“Consumers going to the restaurant see that,” Willoughby says. “They think, wow, that’s being used commercially, so it must be built to last. We see the same phenomenon in the park
he says. “We break the replacement cycle that so many restaurant owners have dealt with, over the years. Eon has developed an expanded line of commercial products to go after this business.”
This year has also seen the addition of counter-height dining, a classic dining bench, a square 40-inch coffee table, and four additional Sunbrella fabrics. In 2014, new frame colors—including
The Banff collection in white, with Capri blue cushions
benches that we are selling to golf courses. They had wooden benches that they were replacing every few years. Now, they put our product out there and just forget about it.” Willoughby sees a huge opportunity on the commercial side of the business. “Eon is the natural choice for the hospitality industry, where beauty and durability need to coexist in one product,”
ILLUMINATING 2013 Sparkling white has been a welcome color addition to Eon’s deep seating collection this year, complementing the familiar shades of teak and espresso that dealers have already embraced. Willoughby calls the white a vibrant— and admittedly traditional—addition that fits in with the brighter colors that are trending nationwide.
gray and additional earth tones—are also on the agenda. An outdoor-lighting line is the latest offering from Eon, compliments of the lighting division at Gracious Living Corp., Eon’s parent company. “We have table lamps and floor lamps specifically designed and approved to be used outdoors,” Willoughby says. “Our outdoor-lighting collection transforms
every outdoor space into an outdoor room. We include a nice variety of wicker and wrought-iron items, and they are priced right.” Tracking public tastes can be difficult, but Willoughby is convinced that specialty dealers can overcome misconceptions and successfully sell Eon’s midrange/high-end products. As a starting point, they must correct the mistaken belief that patio furniture is always less expensive than interior furniture. Instead, consumers can grasp the concept that “something left outside 12 months of the year has got to be built really well—and out of a highend, high-quality material—to withstand those elements,” Willoughby says. He is hesitant to name any one product as the company’s best seller, estimating that so far, every product has essentially pulled its weight. While conceding that Eon is undeniably known for its Adirondack chairs, he believes that many more options can be explored with the company’s materials. “This is just the beginning,” Willoughby says.
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May/June 2013 Patio & Hearth Products Report
CP corporate profile and it’s time to capitalize on that. Brown Jordan International is investing in a new paint system, new ovens, and robotic welding machines for the Haleyville plant, with the goal of bringing 25% of the company’s manufacturing there by 2014. “Now, we will have the ability to meet the increased demand we’re seeing by putting operations back into Haleyville,” he says. “We believe this will give us the opportunity to introduce a quick-ship program, for our retailers, around key selling items.” As far as transit is concerned, Brown Jordan is consolidating multiple shipping points at one centralized FOB point in El Paso, Texas, where the company recently purchased a distribution center. “We believe consolidation will provide greater truckload capability, simplicity for our customer base, and faster turnaround of orders,” Moriarty says. Advanced manufacturing capabili-
ties would also benefit Brown Jordan’s sister brand, Winston— which has been seeing its own demand uptick, according to Steve Herenlip, Winston’s vice president of sales and marketing. Accordingly, Herenlip says, Winston has bolstered its customer-service staff to accommodate the increased demand. “This is an industry of relationships: This is a people business, and we have wellseasoned, loyal representatives with strong relationships in their respective territories,” he says. The spike in business has been fueled by Winston’s new Savoy and Veneto introductions, as well as its Southern Cay modular, a first-quarter debut that has been well received in both specialty-retail and hospitality marketplaces, Herenlip says. He adds that Winston has also expanded its palette of fabrics to 550, supporting a special-order business (driven by deep seating) that has progressed steadily, over the past few years.
