contributed to some of the increases, according to Huddleston, April’s sales volume exceeded total sales for the last quarter of 2019. “People are home cooking with a grill they’re not happy with and want to buy a new one,” says Huddleston. “Or they have the time to try a pellet grill. Since pellet grills have the convenience of gas with great wood flavor, it’s easier to convert gasgrill people to pellets, and we’re seeing a lot of that. One month, we sold over 100 units of one pellet grill.” Huddleston has also seen major increases in accessory sales, with rack systems, GrillGrate grids, and pizza accessories among the biggest sellers. “We sold more pizza ovens for Green Mountain

Grills in six weeks than in the previous six months,” he says. “And we’re going through 6½ tons of pellets about every 12 days.” Without the ability to sample, sales of the store’s 450 varieties of rubs, sauces, injections, and marinades, aren’t enjoying the same record increases, but Huddleston says they have remained steady. “We have brought in five or six new rubs since COVID-19 started and have had no trouble selling them,” says the former competition barbecuer. “Customers trust our recommendations.”

Roberts. “But our business model is built around backyard family gatherings, and I thought those kinds of things might be even more important now in light of the current circumstances.” He was right. Both stores started seeing a sales boom the last two weeks of March. “We had been experiencing organic growth prior to the shutdown,” says Roberts, “but if you compare against the normal trend line of 25% growth, April was up almost 85%.”

The retailers sell local grass-fed beef and other food products, and have a catering license, so were deemed an essential business. They took advantage of discount prices offered by meat and food vendors who would normally supply shuttered restaurants, and started selling family-style, cooked meals for take-out. “The first time we posted about the meals on Facebook, we sold out 15 racks of ribs and 12 pork butts in 15 minutes,” says Huddleston. “The first week of cooking we sold 235 racks of ribs, 145 pork butts, six cases of briskets, and 450 quarts of side dishes such as mac-and-cheese, baked beans, green beans, potato salad, and white chocolate-chip bread pudding. “We were cooking 24 hours a day and cleaning in between cooks, in addition to being busy at the store. We dedicated one employee to cooking take-out meals six days a week, before cutting back to Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as demand tapered down. “It will definitely be something we’ll continue even after the pandemic. We thank God that we haven’t missed a beat through this.” Just as the shutdowns began in mid-March, Tony Roberts was set to launch his second location of Proud Souls Barbecue & Provisions in Denver, joining the original store he opened in Littleton, Colorado, three years ago. “We were too heavily invested in time and money to pull the plug, so you can imagine the stress level,” says

Tony Roberts outside of the new Proud Souls Barbecue & Provisions location.

Because the stores had a small meat case and a grocery license, they were deemed essential businesses and remained open. Though meats were not big sellers prior to the crisis, Roberts began promoting them heavily online, positioning the store as a contactless source of meat and an alternative to empty grocery-store cases.

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| Good News! | They offered in-store or curbside pickup, as well as free deliveries on meat, grills, fuels, and accessories, initially with no minimum order. “One guy wanted us to deliver a package of bratwurst all the way to Colorado Springs – which we didn’t do – but most of our customers appreciated that we were offering delivery and ordered a number of items.” Roberts’ customers also invested in grills and smokers during the pandemic. “We’ve seen people purchase a second grill,” he says. “We might have sold them a Yoder smoker last year, and now they want a kamado or a PK Grill, or a pizza oven. They had one tool in their grilling arsenal, and now want more.” Roberts says sales of grilling accessories, charcoal, pellets, wood chunks, and chips are “booming,” too. “We’re selling more GrillGrate smoking accessories

Philip Hechler.

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and shelves, and we can’t keep cast-iron cookware in stock. People are looking for something fun and different. They have time to experiment.” The retailer believes the home-grilling trend will continue. “Customers I talk with are questioning how safe it is out there and saying they’re not rushing back to restaurants,” he says. “Folks who would have gone out to dinner on a Friday or Saturday, are getting excited about cooking at home. They realize this is a lot of fun and the food is really good.” More Good News… Philip Hechler of Hechler’s Mainstreet Hearth & Home in Troy, Missouri, says people are reevaluating what’s truly important. “Now that they’re not running around taking kids to activities, they’re staying home and doing puzzles together. Instead of spending money at restaurants, they’re making quality meals at home,” he says. “Barbecue sales are very strong as a result, and the same is true for the meat market around the corner. Business has absolutely boomed.” The store’s grill sales were up 80% year-over-year in April, and were up more than 20% through the third week of May (the time of interview), with pellet grills enjoying the biggest gains. Daily transactions on the hardware side of the business increased 35% to 40%. “People are coming to my store because they feel comfortable and less exposed than at a big home store,” Hechler explains. Located one block from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Sisset’s…A Fun Twist on Home & Patio, typically gets a lot of foot traffic from parents visiting their kids, and from people taking pets for treatment at the University’s vet school. But with the school closed, and in-store shopping prohibited due to the virus, sales of the store’s gift items, patio furniture, indoor and outdoor decorative accessories, outdoor acrylic ware, and other merchandise, fell 54% during the early days of the shutdown, according to owner Melissa Glikes.

However, thanks to adopting creative sales and marketing strategies, and the lifting of in-store shopping restrictions in May, Glikes says business has been “really, really, really good,” with sales up 70% over the same period last year. Glikes taught herself about Facebook advertising and had the store’s website rebuilt for e-commerce. She also offered private shopping hours, and phone orders with curbside pickup. Glikes came up with the idea for “Happy Store Gift Bags,” named for the upbeat vibe in the store. The colorful gift bags, filled with assorted merchandise like melamine tableware, napkins, cookbooks, soaps, and notecards, curated around a theme, were offered at price points ranging from $25 to $125. She took to Facebook Live every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to promote the bags, assigning each a number for easy order-by-number reference on phone and Facebook orders. Bags could be picked up curbside, delivered locally for $5, or shipped anywhere. “It’s worked out really well,” says Glikes. “People may be home, but life hasn’t stopped. They still need gifts for birthdays, Mother’s Day, and other occasions. We could help people bring cheer to friends and family.” The store took advantage of a manufacturer’s discount and ran a “very successful” sale on C.R. Plastic Products poly furniture, “advertising it like crazy.” Glikes also gained several thousand square feet of no-cost display space for the furniture by cross-merchandising at a nearby landscape nursery that was deemed an essential business. “I was driving by this great nursery. I didn’t know the owner, but stopped in on a hunch and asked if we could display


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| Good News! | our poly furniture there,” she explains. “He sells pavers and built-in fireplaces, so having the furniture helps improve his displays, too. This has given us exposure to customers who have never been to Sissets, and we send our customers to him. Customers call us right from the nursery and buy over the phone. They can either take the furniture home from the display or we’ll deliver. It’s been a great relationship. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m sorry this (virus) has happened, but we have learned different ways to operate, which has been kinda fun,” she says. “If you sit idle, nothing is going to happen. You have to make it happen. We’ve stayed really busy and did not have to furlough any employees.” Rob Woodward, owner of Woodward’s Service Center in Forest, Ontario, Canada, says his 30-year-old store lost sales while shut down from March 24 through midMay, but customers’ pent-up demand has resulted in a spike in business since then. “If we can end the year within 5% to 10% of last year, we will consider it a success,” he says. Adapting marketing messages to address consumers’ current concerns has resulted in “a lot of phone calls regarding grills,” according to Woodward. “Our marketing used to focus on the reliability and durability of our grills,” he says. “Now, we’re reminding people that, if they’re not planning a holiday, getting a new barbecue might be a fun way to cook at home. We’re promoting the diversity of foods that can be grilled – not just hot dogs and hamburgers, but pork tenderloins, rib roasts, vegan recipes, desserts. We’ve taken the word ‘entertaining’ out of ads, because people won’t be doing much entertaining this summer.” Communicating that the store provides assembly and delivery, and will take away an old barbecue, has also been effective, says Woodward. “People value these services. They’re less focused on price, since it’s not easy to go to a store or to get rid of an old grill.”

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Melissa Glikes with a “Happy Store Gift Bag.”

“People are looking for ways to enjoy their backyards, and grills offer good entertainment at a good price point,” agrees Jason Baker of Green Mountain Grills. “Our dealers tell us grill and fuel purchases are skyrocketing.” The demand propelled the company to proceed with the launch of its new Prime Plus grill with interior grill light, collapsible front shelf, rotisserie, and heavier grates. “Launching a new product in the middle of the COVID crisis was not exactly what we planned, but it has done well,” he says. Baker points out that, while some parts of the country, such as Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas, have experienced “crazy good” double-digit sales gains; dealers in highly impacted states such as California and New Jersey have not seen the same surges. Hoping Supplies Hold In addition, retailers are starting to experience supply-chain backlogs due to increased consumer demand, and challenges such as warehouse closures, manufacturers’ administrative staffs working from home, and volume delays at shipping companies.

