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Circle Reader Service No. 3

Unplug. Connect. The Grandview™ 230 wood-burning stove creates a place where customers love to gather. This wonderfully stylish and impressively fuel-efficient stove from Lennox’ Country® Collection raises the bar on performance. With exclusive Thermal Fin Technology (TFT ), this innovative cast-iron heat exchanger provides 32% more surface area than the standard design to deliver more warmth into the room. Plus, several elegant styling options let customers create the look they desire— while helping you close the sale. ®

By Innovative Hearth Products™ For more information, Visit www.lennoxhearthproducts.com or contact us at 1.800.655.2008


November/December 2012

| Volume 7, Number 6

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26

GUEST EDITORIAL – HPBA VOLUNTEERISM: A WIN–WIN FOR ALL

BY SHARON SANDERS

The 2012 chair of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association describes the numerous benefits of HPBA membership. 28

BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

By offering superior customer service, this Texas retailer has competed successfully with online grill stores. 30

GOOD TIMES AHEAD

MARKETING MANEUVERS – GET CONNECTED

BY KIMBERLY RODGERS

BY KIMBERLY RODGERS

The nation’s largest specialty retailer of high-end grilling and outdoor products predicts a rosy future for those in the grill industry.

Retailers across the country discover that using social media is effective in creating long-term relationships with customers. 32 22

OUTDOOR GRILLING – STAYING STRONG

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT – BRING ON WINTER Our annual report covers the latest product offerings of stove manufacturers.

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30

Hargrove recently introduced a number of new products to its lineup, giving retailers a variety of options to offer customers.

BY RODGER HOLLAND

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HARGROVE TURNS UP THE HEAT

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SHOWROOM SHOWCASE – A MASTER OF MERCHANDISING

46

BY SHARON SANDERS

BY CHERISE FORNO

BY CHERISE FORNO

Village Green’s 7,500–square-foot boutique is a popular destination for customers shopping for casual furniture and accessories.

Consumers who prefer elegant, traditional styles love Woodard’s handcrafted wrought-iron furniture.

Pelican Reef recently expanded its handcrafted rattan and wicker offerings to include outdoor collections.

48 24

CORPORATE PROFILE – WOODARD WOWS CUSTOMERS

FROM INDOORS TO OUTDOORS

34

HEARTH RETAILER PROFILE – FINDING THE SWEET SPOT

BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

BY SHARON SANDERS

This 80–year-old, family-run hearth/grill company invests heavily in product development and green initiatives.

Although it’s only eight years old, Sunset West is well known for its stylish, affordable outdoor furnishings, which resemble (and feel like) indoor designs.

BY SHARON SANDERS

Arizona and Connecticut retailers (along with a hearth manufacturer) provide feedback on the growth of the contemporary-fireplace niche. 36

AS I SEE IT – AN ONLINE SOLUTION BY SHARON SANDERS

An interview with HearthDistribution.com’s founder shows how his business helps fireplace dealers save money on their inventories.

departments 6

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LAST WORD – LOOKING AHEAD

UNDERSTANDING RETAIL

MY TURN – STEEPED IN HISTORY

STONES – PUBLISHER’S VIEWPOINT AND EDITOR’S MESSAGE

BY GREG THOMPSON

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For over 100 years, Telescope Casual has been manufacturing fashionable and durable outdoor furniture in the United States.

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INDUSTRY NEWS – Edited by Kris Kyes

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PRODUCT PROFILES

PRODUCT INNOVATION – SELLING THE SIZZLE

62

PRODUCT PROFILES DIRECTORY

62

AD INDEX

BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

Lennox Hearth Products helps retailers transform ordinary fireplace displays into dazzling lifestyle displays.

56 On the Cover | Napoleon Products

4

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Follow us on Twitter: @patiohearth www.Facebook.com/PatioHearthProductsReport


MORE LOOKS.