product innovation whether they are freestanding kitchens; complete, built-in outdoor kitchens; or something more modular (such as our Liberty product).” DCS also has its ear aimed toward the consumer. “We spend a lot of time studying outdoor-cooking behaviors, cooking patterns, and the needs of the outdoor consumer, as well as design trends in all regions of North America,” Lathrum adds. Knowing whether a trend has real staying power or is a passing fad isn’t easy. You have to “understand the growth of the outdoor segment in the past five years and know that the outdoor lifestyle is constantly evolving,” Lathrum states. “All we can do to remain relevant is to continue to have open dialogue with our dealers and consumers: truly to listen to what they say, how they cook, what they need, and what they would like. It is not about creating a product that is clever today. It is about creating a product that solves customers’ needs or provides an experience in their outdoor lifestyle.” While DCS tracks trends, however, it won’t act on one unless it fits the brand’s feature set and honors its integrity. Describing outdoor products that shine and sparkle merely for the
Patio & Hearth Products Report May/June 2013
Looking toward the 2014 season, the company plans new introductions in the woven category. “We’re looking at mixed-media concepts and are in the process of developing compelling designs that are focused on value for the customer,” Herenlip says. “Winston has always had a good-better-best strategy, and these new designs will be incorporated into that model.” Winston’s design direction, focused on versatility and value, supports what the brand represents to its dealer base, according to Tommy Moore, Winston’s director of product development and marketing. He says that customers have always looked on Winston as a meat-andpotatoes brand, so the company has embarked on a new advertising campaign that highlights its fresh, valueadded approach. “The theme of our campaign this year is We Build—as in yes, we build furniture, but we also build value for
our dealers, and we build versatility in product design,” Moore says, adding that an example of this is a new wood-burning firepit, introduced this year, that doubles as a cocktail table. “We’ve gotten good feedback and leads from the campaign, and I think we’ve had a successful year of reinforcing who we are,” he says. Like Brown Jordan, Winston is offering retailers more value via more options—a strategy that is guiding the company’s direction into 2014 (and beyond). “We recognize that Winston is at an important point in time, right now,” Herenlip says. “It’s the right time for us to offer mixed media, it’s the right time to go into woven furniture, and it’s the right time to go back to Haleyville. At the end of the day, though, it’s about value, execution, and performance, and we feel we’re primed and ready for this.”
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sake of appearances, Lathrum says, “We understand consumer perceptions of bling, and we understand that sometimes consumers want to see bling or glowing lights on products to help create ambience. These items look great and help capture consumer attention, but they are not necessary for premium performance.” She adds, “This does not fall on deaf ears at DCS. We cannot say we will never respond to this consumer trend, but we can study and continue to speak to chefs, consumers, and designers—and perhaps, one day, we can combine function and fashion to solve a cooking problem or enhance a cooking experience.” Helping dealers sell DCS products is a consumer-promotion package that includes outdoor demonstrations offered to any participating outdoor dealer. These are no ordinary cooking demonstrations, Lathrum suggests. They will be “a culinary experience that helps communicate the true power behind the DCS products that separates them from those of any other manufacturer,” she says. NEW FOR 2014 This year, the products and categories offered by DCS remain the same. The differences for
the brand, for 2013, are about really communicating the depth of the DCS outdoor offering. Meanwhile, DCS is focusing on its next product release: additional built-in outdoor-storage solutions. These new products will still be focused on the premium segment and all will complement the quality, durability, and function of the DCS brand, Lathrum promises. They will be ready in time for the 2014 season. “When it comes to outdoor-cooking options, DCS is a key player for consumers,” Lathrum explains. “When you get into this DCS segment of cooking products and the commitment to grilling differently and truly offering the same cooking power outdoors that an indoor kitchen offers, it is important that the investment be a lifetime investment—not just in the lifestyle, but in the product.” It all comes down to protecting and distinguishing the brand; after all, DCS has a reputation to uphold. DCS is “the pioneer of outdoor kitchens,” Lathrum states. “There are no better commercial-born products than DCS products. This is the brand that chefs, both indoors and outdoors, prefer.” DCS intends to keep it that way.