“We’ve all become accustomed to just-intime delivery… It works until you have an unexpected event that changes the playbook and depletes inventories quickly.” — Philip Hechler, owner of Hechler’s Mainstreet Hearth & Home

Dealers report pellet-, charcoal-, and wood-fuel order fulfillment has stretched from a week to as much as a month out. Grill orders, previously filled in three or four days, might take up to six weeks. A spice-rub supplier to Grills of Mississippi was backordered after its bottle and label sources shifted to supplying handsanitizer producers. “We’ve all become accustomed to justin-time delivery,” says Hechler. “Storing a lot of inventory in a warehouse is from the days of yore. It works until you have an unexpected event that changes the playbook and depletes inventories quickly.


I could sell more if I had more product, but there’s no immediate re-stocking supply in the pipeline.” Outlook for Outdoor Kitchens On a brighter note, an analysis of Google Trends data by Blinds.com shows online searches for yard and patio topics are up 50% over last year. According to the report, this is a “signal that people are looking toward getting outside and maximizing use of their outdoor space.” Some dealers are already seeing inquiries up on outdoor kitchens and outdoor living products. Interest seems to be greatest in turnkey fire pits and modular outdoor kitchen systems that can be ordered, installed, and ready to use this summer. “In this climate of economic uncertainty, people are worried about home values and jobs, so the big $100,000 outdoor-living projects are not happening now,” says Roberts. “But we’ve recently been seeing more customer interest in Napoleon’s Oasis modular outdoor kitchen systems and

Fire Magic’s Ready-to-Assemble modular outdoor kitchens.” Grills of Mississippi has been promoting outdoor kitchens, outdoor TVs, and other Outdoor Room products during the period. “People are not traveling on vacation, so they’re thinking about fixing up their houses with a covered outdoor-living space and an outdoor kitchen to enjoy their time at home,” says Huddleston. “I believe this trend will continue for a while.” Support for Small Business More good news: Many retailers are finding the crisis has activated a strong community desire to support small businesses. “The situation has been unfortunate, but it’s showing people the value of local businesses,” says Gilliat. “Small businesses may have been thought of as cost-prohibitive, but now people see that is not the case. They appreciate the personal attention, convenience, and customer service we provide. We hope to establish long-term relationships with these new customers.”

Glikes was encouraged by the number of customers who supported Sissets with purchases during the shutdown, and is returning the love by writing each a personal thank-you note. “Now that we’ve reopened,” she adds, “people are coming in saying, ‘This is the first place I’ve shopped.’ How cool is that?” Woodward has received positive feedback for his efforts to safeguard instore shoppers. “We offer disposable masks and hand sanitizer by the entry door, as well as a trash can to dispose of masks on the way out. The masks cost a buck a piece, but it’s the price of doing business in the new world.” Creative and quick adaptations like these are helping retailers navigate today’s uncharted waters. It’s good news we can all use. If you have some good news to share, we want to hear it! Please email Editor, Richard Wright (wright@villagewest.com) to tell us about it.

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| A Post-Corona World |

BBQ DEMOS, CLASSES AND EVENTS What is their place in a post-corona world? By Lisa Readie Mayer

E

ven after passing the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, studies show people are likely to remain skittish about being in crowded places. A Reuters/Ipsos poll found that more than half of Americans would not feel ready to return to sporting events, concerts, movies, or amusement parks until a coronavirus vaccine is available, and 40% said they were willing to wait even if it takes more than a year for the vaccine to emerge. These concerns run across all consumer age groups. A report from TruePublic reveals 55% of Millennial consumers are eager to return to restaurants “as soon as

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isolation ends,” but would “wait a while” before traveling or returning to movie theaters, gyms, concerts, sporting events, or festivals. They say they would prefer to gather in smaller groups at home instead. The Future for Festivals and Events This desire to stay close to home and away from crowds may turn out to be a boon for barbecue and outdoor living retailers if consumers purchase grills, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, and patio furnishings to outfit their backyards for family enjoyment. But it could also upend some of retailers’ most effective vehicles for marketing these

products: in-store demos, cooking classes, events, and festivals. “The government may say we’re open again, but society is not going to be racing back out into crowds,” says Chef JJ Boston, of Chef JJ’s, a barbecue cooking school, event space, and retail store in Indianapolis. “Many of the events we had booked earlier this year have been rescheduled for August. But even then, will customers feel comfortable attending group cooking classes? Will companies use us for employee team-building events like they used to? Will people come to us to host their anniversary parties and birthday parties? This is still very tenuous.” Behind the scenes of The Big Green Egg Grilling Show.

PHOTO COURTESY: ©2020 BIG GREEN EGG. WWW.BIGGREENEGG.COM.


Like Boston, barbecue retailers across the country are wondering about the future of their demos and other group experiences in a post-corona world. When In-Person Events Paused, They Pivoted With in-person classes, corporate bookings, and private events canceled, Boston pivoted, creating an online education program on his store’s YouTube channel. His twice-weekly classes have covered topics such as Breakfast on the Grill, Mexican Family Meals, and Appetizers and Desserts, while shorter videos delved into tips and techniques, such as “How to Control the Temperature on a Kamado.” The content was free, but Boston invited the hundreds of viewers to send tips through the Venmo mobile payment app for his employees, who used the money to pay rent and other expenses. “The video classes allowed me to help my employees and still engage with customers,” he says. The Culinary Center at Big Green Egg corporate headquarters outside Atlanta, shut down amidst the coronavirus crisis and switched to free online cooking videos. The fate of the company’s annual Eggtoberfest, an annual festival in October that attracts 3,000 “Egghead” attendees and 400 cooks for demos, live music, and lots of food sampling, remains uncertain as of this writing. Many of the dozens of local Eggfests, hosted by retailers and distributors throughout the country, are taking a hiatus this year; however, some that are scheduled for late summer and fall may be able to go on as planned, according to Jodi Burson, director of Brand Enhancement. To fill the void, Big Green Egg held a virtual Eggfest on Instagram with 11 influencers, aka “Team Green,” taking turns broadcasting live cooking demos, tips, and how-to sessions from their backyards. One segment about baking a cookie in a cast-iron skillet racked up more than 12,000 views. According to Burson, “This was a way to let Eggheads virtually experience the camaraderie and fun of an Eggfest.” During the shutdown, barbecue and patio furniture retailer-distributor Outdoor Home, in Nixa, Missouri, created the “Stay @ Home Live Cooking Show” airing daily on Facebook and YouTube.

Staff members took turns hosting the free segments filled with recipe demos, grilling tips, and other engaging content. The store promoted the live classes through social media and in daily emails to customers. “As a business, we want to advertise and market where the customer is,” explains Aaron Swaggerty, Internet marketing specialist at Outdoor Home. “Now people are home a lot, so we’re focused on engaging them there, using social media, video consultations, and Zoom demos. We remind customers that they might have to stay at home, but they don’t have to stay inside.” The virtual cooking classes, just like in-person sessions, incorporate rubs, wood chips, accessories, and other products sold in the store, driving “a lot” of phone and online orders for delivery or pick-up, according to vice president of Sales and Business Development, Kenny Minor. Minor says they are “waiting to see how things shake out” before deciding to proceed with Outdoor Home’s annual Eggfest in September, the store’s biggest sales day of the year. “The technology is there to do it online if need be,” he says, “but we’re trying to assess whether people will get the same enjoyment if they can’t interact and taste the food. An Eggfest is about building community and camaraderie. We have to determine if that can happen virtually.” Dan Marguerite, owner of Backyard Barbecue Store in Wilmette, Illinois, replicated the in-store shopping experience through a series of online videos discussing the features and benefits of each grill model on his sales floor. He launched a YouTube channel for grilling demos, including one on how to make pizza in a Big Green Egg, Kalamazoo Artisan Fire Pizza Oven, Alfa Oven, Gozney Roccbox, and Weber SmokeFire Pellet Grill. He moved his in-store cooking classes to YouTube, teaching viewers how to grill basics such as steaks, chicken, pizza, and cedar-planked salmon, while spotlighting dry rubs and other products sold in the store. He hosted live question-and-answer sessions about kamado cooking on the virtual meeting platform Zoom. He is also considering live Zoom cooking classes, where customers could either purchase the list of ingredients on their own, or preorder them from Backyard Barbecue Store for curbside pickup. “For a class on

PRESS PLAY

Chef JJ talks Family Meal "Mexican" www.youtube.com/ watch?v=kJtGZzT3bpQ&t=

The Grilling Show Ep. 3: CedarPlanked Honey Glazed Salmon www.youtube.com/ watch?v=jTLzBwFN95E

Rosemary-Orange Chicken with Grilled Asparagus www.youtube.com/ watch?v=-xtHGlYzJYU

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| A Post-Corona World | how to reverse-sear steaks, for instance, we would offer a preorder kit with two nice steaks, rubs, maybe another accessory,” he says. “The customer would get the fire going before tuning in to the class, and we would prep and cook together.” The online efforts generated an uptick in sales (with curbside pick-up) of charcoal grills, charcoal fuels, and grilling accessories, according to Marguerite. “People have more time and I think they want to go back to the basics during this turmoil,” he says. When Marguerite’s eat-in lunch business and private events were put on hold, he began offering carry-out family meals from 4 to 6pm on weekends to keep his chef busy. “These sales have actually been better than

want to do that again. The way people shop and socialize may change. I don’t know what to think.”