MORE OPTIONS. THE LEADER IN OUTDOOR FIRE PITS. Life Begins Outdoors.™

Agio® was the first in the industry to offer a way to enhance outdoor entertaining with portable gas fire pits and chat groups. Homeowners continue to look for this exciting and warm outdoor entertainment option and retailers continue to profit from delivering Agio’s outdoor fire products. With so many different styles it’s no wonder that so many retailers turn to Agio for their outdoor fire needs. To watch your sales and profits heat up, add Agio outdoor fire pits to your product mix today.

For more information on Agio outdoor gas fire pits, visit www.agio-usa.com today. Agio is the registered trademark of Agio International Company, Ltd.

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Stones PUBLISHER’S VIEWPOINT Last month, during a rainy Saturday night (yes, it does rain—every now and then— in Southern California), Justin, my 16–year-old son, popped into the DVD player “Shine a Light,” the 2008 Martin Scorsese documentary of two Rolling Stones performances at the Beacon Theater in New York, New York, on October 29 and November 1, 2006. The performances benefited the Clinton Foundation, a charity founded by former President Bill Clinton. For Justin and me, it was an enjoyable evening of eating popcorn and watching a movie about one of the iconic groups of rock and roll, with the Stones being the first rock group that I ever saw in concert. It also brought home the importance and impact of building a brand—and the sustainability of that brand, if it is built and maintained with a great amount of effort, hard work, creativity, and effective management, over the years. Even though there exist 40

from T H E E D I T O R

We launched Patio & Hearth Products Report in 2006— the same year that Tiger Woods won the British Open and the PGA Championship, that the United States had 145,000 troops stationed in Iraq, that Nintendo released the Wii in North America, and that my daughter graduated from high school. What a difference six years can make. 6

years between my younger son’s age and mine, we both like and enjoy the Rolling Stones. Between classic rock and today’s music, we have had glam rock, hair rock, alternative rock, heavy metal, disco, hip-hop, boy bands, Madonna and Madonna wannabes, and the like—yet here we are, in 2012, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones. It’s not just aging baby boomers and rockers who still listen to and enjoy the music of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood; it’s also teenagers like my son, along with hordes of other music lovers whose ages stretch across five or more decades. Building a brand is not just something that companies such as Nike, Ford, Apple, General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and other household-name corporations do. Rather, it’s something that every business does, regardless of its size. Building a brand identity that has the sustainability for the long haul needs to be a

primary goal of every company. Some brands are built on their names (Tiger—and not the animal you see at the zoo). Some brands are built on their logos (swoosh). Some brands are built on their products (Mustang). Regardless, every company needs to identify and begin to establish, early on, a brand identity based, in part, on a particular strength or a core set of attributes that can set it apart from the competition. Then, the company needs to capitalize on its strengths; market, promote and advertise those strengths; and maintain a constant focus, with a clear understanding that you can’t be all things to all people. Early on, companies such as Nordstrom and The RitzCarlton set out to provide the very best in customer service. Nordstrom sells high-quality

products, but so do lots of other department stores. The RitzCarlton is a high-quality hotel chain, but again, there are lots of high-quality hotel chains. In order to establish brand identities and help set themselves apart from the competition, both Nordstrom and The RitzCarlton made conscious efforts to provide their customers with exemplary service. They have always gone the extra mile in giving their customers a shopping/staying experience that was second to none, worth remembering, worth sharing with others, and worth coming back to experience again and again. In the cases of Nordstrom and The Ritz-Carlton, their dedication to (and fine tuning of ) exemplary customer service have paid dividends, over the years. Many (perhaps most) con-

Today, we find that the best golf years of Woods are behind him; U.S. troops have left Iraq; and many best-selling games are now played on smartphones, tablets, and laptops instead of game consoles. One of the greatest changes for me, personally, is that my daughter graduated from college and is no longer on the family payroll. Everything eventually changes and evolves. In the coming year, the editorial content of Patio & Hearth Products Report will be changing as well. It will be tighter, and topics will reflect issues that are particularly pertinent to specialty retailers in the hearth, patio-furniture, and outdoor-living industries. Instead of providing general overviews on retailers and manufacturers, we will address specific topics of interest to store owners and man-