our normal lunch business – some days almost double,” he says. “Is this because people are stuck home? Because they like our store and want to support us? If takeout meals are sustainable going forward, we may be rethinking and retooling our business model.” Marguerite is also wondering how cooking classes and demos might look in the future. “Normally, I’ll have 30 people sign up for a fee of $40 each for a cooking class in the store, and I’ll sell $1,000 worth of accessories after the class,” says Marguerite. “I wonder, when will people

tables further apart to create more distance between guests. He will do likewise for cooking-class work stations. “People can avoid crowded public spaces if they have a private event here,” he says. “We can offer advantages to hosting a party at a restaurant, and we will, for sure, communicate those messages in our marketing.” He says the store’s in-person classes are typically instructional demos, not hands-on, and that will remain. For the private and corporate events that request hands-on involvement, Marguerite will

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Making Changes, Moving Forward Of course, people will eventually want to enjoy in-person events again. In the meantime, retailers, manufacturers, and distributors are planning ways to tweak, or even reinvent, future cooking classes, demos, and in-store group events to ensure customers feel safe, comfortable, and eager to attend. When private parties and events are expected to resume at his store this summer, Marguerite will position dining

take added steps to ensure participants’ safety. He has also begun thinking about safer ways to sample food, including how to cut and serve tasting samples to eliminate contamination risks. “I’ve always been crazy about food safety,” he says. “I go through so many gloves during a class and always give them to attendees to use. I even use gloves when I’m cooking at home!” The Culinary Center at Big Green Egg headquarters will limit class sizes and switch to demonstration-style, rather than hands-on instruction, according to Burson. When hands-on classes eventually resume, Burson says each student will have his or her own designated Egg, ingredients, and tools, eliminating the need to share items. She believes the Big Green Egg 101 virtual classes implemented during the COVID-19 crisis will continue to be offered, “so anyone can attend online, no matter where they live.” Burson says, “So much of the experience of owning an Egg is wanting to learn and try new accessories and techniques. We want the online experience to drive traffic to dealers for further education, so people learn to use and enjoy their Eggs more.” Minor says, “We know customers will only return to the showroom to shop and for classes when they are ready, so we want to make sure everyone feels safe and comfortable, whether that means wearing gloves and facemasks, practicing social distancing, or whatever it takes. “But we also believe there will be a shift in customer expectations,” he says. “In the future, customers will expect the online options we offered during the crisis. I think our store will start leaning-in to virtual appointments, video chats, and online orders with curbside pickup. If customers’ anxieties regarding in-person classes and events linger, we may still offer the option of online classes. This is all uncharted territory, but businesses would be wise to get ahead of the game.” Boston stopped hosting large-scale festivals and events a couple years ago. “In my opinion, big events are not the best business model,” he says. “They are fun for attendees, but I’m a business, not a party.” Instead, he will continue to focus on small-group classes, private parties, and corporate events.


| A Post-Corona World | “I think, going forward, people will be interested in who has the safest environment to have an event,” Boston says. “Where can they spread out more? Who has the best sanitation practices?” Improving Food Safety and Sanitation The pandemic has definitely heightened consumers’ concerns about stores’ and restaurants’ cleaning and sanitizing efforts. People are watching, and they’re not shy about shaming establishments that don’t follow best practices, even posting photos on social-media of employees not wearing gloves or masks, and other slip-ups. Reviewing and improving safe foodhandling and sanitation practices is a smart move for retailers looking to resuscitate instore cooking classes, demos, and events. “I was a restaurant chef and a corporate chef before I was a retailer, so I understand that cleanliness and food safety are critical,” says Boston. “If you make someone sick, your store, your brand, your reputation is done. You have to be willing to take your mom or your client through your store’s kitchen. “Often, when retailers first start doing demos and classes, they are not professionally trained in food safety,” Boston continues. “It’s like driving 60 in a 25 miles-per-hour zone.” He recommends all staff involved with cooking or serving food at store demos, classes, or events be trained in food-safety best practices. Classes are often offered by state or county health departments, and are also available online. It is important to review your county’s health department safety standards regarding the internal temperatures of food, hot food holding temps, cold storage, hand-washing, proper sanitizing of tools, prep and serving gear, and more. Since regulations vary by county, you will need to follow the prevailing rules if your store participates in off-premise festivals, cookoffs, community events, home shows, or state fairs in a different county. “It’s all about education,” says Boston. “You must know about cross-contamination risks. You have to know how to use gloves properly. If you’re not changing gloves repeatedly, and going through a box of gloves every couple of days, you’re not doing

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it right. Learn the right way, practice, and it becomes muscle memory. “You shouldn’t be thinking about meeting the minimum standard, but the highest standard of safety,” cautions Boston. “You just cannot make people sick.”

surfaces such as grill handles, door handles, tables and chairs, should be sanitized frequently throughout the demo. Hand sanitizer should be available at each tasting station for customers to use.

What About Sampling? A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but every barbecue retailer knows, a tasty bite of hot-off-the-grill food, is worth much more. So now what? Can sampling – arguably the best and most effective part of a store demo – still happen in the aftermath of COVID-19? Initially, it’s probably best to follow the lead of Costco and Trader Joes, and temporarily suspend food sampling during open-to-the-public store demos. Cooking classes and private events are controlled and limited in size, so tasting can be more easily and safely managed in those settings. When it makes sense to reintroduce sampling at demos again, experts at the FDA and Cooperative Extension System say there are steps retailers can take to ensure safety. Beyond the local health department’s already mandated food-safety practices, anyone preparing food should wear facemasks along with protective gloves. The kitchen, indoor and outdoor prep and serving areas, and all high-touch

Rather than having customers take a sample from the cutting board, the experts recommend samples be precut or preportioned into bite-size pieces and served in individual, single-use paper plates, cups, or napkins by staff members. Staff members should also place toothpicks or utensils into samples so customers do not reach into a shared container to select a toothpick or plastic fork, or spoon. Likewise, nix the self-serve on barbecue sauces and rubs. Employees should pour and serve samples in small disposable cups. And finally, all food samples should be kept covered or protected by sneeze guards. Some of these steps may seem extreme in an industry better known for informality and fun, but as Dan Marguerite says, “Welcome to a new world.” Burson adds further perspective: “Classes and events will recover as people become more comfortable being together and sharing together again. That feeling will come back. It’s human nature for people to want to share meals and experiences again. This too shall pass.”


LIVING As consumers spend more time at home, they’re shifting their spending there too. Fire pits, outdoor furniture, and barbecue sales are soaring and smart buyers know it’s key to strike while the iron is hot. That’s why these decision-makers come to the indoor-outdoor living industry’s largest dedicated showcase. Beyond seeing what’s new, it’s their time to collaborate with suppliers, explore new options and bring ideas to life. Join them in Nashville—a prime destination for live music, Southern hospitality and plenty of barbecue—to launch your products, gain brand exposure and generate leads. RESERVE YOUR EXHIBIT SPACE. Visit HPBExpo.com/exhibit or contact Anita Derouin at derouin@hpba.org or 703.522.0086 ext. 117.

2021 Music City Center | Nashville, Tennessee | March 3 – 6


| New from Great Britain |

Farringdon 16 in Slate from Arada Stoves.

At the recent HPBExpo in New Orleans, a number of British companies were displaying for the first time. What follows are snapshots of each company. By Bill Sendelback

P

aul Revere never actually proclaimed, “The British are coming!” during his famous ride in April, 1775, through Lexington, Massachusetts, but he certainly could say that now. Hearth products manufacturers from the UK have for decades taken aim at the North American market. A few have found success with brands such as Valor, a brand now owned in North America by Miles Industries. Glen Dimplex is another such success story, with world-headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and North American headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario.

New Forest Electric Fire from British Fires.

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Recently there has been a modern British invasion, as witnessed by the number of UK companies who were displaying their wares at the recent HPBExpo in New Orleans. A few made big splashes at that trade show with impressive victories in the Vesta Awards Program. UK manufacturers are not novices when it comes to hearth products. Ceramic-fiber gas logs had their beginning in the UK, and “balanced flue” was what the Brits called what we now term direct-vent. Vent-free, too, originated in the UK as “flueless.” Decades ago while we were selling funky looking Rustic Craft electric log sets featuring red cellophane revolving around a 60-watt light bulb, the Brits were developing and refining electric fireplaces. Granted, North American manufacturers have taken each of these innovations to impressive new heights, but the Brits lead the way in each. Now they are hopeful of making new inroads into the North American hearth products and outdoor markets. Evonicfires has been the rising star of electric fires in the UK since it was established in 2005. Headquartered in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the company’s sales

have grown an average of 15% each of the last three years. In 2018, Evonic was purchased by NIBE AB, the company that also owns Regency Fireplace Products. Evonic offers a complete line of “innovative, high-end, premium electric products to independent retail outlets,” according to Chris Cook, Sales director. The company entered the North American market in 2017 and has European Home as its North American distributor (781-3248383, www.evonicfires.co.uk). Evonic electric fires feature apps for smart phone fire effect control, remotes, digital thermostats, and seven-day timers.


THE

British

ARE HERE!

The most recent innovations from Evonic include fire effect control through Amazon Alexa, and widescreen electric fires to 95 inches wide. U.S. suggested list prices for the Evonicfires models range from $2,900 to $4,600. Arada Stoves began in 1966 in Devon County, UK, as a small, familyowned engineering business designing and manufacturing wood stoves, then under a variety of brand names. Today, Arada has become one of the largest wood stove manufacturers in the UK, with 70

employees. Arada management purchased the majority of the company in November, 2019, and now offers only that brand. Arada entered the North American market in December, 2018, with Powrmatic of Canada (905-660-0033, www.aradastoves.com) as its North American distributor. Offered in North America are Arada’s Farringdon 12 and Farringdon 16 catalytic wood stoves. These models originally were developed to meet the 2022 European LOT 20 emissions regulations, as the only catalytic wood stoves in the UK. But while considering entering the North American market, Arada found

that its Farringdon models also surpassed the more stringent EPA NSPS 2020 standards. U.S. suggested list price for the Farringdon 12 model is $2,239, and for the Farringdon 16 model it is $3,039. British Fires is a division of Focal Point Fires, which was established in 1983 as a “hobby” in Christchurch, UK, and today Focal Point Fires is the UK’s largest manufacturer of “fuel effect fires” including electric- and gas-fire models. Linnea from Evonicfires.

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| 63


| New from Great Britain |

Charnwood Skye E700.

The British Fires brand was launched in 2019 to enter the North American market with a line of high-end, premium electric fires with U.S. suggested retail prices ranging from $1,900 to $4,000. Brand new to the North American market, the company still is finalizing its distribution in North America; it’s aiming toward a network of “selected” specialty hearth products dealers. “The North

ApplePie from Ekol Stoves.

64 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

American market has seen growth in the electric fires category, and our designs are very unique, which we know will suit this market,” says Michael Athay, Sales and Marketing director and North American sales contact (michael@britishfires.com, www.britishfires.com). The company’s introduction into the North American market at the recent New Orleans HPBExpo proved to be a sensation as its New Forest electric fireplace was the winner of the Art of Fire honors at the Vesta Awards Ceremony. The New Forest model is just one product in British Fires’ North American lineup of European-styled barrel and square electric stoves and fireplaces. Each features the company’s patentpending Air Curtain Technology, allowing a wider distribution of heated air into the room from the built-in heater. Each electric fire in the company’s offering features four installation options: front opening, left or right corner, three-sided, and “floating.” Another UK company featured in the 2020 Vesta Awards was Charnwood, with its Skye E700 wood stove, a finalist in the Wood Products category and described by the company as “the world’s first intelligent wood stove,” according to Richard Jelfs, vice president of North American Sales. Charnwood is a division of A.J. Wells & Sons, the UK’s second largest manufacturer of wood stoves; it is based in Isle of Wight, UK. A.J. Wells began in 1972, and has grown from a 1,500 sq. ft. factory producing

a few hundred stoves a year to today’s 75,000 sq. ft. facility with 200 employees producing “tens of thousands of units sold worldwide,” according to Jelfs. “Our stoves are designed and built to last,” he says. “Even 45 years after building our first stove, there still are many of our original models giving good service.” Charnwood, too, is a newcomer to the North American market, making its entry at the New Orleans HPBExpo. “We’ve been keen to launch products in North America for a long time,” according to Jelfs, “but we knew we had to come with something amazing in order to be successful. We think our Skye E700 is such a product. It uses sophisticated new technology we’ve been perfecting for seven years.” The Skye E700 wood stove features “intelligent micro-processor control” to achieve 2.4 gph of emissions, and 84% efficiency to earn 2020 NSPS certification with U.S. suggested retail prices ranging from $3,000 to $3,500. “It is difficult for a user to control a wood stove to ensure good operation,” Jelfs says. “The Skye E700 takes user error away and gives a clean, fully automated, efficient burn every time.” As a newcomer to the North American market, Charnwood is establishing its distribution, but already has a warehouse and offices in Redding, California (530-355-1025, www.charnwood.com). “Our longer term vision is to open a manufacturing facility over here so we can put “Made in the USA” on our range of products,” Jelfs concludes. Ekol Stoves is the brand of wood stoves Saltfire Stoves of Dorset, UK, is bringing to the North American market. Established in 2008 and specializing in “more affordable, small stoves,” Ekol models such as the Apple Pie and Peanut have U.S. suggested retail prices ranging from $620 to $3,100, according to Ross Penman, managing director and coowner with wife Penelope. “We see North America as a large potential market, especially for compact stoves for small houses, cabins, and even camping.” Having enjoyed a 32% sales increase last year in the UK, Ekol was the first brand in the UK to certify a double-sided wood stove to the strict DEFRA emissions testing, the equivalent of our EPA, says


Ooni Koda 16.

Samba firelighters from The Flame Group.

Penman. The company was the first in the UK to have its complete line certified to SIA Ecodesign Ready, a European standard due to take effect in 2022. Ekol models are being distributed in North America by Grills’n Ovens (800-8017339, www.defrastoves.com) with warehouses in New Jersey and Ontario, Canada. The Flame Group is a manufacturer of firestarter products headquartered in North Wales, UK, with a sister company in The Netherlands. “We began in 1972 when we realized there was a growing market for firestarters to ignite coal fires in

Gozney Roccbox.

the UK and Europe,” according to Corjan Versprille, Sales director. “We specialize in the production of solid firestarters, now with the growing demand from charcoal and wood grilling enthusiasts after the 2005 European ban on lighting fluid.” Selling under the brand names of Tiger Tim and Samba, plus private label brands, the company’s products include grill lighting cubes, sachets, and lighting gel, plus all-natural wood firelighters. Along with a warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina, the company sells through two-step distributors throughout North America (www.firelighter.com). Unlike most UK newcomers to the North American market that are offering hearth products, Gozney is one of two UK manufacturers bringing pizza ovens across the pond. Headquartered in Dorset, UK, Gozney began in 2010 manufacturing portable wood- and gas-fired outdoor stone pizza ovens for residential and commercial use. Gozney entered the North American market last year, “because we saw over here this phenomenal passion for outdoor cooking,” according to Rich Welbey, global Marketing and Commercial director. The Gozney Roccbox is the model the company currently is offering in North America, with U.S. suggested list prices starting at $499. Advertised as a “restaurant-grade, portable, outdoor pizza oven for home use,” the Roccbox features wood- or gas-burning, retractable legs, thicker stone floor, and dense calcium silicate insulation for heat retention, 304 stainless steel construction, and a “safe touch” silicone outer skin to reduce the danger of skin burns.

Gozney is selling dealer-direct to specialty retailers in North America from warehouses in Virginia, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and Atlanta. Freddy Eppleman heads North American Sales (407-450-5721, www.gozney.com). Also bringing pizza ovens from the UK is Ooni Pizza Ovens, headquartered in Scotland and offering a full range of tabletop, stainless-steel pizza ovens fueled by either natural gas, LP, pellets, wood or charcoal, with U.S. suggested retail prices ranging from $199 to $599. The Ooni Koda 16 model was the winner of the Gas Barbecues category at the 2020 Vesta Awards at the New Orleans HPBExpo. Co-founder Kristian Tapaninaho was really into making pizzas, “but my pizzas were good but not great,” he says. His pizzas lacked the restaurant-quality taste that he felt comes from high heat. So he and wife Darina Garland set out to develop a woodfired pizza oven for their backyard, and the first Ooni model was the result. Today Ooni sells in 90 countries, but North America has the company’s most significant customer base, selling consumer-direct and through retailers such as Ace Hardware, Williams Sonoma, and Bloomingdales, from warehouses in New Jersey and Nevada. Ooni offers seven tabletop models plus complementary accessories and cookware. Ooni’s North American sales contact is Amy Tolley at amy@ooni.com. The Brits are taking on some strong, wellestablished, heavy hitters as they come to North America. But they’re bringing some interesting products that just may find some market niches that provide success.

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 65


| Grilling Accessories |

66 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com


GRILLING ACCESSORIES They’re the cherry on top of a grill sale. By Lisa Readie Mayer

G

rills are the meat-and-potatoes of a barbecue retailer’s business, which makes grilling accessories the dessert. You could skip selling them, just like you could forgo a slice of chocolate cake after dinner. But why would you want to? Grilling accessories, tools, gadgets, and gear add fun and excitement to the sales floor, engage customers, and trigger impulse buying. They keep customers returning to the store, and they generate high-margin, bonus revenue – a sweet extra to any grill sale. Accessories get people to try different foods on the grill and expand meal occasions cooked outdoors (how about a griddle for bacon-and-egg breakfasts when the grandkids sleep over?). They solve consumers’ grilling pain by making outdoor cooking easier, more convenient, and more enjoyable.