agers. Here is a sampling of some of the ideas that we will explore in upcoming issues: • social media (using Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube to connect with customers); • merchandising strategies (tips for product selection and showroom displays); • community relations (working with nonprofit organizations and designers in your area); • public relations (generating free publicity); • inventory control (partnering with manufacturers to develop just-in-time inventory); • the hospitality market (targeting local hotels and restaurants); • cooking demonstrations and classes (displaying products in action); • white-glove service (tips for delivering extraordinary customer service before, during, and

after the sale); • accessory products (offering add-on items that create repeat customers); and • product selection (developing the right mix of trendsetting and traditional designs through crossmerchandising). You will see some of these editorial changes in this issue. In Marketing Maneuvers, we explore how two retailers use social media to reach new and existing customers. Greta Cosey, Telescope Casual’s media and merchandising manager, advises retailers on how to get started using social media. In our Hearth Retailer feature, Greg Thomas (director of sales for Napoleon Fireplaces) and two retailers provide information on the growing popularity of contemporary fireplace designs. Although future articles will cover specific topics, we will still

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Justin, Tony, Traci, and Ryan Ram

os

sumers have experienced inferior customer service from many product/service companies. As good customer service diminishes and becomes a rarity, companies that are dedicated to giving their customers a high level of customer service will find that their brand identities continue to grow and expand. Not long after The Rolling Stones hit the scene in the United Kingdom, a television interviewer for the BBC asked Jagger how long he felt that the Stones could keep going. Jagger, slightly taken aback by a question that was probably new to him at the time, dryly answered that he thought they could keep going for at least another year. Little did Jagger and the boys know, when they recorded “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” that 50 years later, they would still be entertaining and satisfying the musical interests of millions of music fans, all around the world. The Rolling Stones brand has stood the test of time—and for Jagger, Richards, Watts, and Wood, that has to be very satisfying. TONY RAMOS PUBLISHER TRAMOS@PENINSULA-MEDIA.COM

maintain the same strong focus on new products and services. Patio & Hearth Product Report’s large, tabloid-sized format is perfectly suited to providing information about the latest product offerings in the patio, hearth, and barbecue/grill markets. Since the products in our marketplace are visually appealing, it only makes sense to showcase them in the pages of a large-format magazine such as Patio & Hearth Products Report. We look forward to enhancing the editorial content of our magazine to help you better understand the business side of selling and marketing in today’s competitive environment. As always, feel free to contact Tony or me if you have topics that you would like us to address. CAROL DAUS EDITOR CDAUSWRITE@SOCAL.RR.COM


Circle Reader Service No. 7


guest editorial

PUBLISHER Tony Ramos

HPBA Volunteerism: A Win–Win for All

EDITOR

by RODGER HOLLAND

o

ver the past 20 years, I have been a volunteer in both the North Central Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) affiliate and the national HPBA, and the benefits for me and my company have been enormous. The HPBA is a member-driven organization: Its leaders are volunteers from every geographic region, representing all segments of the industry. Its activities are carried out by a very knowledgeable, competent staff in Arlington, Virginia, and in affiliate offices throughout North America. Membership in the HPBA has many benefits—including discounted service programs, complimentary badges for HPBExpo, and lower exhibit fees for manufacturers—but for me, the real benefit is being part of my industry’s organization: helping to frame its policies and developing its path for the future. It gives me ownership of my industry. The personal and professional relationships that I’ve developed, as a volunteer, are the best benefits of my HPBA membership. My involvement began, years ago, because there was a governmentaffairs issue concerning wood-burning fireplaces in Minnesota. It was clear that none of us could fight the issue alone. We needed information, resources, other people in the same business, and a plan. Eventually, the threat receded through the legislative process that we, as an association, helped to guide. I quickly learned the advantages of working together with both my customers (retailers) and my competitors by volunteering on affiliate and national committees and boards. Over the years, I have been able really to get to know my fellow industry members, to enjoy our common goals and interests, and to stand together when we are threatened by outside interests and overregulation. The HPBA has become my platform for doing business over the past 20 years. Because of my involvement in the organization and the opportu8