PHOTO: ©2020 GETTY IMAGES. GETTYIMAGES.COM.

Accessorizing Your Store

So, what should you be carrying? According to retailers on their accessories A-game, it is important to offer a selection that is wide and deep. A few products hanging from a pegboard is not going to cut it. As one retailer put it, “You have to look like you are really IN the barbecue accessories business.” That means dedicating as much real estate as space permits to the category, and displaying and merchandising products in a neat, orderly, and creative fashion. Group like-products together in displays (e.g. stack all charcoal, pellets, and wood cooking fuels in one area), but don’t forget to also incorporate accessories in grill displays throughout the store to show how they would be used. A display near the checkout to inspire impulse purchases is another effective idea.

Click here for a mobile

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 67 friendly reading experience


| Grilling Accessories | Spotlight an accessory of the day/week/ month, and be sure to promote the featured product in your social media, with details about how it can help people barbecue better. Some manufacturers, such as Napoleon, Coyote Outdoor Living, and Big Green Egg, offer display systems that help retailers organize and display accessories, maximizing the number of different products that can be merchandised in a compact footprint. A wealth of inventive retail display ideas also can be found on Pinterest; even if they are not specifically for barbecue accessories, the concepts still transfer. Salespeople should be trained to discuss accessories with every customer buying a grill or outdoor kitchen, asking if they need a new tool set, grid-cleaning product, or cover. In addition, engaging with customers about foods they like to grill invites opportunities to point out accessories that can help make those dishes better, or take outdoor cooking to the next level. Tools of the Trade Of course, all grillers need a basic tool set – long-handled tongs, spatula, and sauce brush – but not all tools are outdoor-kitchenworthy. “If you own a premium grill or an outdoor kitchen, you want premium tools

Grillight barbecue utensils.

68 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

The Smoking Pouch from The Smokist.

to go with it,” says Colton Knittig, president of Grillight, a manufacturer of innovative barbecue accessories. “People want unique and different tools and accessories to show off, like a golfer with the latest clubs or a techie with the latest gadgets.” With that in mind, Grillight created a line of high-quality, stainless-steel tongs, spatulas, and other barbecue tools with builtin LED flashlights and lifetime warranties. The lights, which pop out so the tools can be cleaned in the dishwasher, are engineered to shine directly on the food, making it easier to grill at night. “They are ideal to use with smokers, kamados, and gas grills that don’t have built-in lighting,” says Knittig. Proud Grill’s new Connect It Magnetic Tool Set earned a Vesta Award for innovation at the latest HPBExpo. The premium, multipurpose set includes a spatula and a meat fork with magnetic handles that can be used individually or joined together in two different ways to create a pair of tongs or a serving utensil. The magnetic tools attach to a grill’s metal side shelf for handy access, and nestle together for compact storage. Tools like these are anything but runof-the-mill and are the perfect upsell when someone is buying a premium grill. Fuels and Lighters Pellet grills, live-fire grills, and smokers are among the fastest-growing grill categories today. That’s good news because they bring people back to the store on a regular basis to buy fuel.

The greater the selection of fuels you offer, the greater the likelihood customers will bypass the big-brand bag of charcoal at the Big Box store and return to your store to try a premium brand, a new wood species, or other special varieties of natural lump charcoal, binchotan charcoal sticks, or wood chips, chunks, or pellets. Customers might want to try Barrel Proof Wood Chips, made from repurposed bourbon barrels sourced on Kentucky’s bourbon trail. “Everyone wants the latest thing and the newest novelty item,” says company co-owner Susan Jackson. “Bourbon is hugely popular, so people are intrigued. The aroma of the chips is amazing and the flavor they impart is wonderful. When you open a bag in the store, as soon as people smell it, they want to buy it.” Also essential are fuel-lighting products. “As people use more live-fire grills, multifuel grills, smokers, and outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, they need tools to light and manage the fire,” says Kevin Owens of Looftlighter, a product that uses extremely hot air to light lump charcoal, briquettes, or wood logs in 60 seconds. The company just introduced a new cordless, rechargeable model (the original requires electricity), that Owens says will expand its use for RVers, campers, boaters, and others without access to power. With a pistol-like control handle, the GrillGun is a 400,000 Btu blowtorch that runs off a one-pound propane canister,


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| Grilling Accessories |

Barrel Proof Wood Chips.

and lights wood or charcoal in a minute.It is a conversation-starter that might appeal to macho grillers. Lighting options such as these make sense to stock because, unlike chimney lighters – long the go-to, all-natural, charcoal-lighting alternative – they do not rely on newspaper. As more and more consumers get their news online today, they don’t always have access to a newspaper. Products such as The Smoking Pouch and The Smoking Heat Deflector by The Smokist, hold wood chips or pellets and make it easy to boost smoke flavor on gas grills and kamados. The A-Maze-N Smoker pellet tray, Napoleon’s Charcoal Tray, the DiamondKingSmoker wood box, and other gadgets also help turn gas grills into multi-fuel hybrids. More complementary accessories for the fuel department: waterproof charcoal containers, ash buckets, shovels, long tongs, and fireproof mitts.

70 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Thermometers and Tech Meat is expensive. High-tech meat thermometers, Bluetooth monitoring devices, and automated Wi-Fi controllers can help customers protect their investment and cook food perfectly every time. Yet, according to Darren Keller of Maverick, a manufacturer of remote, digital grill thermometers, and other high-tech grilling accessories, only 30% of people use a thermometer when grilling. “There is tremendous untapped sales potential for retailers in this area,” Keller says. “The technology segment is the fastestgrowing area of accessories.” Maverick just introduced “Stake,” a wireless, batteryoperated, Bluetooth-enabled meat probe that allows the user to monitor temperature and doneness remotely on their smartphone. Another wireless meat thermometer is MEATER. The Vesta Award finalist allows the cook to input the cut of meat and desired doneness on the coordinating smartphone app, and follow along as the device transmits temperature, counts down to finish time, and signals when meat should be removed from the grill, taking resting time into account. Temperature-control products such as Flame Boss are a must for kamado, smoker, or other solid-fuel grill owners. The Bluetooth-enabled device is inserted into the air-intake vent and automatically adjusts airflow to consistently maintain the exact preset cook temperature, even over long, slow cooks. “It’s like cruise control for the grill,” says Dave Frosch of Flame Boss. Frosch says the product has great appeal to everyone, from competitive

Flame Boss 500-WiFi Smoker Controller.

barbecuers to kings of the cul de sac. “If you’re having a party that night, you can text updates to your friends throughout the day to show them what you’re cooking,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.” Tech products such as these help attract younger grillers, according to Brad Barrett, owner of GrillGrate. “We’re starting to see more Millennials adopt grilling, now that they’ve discovered they can connect it to their phones,” he says. Cleaning and Maintenance Everyone who has ever owned or sold a stainless-steel grill knows the term “stainless” is relative. As such, grill covers, grid cleaners, and exterior maintenance products are logical upsells on any grill purchase. Applied as a protective exterior coating, Grill Guardian helps prevent staining and rust on any stainless-steel grill. “Stainless steel is not totally smooth, but actually has tiny crevices all over,” explains Mel Mayuga.

Grill Guardian protective stainless-steel grill coating.


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| Grilling Accessories | “This product has microscopic ceramic glass particles that fill in the crevices so stains run off or can easily be wiped off with a microfiber cloth. Unlike stainless-steel cleaners, Grill Guardian prevents stains from happening in the first place. It’s especially helpful in salt-water environments, and one application lasts two years.” Mayuga says specialty retailers can sell this as a DIY product, or market it as an add-on service to be applied before a new grill leaves the store, similar to an optional, protective-finish upgrade on a new car. In two years, the retailer can offer an at-home follow-up service to clean the grill and reapply the finish. (While the technician is in the backyard, there are opportunities to sell replacement parts and other products.) Retailers also report that annual grill-brush education programs lead to sales. Teach customers about the dangers of cheap, flimsy grill brushes, while

Granda Vivo’s Xapron.

72 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

“All you really need is a pair of tongs. But the rest of this stuff makes grilling fun, so customers cook out more and keep coming back into the store.” — Max Lavoie Co-owner of House of BBQ Experts

pointing out your premium brushes, wooden paddles, grid scrubbers, wipes, and other grid-cleaning alternatives. Cooking Accessories There are seemingly endless products to expand customers’ grilling horizons. Solid-surface griddles are great for making breakfast, cooking fajitas, and sautéing onions. Dutch ovens, cast-iron skillets, sauce pots, and baking stones turn a grill into an oven for smoke-kissed stews, soups, and chilis, baking bread, or even desserts. The Vesta-award-winning Allin-1 accessory from House of BBQ Experts converts an ordinary charcoal kettle into a smoker, pizza oven, and rotisserie grill. Grill grates are the secret to success for many steak-cookoff champions. The interlocking, hard-anodized, aluminum grilling-grid panels, concentrate and evenly distribute heat for better searing, and have raised rails and valleys to catch and vaporize drippings to add flavor. Models are available to retrofit any traditional gas grill, kamado, kettle, or pellet grill. Don’t forget pizza stones, panini presses, perforated grids, grill baskets, rib racks, woks, skewers, chicken roasters, rotisseries, meat claws, Himalayan salt plates, plancha griddles, jalapeño roasting racks, and so much more. Other Fun Stuff Retailers say premium coolers such as the Vesta-Award-winning Truma Cooler Portable Fridge/Freezer, and those from other lifestyle brands such as Yeti, Grizzly, Orca, and Pelican are popular with customers. Grilling cookbooks help grillers move beyond the basics, study up on new

techniques, and get them grilling more often. According to Karen Adler, owner of Pig Out Publications, a publisher and distributor of barbecue cookbooks, today’s best-selling titles involve smoking, live-fire cooking, pellet grilling, kamado grilling, traditional low-and-slow barbecue, pizzas, and wood-fired-ovens. Some retailers are known for their vast selection of barbecue spice rubs, sauces, brine mixes, hot sauces, finishing salts, and more, offering a wide variety of flavor profiles and regional styles. They say customers keep coming back to try new ones. And, of course, because you have to look good when you’re grilling, there’s Granda Vivo’s Xapron line of handsome, artisanal, natural-leather aprons. Popular with restaurant chefs, and appropriately

S’Mores from Pig Out Publications gives suggestions for making s’mores on a barbecue, in the oven, over a stovetop, and on the hearth.

sophisticated for wearing in an outdoor kitchen, the handmade aprons come in several leather finishes and colors. “People want to look classy while grilling,” says Gerben Verstraete, the Netherlandsbased company’s U.S. representative. “These aprons are unique and offer the retailer the opportunity to make good margins.” “All you really need is a pair of tongs,” says Max Lavoie, co-owner of House of BBQ Experts. “But the rest of this stuff makes grilling fun, so customers cook out more and keep coming back into the store.” In other words, accessories are icing on the cake.


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| Business Climate |

MAY SALES

In early June Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare May 2020 sales to May 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 229 useable returns.

RETAILER SALES - U.S. AND CANADA May 2020 vs. May 2019

77%

61%

42% 43% 24%

15% 19%

39%

32% 15%

8%

RETAILERS NO CHANGE

RETAILERS UP HEARTH

PATIO

25%

RETAILERS DOWN

BARBECUE

SPAS

HEARTH PATIO When homeowners are locked into their homes, the Spa industry flourishes! Witness: 77% of spa retailers were UP in May, while 43% of Barbecue retailers were UP, 42% of Patio retailers were UP, and 24% of Hearth retailers were UP.

1%

4%

2%

HEARTH HEARTH May June July 2019

4% 5%

7%

6%

-26% -19%vs. May 2019 0% -36% May 2020

Aug Sept

4% 5%

Oct Nov Dec

Jan 2020

Feb Mar

Apr

May

7%

4% 4% 4% 7% 3% 1% -26% -36% -19% 5% 4% 4% 3% 4% 4% 4% 2% 1% -26% -36% -19% 4%

2%

5%

3% 4% 4% 4% 13-MONTH YEAR-OVER-YEAR RETAIL SALES 2% 2% 1%

May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020 May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020

PATIO PATIO May June 2019

July

-4%

0%

Aug Sept

Oct Nov Dec

4% 5%

Jan 2020

-28% -45% 1%

Feb Mar

Apr

May

6%

5% 4% 5% 6% 0% 2% -4% 5% 1% 0% -28% -45% 1% 4% 5% 2% 2% 1% 0% -28% -45% 1% 0% -4%

2%

May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020 May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020

30%

BARBECUE

SPAS

1% -2% 2% 2% -4% -1%

BARBECUE May June July BARBECUE 2019 1% -2%

Aug Sept

2% 2% 2% 2%

4%

7% 1% 1% -15% -17% 0%

Oct Nov Dec

4% -4% -1%

4%

7%

Jan 2020

Feb Mar

Apr

May

7% 1% 1% -15% -17% 0%

1%

4% 4%

July

4% 4%

3%

-7%

Aug Sept

-23% -13%

-1% 12% Oct 12%

6% -7% 6%

30%

8%

6%

4%

SPAS May June SPAS 2019 1%

12%

Noc Dec

3%

4% 4%

3%

4% 4%

Jan Feb Mar 2020 8%

-1%

8%

Apr

May

-23% -13%

1% -2% 1% of Barbecues -15% -17% In May, sales of Spas went Patio1% products went0% UP 1%; sales -1%30%; sales of1% -4% UP -7% stayed even with the prior -1%year, -23% -13% and sales of Hearth products plummeted -19%.

May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020 May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020 74 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

30%

May June July Aug Sept Oct Noc Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020 May June July Aug Sept Oct Noc Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May 2019 2020


RETAILER COMMENTS

WEATHER REPORT

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 MAY 2020

NORTHEAST Delaware: (Hearth, BBQ) “We have been open the whole time, but floor traffic has been nil! No one is coming in. Not much to compare sales from May of last year, since it was the worse month since, I have been selling stoves for 15 years! Praying for our nation and that it picks up.”

93

71 84

48

59

95 117

118

118

50

56

37 32

41

110

55

39 41

27

32

24 12

26

43

123

122

10

72 74 68 70

40 34 25

22

22 33

51

35

42

25

Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “The current

shutdown due to COVID-19 has greatly affected sales for the month of May. We remain cautiously optimistic as our state begins to re-open. After sheltering in place for months, some customers are emerging with a greater focus on home improvements that include hearth products! We are seeing longer lead times with suppliers as they struggle to maintain business with a reduced work force. For the most part, everyone understands the ongoing challenges and continues to do business to the extent possible.”

80

93

23

23

43

107

76

1 = COLDEST / 126 = WARMEST

NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA

Much Below Average

Record Coldest

Below Average

Near Average

Above Average

Much Above Average

Record Warmest

In May, only five states (California, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico) posted Much Above Average temperatures, with five more states (Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, and Texas) at Above Average. All the rest of the states experienced Near Average, Below Average, or Much Below Average.

Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Things are

picking up as businesses open up.”

New Jersey: (Hearth) “Coronavirus is

STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE RANKS MARCH 2020 – MAY 2020

still shutting down our showroom. Have been doing sales curbside or by appointment only. We started going out to houses for cleanings and service mid-May.” New York: (Hearth) “No sales or

98

installations because of COVID-19 shutdown.” New York: (Hearth & Spas) “We have had

94

87 94 98

114

87

76

75 115

89

89

85

67 75

71

82

96

69

77 88 91

74 114

90

122

116

74 121

109 107

93

96 99 98 103

101 102 97

102 108

125

1 = COLDEST / 126 = WARMEST

resumed on May 16 (none since March 20), we were able to finally turn the product that had been in the warehouse. The retail store re-opened on May 30. Several

79

72

96

94

enough already of the new rules, the face masks, the crazy restrictions on our retail business, and most of all, the TURBO – unemployment that keeps employees home and refusing to work. Hate to make this comment space political, but seriously, how much more can our small businesses take?” New York: (Hearth, Patio) “As installations

61

61

Record Coldest

Much Below Average

NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA

Below Average

Near Average

Above Average

Much Above Average

Record Warmest

For the period March – May, seven states (Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida) were at Much Above Average temperatures. Not a single state was colder than average.

Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020

| 75


| Business Climate |

WEATHER REPORT

in person as the state was locked down. Late April and May saw folks coming to shop home improvements. Our summer and fall installation schedule has us on track for a banner year.”

For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflect the precipitation ranking for the period since records began in 1895.

STATEWIDE PRECIPITATION RANKS

Pennsylvania: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ)

MAY 2020

41

111 105

87 47

26

66

24

17

76

82 7

94

18

42

74

59

104

95 92

93

99

80

50 101 98 98 124

69 40

64

16

76

47

51

SOUTH Arkansas: (Hearth) “Despite very slow

retail sales and floor traffic, May was better than last year thanks to DIY customer projects. People were working on their stoves, chimneys, etc., due to the virus situation. Sure hope June is better.”

123

97 84

30 29 43 37

45 39 32 55

“Well this was to be expected. It’s near next to impossible to have an upward percentage during the closure of our business for eight weeks. Good news is that we have been very busy since we reopened. We hope that we can catch up and end the year with an increase.”

57

100

Louisiana: (Hearth) “Again, our sales of 1 = DRIEST / 126 = WETTEST

Record Driest

Much Below Average

NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER/NESDIS/NOAA

Below Average

Near Average

Above Average

Much Above Average

Record Wettest

In May, both North Carolina and South Carolina experienced Much Above Average precipitation, while only Utah was at Much Below Average.

prospects that we communicated with over the previous 10 weeks are making appointments to come in to the store to (hopefully) finalize their selections and deposit with us for a summer installation! Our backlog of installations that had been scheduled will take us into July.” New York: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas)

“Between the low price of oil and the COVID-19 virus, homeowners are holding on to their money. We did not have a very active spring and the next few weeks don’t look too busy either.”

Pennsylvania: (Hearth) “Last year was

our best ever. This fiscal year from July 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020 is down 7%. But still ahead and would be our second best year if it stays at 7% through June 30.” Pennsylvania: (Patio, Spas) “Pool sales

are through the roof. Patio is good now that we are open. Spa sales are also great. Cold temperatures are holding back sales of patio here in Northeast.” Pennsylvania: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ)

awning sales. Concerned about low energy prices for fall/winter sales!”

“We were able to completely reopen at the end of April. Once we did, it has been extremely busy, with new sales up a lot compared to last May. Outdoor furniture sales have been especially strong.”

New York: (Hearth, BBQ) “Coronavirus

Pennsylvania: (Hearth, BBQ) “Mid-

New York: (Hearth) “Doing well with

shutdown impacted sales. We started selling grills more aggressively than last year for curbside pickup.”

76 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

March to mid-April knocked us off the path to a stellar year. We never really closed but customers stopped shopping

hearth products are down. However, our service work is growing and bringing our total income for the year up from last year. We have found new service opportunities in general home maintenance/repair.” North Carolina: (Hearth, BBQ) “I feel

really blessed to only be down 20% for the year and breaking even the last two months. Most businesses are shut down or just holding on. Things are also looking up even with all the negativity in the world.” Oklahoma: (Hearth, Patio) “Store closed

for six weeks. Pent-up demand pushed total sales up 110% for month of May. Reopened May 5.” Oklahoma: (Hearth) “I am not providing

pool service anymore, just sales. My son and another ex-employee are doing all the service. We still provide parts and products, just no service. A lot less payroll. We seem to have more money in the bank than we usually do. Quite a lot more.” Oklahoma: (Hearth) “It’s been an

interesting year!”

Virginia: (Hearth) “Only two sales in

May. One was new home construction, the other was a replacement vent-free burner and log set. Plus, a few service calls. That


was it. Between the pandemic and now the riots all over the country, things aren’t looking good.”

have no idea why. The fireplace business is not for the weak of heart. LOL!”

Texas: (Hearth) “We were already in

COVID-19 virus, which shut down the country and basically the world, has been good for our spa and pool market! Now if we could just get our suppliers to get back up and running, and product delivered to fill the showrooms back up, that would be a great thing.”

Minnesota: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Traffic is solid; our decision to close the showroom (for appointments only) and not do work in client homes for April/ May affected our sales. We are optimistic about the rest of the year.”

Indiana: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “When

Missouri: (Hearth, BBQ) “Only a few

recession mode – then picked up some – then virus hit. Half of March through April we were shut down by city and governor of Texas until May 5. “I’m here every day – but in Texas City fast food places are doing well – we are not. We were able to open back up just as temperatures are rising and more rains and little storms. “Going to advertise more with sales, it might help. Every day more people are getting laid off or on fewer days of work. I’m sure fireplaces are not top in their thoughts.” MIDWEST Iowa: (Hearth, BBQ) “Need an installation workforce to install.” Indiana: (Hearth) “We had the strongest

January and February for hearth sales in several years even though the weather was warmest in several years. A terrible March even before COVID-19. Then closed in April for COVID-19, but did a good month over the phone for previous estimates. In May we were open by appointment-only and our sales were up 10% over last year. I

Indiana: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Seems the

customers are home and they got the money they spend the money on their home.” Michigan: (Hearth) “Monthly totals are

down due to the COVID-19 virus and our store being closed. We opened our store June 1 for business.” Michigan: (Patio, BBQ) “Our store is

normally closed off-season. We generally have staff in mid-March and open the showroom April 1. With our state’s shelter-at-home legislature concerning non-essential businesses, we were not able to have staff in to prepare for the season or open our doors as normal. “In mid-April we were allowed to have curbside service which generated some income. Early-May, we were allowed to

have the showroom open to a maximum of 10 clients at a time. This has definitely put us behind in floor prep, warehouse prep, and sales for the year. The struggle is real!”

short months ago, across the country we were all having manager/owner meetings preparing for the what-ifs and the doom and gloom that seemed inevitable. We wondered what we were going to do to stay afloat. Well, that never really happened for my business. Much like we saw the success of Home Depot, Walmart, and essentials like that, I noticed an uptick in my hearth sales. Many of our clients found they have time to work on the jobs they have been putting off – the rest is history now. “I’m up 22% YOY, and most of that growth came during the COVID-19 crisis when almost everything was shut down or severely restricted. I was only doing appointments after hours in my showroom to limit exposure to just the client and myself. Now, with interest rates the way

134.1

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE The Consumer Confidence Index held steady in May, following a sharp decline in April. The Index now stands at 86.6 (1985=100), up from 85.7 in April. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – declined from 73.0 to 71.1. However, the Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – improved from 94.3 in April to 96.9 this month. “Following two months of rapid decline, the free-fall in Confidence stopped in May,” says Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The severe and widespread impact of COVID-19 has been mostly reflected in the Present Situation Index, which has plummeted nearly 100 points since the onset of the pandemic.

“Short-term expectations moderately increased as the gradual re-opening of the economy helped improve consumers’ spirits. However, consumers remain concerned about their financial prospects. In addition, inflation expectations continue to climb, which could lead to a sense of diminished purchasing power and curtail spending. “While the decline in confidence appears to have stopped for the moment, the uneven path to recovery and potential second wave are likely to keep a cloud of uncertainty hanging over consumers’ heads.” A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth. The Index is based on a probabilitydesign random sample conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company.

125.5 118.8

100 90 85.7 86.6

Year Ago

6 Mo. Ago

Mar 2020

Apr 2020

May 2020

1985 = 100

www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 77


| Business Climate | they are and businesses being in Phase 4 of reopening, I’m still keeping on track for another profitable month during the hottest and generally our slowest time of the year.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ)

from March 20 to May 6 and our May sales were better than 2019 with five fewer days. Pent-up demand? That would sure be nice if it will continue for a few months.”

were flooding in and were willing to buy. Best month ever in one of our stores. I think that customers are spending their annual vacation money on improving their backyards and home life. “It will take some time to recoup the lost six weeks of sales, but hopefully we will. We do have the PPP loan and will be trying to navigate the forgiveness hoops this week to try to get the whole amount forgiven. Most manufacturers have been amazing at working with us to give us more time to pay our early-buys. Most understand that if we don’t have the money, we can’t pay them. We will not be buying again from the ones that don’t understand this during this traumatic time for all of us.”

California: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “We

California: (Hearth, BBQ) “COVID-19

“May was down, but June will be the real shocker. After our usual anniversary sale in April, we usually experience an in-season sales month. Not this year. The residual two months will be a real letdown. Sales traffic is good and steady. Who knows, maybe it will come back as people getting used to staying at home will start updating their fireplaces and outdoor living spaces. Carry on!”

Nebraska: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “I think

things are opening up to the point where people are ready to get out and buy.”

Ohio: (Hearth, BBQ) “Barbecues in the

$1,000 to $2,000 range are selling like hot cakes. Sold through the early-buy fast and are almost through the second buy. We’re also selling an above-average amount of hearth products as folks are remodeling their homes. People being stuck at home while the government sends them stimulus money has resulted in a solid second quarter so far!”

WEST California: (Patio, BBQ) “We were closed

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “Contractor sales

continue to be strong. Retail customers have returned to the marketplace.”

were allowed to reopen on May 1 after being closed since March 20. Customers

is keeping most folks inside. Lucky we have new construction.”

STOCK WATCH COMPANY – EXCHANGE

52 WEEK

SYMBOL

WEEK ENDING

% CHANGE

HIGH

LOW

1-May-20

29-May-20

4 WEEK

26 WEEK

52 WEEK

MARKET CAPITALIZATION ($000,000)

Standard & Poor’s 500 (a)

S&P

3,386.15

2,237.40

2,830.71

3,044.31

7.5%

-3.1%

10.6%

HNI Corporation (b)

HNI

42.90

16.61

23.21

25.47

9.7%

-35.2%

-23.2%

$1,090.00

Pool Corporation (c)

POOL

271.16

160.35

216.02

269.02

24.5%

30.3%

49.6%

$10,490.00

Restoration Hardware (b)

RH

256.27

73.14

137.46

216.89

57.8%

5.5%

154.7%

$4,180.00

Wayfair (b)

W

197.06

21.70

122.50

171.55

40.0%

102.0%

19.1%

$16,800.00

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.

MARKET CAPITALIZATIONS

52-WEEK STOCK PRICE CHANGE

(US $000,000) $17,000

154.7%

$15,000 $13,000 $11,000

49.6% 10.6%

$9,000

19.1%

$7,000 $5,000

-23.2%

S&P HNI POOL RH AS OF 29-MAY-2020

78 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

$3,000

W

$1,000 $0

HNI

POOL 31-MAY-2019

RH 29-MAY-2020

W


California: (Hearth, Patio) “It has

certainly been a rollercoaster atmosphere for business, but overall it has been quite good. We’ve had enough time to get things cleaned up and organized, now it’s time to hit the ground running with installs.” California: (Hearth, BBQ, Spas) “It has been

an interesting few months. We are fortunate to be open with limited hours, would love to keep the limited hours. We are limiting customers coming into the store and it has

“The pandemic seemed to light a fire with many people wanting woodburning products.” — Montana

worked great. A couple cold days and snow kept people coming in for heating pellets. Once California opens up and we can get back to business as usual, it will all be good.”

The stay-at-home orders have kept folks out of restaurants and in their backyards.” Washington: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas)

“April was down due to COVID-19. May was up from the previous May.” CANADA British Columbia: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “So

consumers have decided to spend money in their backyards. Patio furniture is way up; barbecues are down a little, and hot tubs have caught up to the previous year which was very strong. As long as supply holds out we could be in for a very good ride.” British Columbia: (Hearth) “Some

interest regarding pricing by phone but no quotes requested.”

British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ)

“Quiet, barely any foot traffic through our showroom.”

Ontario: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “What a

delightful month of May! We normally have our snowbirds return in an orderly fashion with no real concerns about real heat, we

proceed with plans made before they left, turn systems on, that kind of peaceful work one enjoys. COVID-19, government’s mandated showroom closures, keeping our service technicians safe on no-heat calls, etc. Just another day except I’ve never seen such clean hands at the end of a service day. The real question is where does this road go and who will take the reins and lead us to the new salvation, or are retailers just expected to do it alone – again?” Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Shutdown

showroom due to COVID-19. Open on Internet and to answer the phone. We sold maybe one barbecue every 2-3 days, but generally there’s little interest. We advertised on radio doing storefront pickup, but we’re using the time to renovate our showroom. Income from barbecues has only covered wages.” New Brunswick: (Hearth, BBQ) “We

have seen traffic increase in May since the COVID-19 issues. We are back to last year’s numbers in the last half of May. When the weather started to warm up we saw our barbecue sales increase nicely.”

California: (Hearth, Spas) “Our store is

boarded up due to rioting, traffic is down due to the pandemic, and we have laid off 80% of our staff but are still open six days a week and selling product. The PPP loan has helped immensely. Time to show your strength and make it happen. We will get through this!”

Don’t se ttl e f or l e ss.

California: (Hearth, BBQ) “Because of

the coronavirus impact, our sales were down and we have been closed for three months.” Colorado: (BBQ) “Manufacturers are

running out of grills. May could be a tough month.” Colorado: (Hearth, BBQ) “Had a couple

of large jobs hit last year in May – difficult to compare month to month. Overall, net and gross profit are up over last year.” Montana: (Hearth) “The pandemic

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seemed to light a fire with many people wanting wood-burning products.”

Oregon: (Hearth, BBQ) “Our April and

May barbecue sales have been up significantly which we can only attribute to the unanticipated consequences of the pandemic.

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www.hearthandhome.com | JULY 2020 | 79


CLASSIFIEDS Help Wanted

Hearth & Home Editorial Invitation

LEAD INSTALLER / FOREMAN WANTED

NEW Products Wanted

We are a 140+ year strong company located in Philadelphia, PA specializing in fireplaces. We offer competitive wages, paid vacation, paid sick leave & matching retirement plan. We are looking to hire someone that desires a long term career. Come join our team. To start the conversation about your future success contact us at 215-924-3500 or info@dreifussfireplaces.net.

We’re always on the lookout for what’s NEW in the hearth, barbecue, and patio industries! Send us your NEW products for a chance to have them featured in the magazine or on the Hearth & Home website. To submit products email a hi-res image and short description, including product name, to: pelczar@villagewest.com

CLASSIFIED ADS 1 Column x 1 Inch Minimum Price per column inch = $175 Call the Sales Department at (800) 258-3772

AD INDEX This ad index is an additional service provided by Hearth & Home to its advertisers. Hearth & Home assumes no liability for any incorrect information.

Advertiser

Page

Phone

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

71

800-424-5249

aslaconference.com

Apricity / Agio - USA

25, 49

(800) 416-3511

www.apricityoutdoor.com

Breck Ironworks

21

(970) 759-3103

www.breckironworks.com

Dansons Group / Louisiana Grills

59

(877) 303-3134

www.louisiana-grills.com

Empire Comfort Systems / Primo Ceramic Grills

29

(800) 851-3153

www.primogrills.com/launch

Evolution Fires

6

(407) 851-1536

www.evolutionfires.com

F & C Distributors

55

(630) 241-0506

www.fandcdistributors.com

Frankford Umbrellas

73

(856) 222-4134

www.frankfordumbrellas.com

Hearth & Home Technologies

30, 31

(800) 927-6841

www.hearthnhome.com

Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association

61

(703) 522-0086

www.hpbexpo.com

Lovinflame

53

909-781-8462

www.lovinflame.com

Merchandise Mart Properties

3

(800) 677-6278

www.casualmarket.com

OW Lee

C2

(800) 776-9533

www.owlee.com

Pará Group / Tempotest USA

8, 9

(972) 512-3534

www.tempotestusa.com

Phifer

27

(800) 633-5955

www.phifer.com

Stûv America

47

(866) 487-7888

www.stuvamerica.com

Sunbrella / Glen Raven

39

(336) 227-6211

www.sunbrella.com

Sunset West USA

69

(760) 599-1021

www.sunsetwestusa.com

Telescope Casual Furniture

C4

(518) 642-1100

www.telescopecasual.com

Travis Industries

41

(800) 654-1177

www.travisindustries.com

Valor / Miles Industries

37

(800) 468-2567

www.valorfireplaces.com

Warming Trends

79

(303) 346-2224

www.warming-trends.com

WeatherStrong Outdoor Cabinetry

83

(866) 708-7601

idealcabinetry.com/OD

80 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

Website


Who Reads

?

Marc Kaufer, for one! President of Frankford Umbrellas, manufacturer and designer of high quality shade solutions. Mt. Laurel, New Jersey

Special Interests/Hobbies: “My children, shade solutions, running with my dog, and kayaking and fishing in my lake with my children and my dog.” Problems/Issues Facing the Patio Industry: “We are facing many issues in addition to COVID-19. In the aftermath of this crisis, we must dedicate ourselves to turning it into an opportunity. Big Box stores, and online Big Box stores, are inundating potential customers with so many low-end and throw-away outdoor furniture and umbrella options, with descriptive, yet deceiving descriptions. “It is imperative we educate our retailers and their clients so they understand the differences in what they might see online, and what they can purchase in casual furniture specialty retailers across the country. We must provide our customers a unique product and a unique shopping experience, and not offer them anything they can find through Big Box online stores. “This will, over the long run, encourage consumers to visit and purchase unique and high-quality products that can only be found in traditional brick-and-mortar specialty stores.”

Key Trends in the Patio Industry Today: “Cantilever umbrellas have become increasingly popular, along with unique and stylish frame finishes and fabrics. Umbrellas and shade are no longer being thought of as an accessory to outdoor furniture, but as an essential part, and design element, in the outdoor living experience.” Impact of the Coronavirus on Your Business: “In addition to a slight reduction in sales, Frankford has rededicated itself to our employees, and our contract and retail partners, as we all strive to reinvent ourselves and understand that crisis and opportunity go hand in hand.” Forecast for Patio Sales in 2020: “$20M.” Years Reading Hearth & Home: “25 years.” Reasons for Reading Hearth & Home: “Hearth & Home has been very helpful in identifying potential clients, as well as assisting in industry trends and issues facing the casual furniture market.”

Click here for a mobile friendly reading experience


| Parting Shot |

ON THE BANKS OF THE ARKANSAS RIVER

T

wo Foot Ten Foot (yes, that’s the company name) was brought on this project by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (yes, that’s the company name) to help design and fabricate two custom fireplaces with large, organically-shaped chimneys and custom gas-log sets. The fireplaces serve as the centerpiece of a community center lodge at the epicenter of an amazing new park on the banks of the Arkansas River close to downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma. The modern lodge design culminates at the custom gas-log set with 360 degree views in a public space. An identical gaslog set sits one floor below, and outside under a roof to provide patrons with a warm place to sit on cold days. Free-flowing stone chimneys reach to the sky to exhaust both fires up and out of the building safely. Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects; 111 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue Atlanta, Georgia 30303; Phone: 404.525.6869; Email: office@msmearch.com. Website: msmearch.com. Click here for a mobile

friendly reading experience 82 | JULY 2020 | www.hearthandhome.com

PHOTO COURTESY: ©2020 DREW MCALLISTER; TWO FOOT TEN FOOT FIREPLACES; PHONE: 503-828-0463; WWW.TWOFOOT-TENFOOT.COM.


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Profile for Hearth & Home

Hearth & Home Magazine - 2020 July Issue  

The voice of the Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio industries. Hearth & Home is a trade journal serving the hearth, barbecue and patio furnishings...

Hearth & Home Magazine - 2020 July Issue  

The voice of the Hearth, Barbecue, and Patio industries. Hearth & Home is a trade journal serving the hearth, barbecue and patio furnishings...