tramos@peninsula-media.com

Carol Daus cdauswrite@socal.rr.com

nity to develop many relationships, it has helped me expand my professional business, based on working with both potential customers and business partners through volunteering. The HPBA’s volunteers have made the organization stronger. They have increased the membership rolls, added new programs to help us run our businesses better, and made the organization strong enough to fight federal regulators. The HPBA needs its volunteers, whether in leadership positions or just paying their membership dues: Our strength is in our numbers. The past several years have been tough on the hearth industry. Government regulators have threatened the viability of some product lines, but the industry is fighting and is being heard by agencies and Congress. There are many opportunities for everyone—and they come at a cost. The commitment usually requires some time away from your business and often includes some travel expenses as well. The benefit is watching the HPBA’s amazing growth and contributing to that growth. HPBA members have volunteered and have worked to help develop programs that benefit us all. Competitors have collectively battled against regulatory challenges. Members have helped develop the National Fireplace Institute certification program and the education programs sponsored by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Education Foundation. There are peer-to-peer groups, such as the Young Guns (for the association’s youngest and newest members) and HearthMasters (for the longtime members). HPBA

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

ART DIRECTOR Cass Estes cassestes1968@gmail.com ASSOCIATE EDITOR Kris Kyes kris@peninsula-media.com STAFF WRITERS Cheryl Dangel Bartolini Cherise Forno Kimberly Rodgers Sharon Sanders Greg Thompson SOCIAL-MEDIA EDITOR Amanda Daus CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Paul Piwowar Rodger Holland

BUSINESS MANAGER

members have mounted grassroots efforts for wood stove change-outs in Libby, Montana, and in many other communities and regions across the United States and Canada. As the HPBA’s chair for 2012, I have had an opportunity work with the association’s many volunteers. It is inspiring to see everyone working together for the greater good of the industry. Both the manufacturers and affiliate members have worked to grow the industry through sharing ideas and working together. If you’re in the hearth, patio, or barbecue industries and are not a member of the HPBA, you’re missing the most fulfilling experience. Come and join us. Work with us to make our industries better for all. You won’t regret it. I look forward to seeing you at HPBExpo in Orlando, Florida, March 13–16, 2013. If you would like more information on joining or on volunteer opportunities, please contact Jamie Beaulieu (beaulieu@hpba.org) or visit us at www.hpba.org.

Susan Razetto CEO & PRESIDENT Tony Ramos

Corporate Office Peninsula Media 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 700 Torrance, CA 90503 (310) 792-7448 Fax (310) 792-7449 www.patioandhearthproductsreport.com

Tony Ramos Peninsula Media 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 700 Torrance, CA 90503 (310) 792-7448 (310) 792-7449/Fax (310) 968-3962/Cell tramos@peninsula-media.com

SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES: Patio & Hearth Products Report PO Box 2190 Skokie, IL 60076-7890 Subscribe online: www.peninsula-media.com/subscribe.html

Rodger Holland, with Holland & Hearth Inc. (Plymouth, Minnesota), is the 2012 chair of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

Email: patioandhearth@halldata.com Phone: (847) 763-9261


Circle Reader Service No. 9


{industry}

by KRIS KYES

OW Lee Announces Sales-representative Award and New Representative OW Lee, a manufacturer of high-end outdoor furniture, firepits, and accessories, has given Rod Wilcoxen (an independent manufacturer’s representative) its Sales Representative of the Year Award. Wilcoxen has been representing the company for nearly 13 years. He was recognized for his outstanding performance in achievement of sales goals, his excellence in customer service, and his support for OW Lee’s sales and marketing strategies. During the course of the year, Wilcoxen met and exceeded OW Lee’s sales goals and agreed to take on an additional 100,000 square miles of sales territory. Terri Lee Rogers, co-owner and president, says, “Rod has worked hard to grow his territory into the one of the highest-volume territories in the country for OW Lee.” His original territory included Kansas, Nebraska,

Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and the eastern halves of North and South Dakota. Recently, Wilcoxen expanded his territory to include Illinois and Wisconsin. OW Lee also announced the hiring of a new sales representative, Donna Moore, an independent manufacturer’s representative. Moore’s territory encompasses the state of Florida. “OW Lee has had representation in Florida for many years and has grown the territory by 25% in the 2012 season. Our need for a new sales representative was part of our company’s natural growth process,” Rogers says. Moore has been involved in the casual-furniture industry for more than 29 years. She started her representative business approximately seven years ago and has successfully established business relationships with retail stores and fur-

Empire Comfort Hires Matt Wiese As National Service Trainer

distributors. Wiese brings Empire Comfort Systems 18 years of experience in heating, air conditioning, and fireplace products, and he is a master certified trainer through the National Fireplace Institute.

Industry veteran Matt Wiese has joined Empire Comfort Systems as national service trainer, working with the company’s dealers and

Galtech Distributes Achievement Awards to Sales Force Galtech International issued its 2012 Sales Achievement Awards at the company’s annual sales meetings, held during the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. In honor of his 18 years of service representing Galtech International, Dick Mulcahy of San Mateo, California, was named the 2012 Sales Representative of the Year. Other sales representatives recognized for their outstanding sales achievements during the 2012 season were John Benner and Ron O’Meara of Southern California; Gray

10

Gensun Announces Sales Representative of the Year Dobbins & Son, Inc., was recognized as the Gensun Casual Living 2012 Sales Representative of the Year for providing outstanding sales and service. Jan Trinkley, vice president of sales and marketing for Gensun, says, “Gray Dobbins and his team are professional and hardworking, and they go the extra mile in support of the dealer and the company. Gray exemplifies what an excellent sales representative should possess—strong ethics and relationships with their customers, along with excellent follow-up, training, care, and communication. Adding sales growth of 55% over the previous year, Dobbins & Son earned the award with honors.”

Dick Mulcahy

Dobbins and Justin Carter of Dunwoody, Georgia; Ray Smit of Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Bob Oresman of Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

OW Lee Receives Prestigious ICFA Award OW Lee, manufacturer of high-end outdoor furniture, firepits, and accessories, received the International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) Manufacturer of the Year Award at the ICFA Awards reception in September 2012. The

Terri Lee Rogers and Rod Wilcoxen

niture manufacturers. OW Lee currently employs 20 different sales representatives and representative organizations that serve both the retail and hospitality segments.

event took place concurrently with the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. Terri Lee Rogers, co-owner and president of OW Lee, says, “OW Lee is very honored to receive this prestigious award from our retailers. This award touches each and every one of our employees, and we thank them for their hard work and dedication to our products and the company overall. We are so lucky to be a part of such a great industry.” OW Lee was selected as the Manufacturer of the Year as a result of its high point standings in a variety of categories, including quality of products, design, merchandising, customer service, ethics/trade relations, and communication. In addition, the company received a Manufacturer Leadership Award in the wrought-iron/aluminum category, as well as recognition for the Sales Representative of the Year Award for Dean Smith (of Dean H. Smith Associates Inc.).

Winston Furniture Recognizes Miles Fenn Winston Furniture, a division of Brown Jordan International and one of the leading brands in outdoor furniture (located in Haleyville, Alabama, since 1975), recognized Miles Fenn as the company’s 2012 Sales Representative of the Year. The award was presented to Fenn at


Winston’s annual sales meeting, held during the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. Fenn is a seasoned representative in the casual-furniture industry and has been a Winston sales representative for two years, covering the south Florida market. Steve Herenlip, vice president of sales for Winston Furniture, says, “Miles has garnered tremendous support and revenue for the Winston brand. We are very proud to have Miles represent Winston Furniture.”

The Companion Group Returns to Berkeley The Companion Group, a design and manufacturing company making grilling, pizza-making, and other cooking and outdoor-living products, has returned to its roots by moving its office to Berkeley, California. The Companion Group was founded in Berkeley in 1984. Its beginnings were small, as founders Chuck Adams and Doug Fielding started out selling chimney-style charcoal starters by visiting local retailers, door to door. Eventually, the company grew into the family of brands that it is today, with lines such as Charcoal Companion®, Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue™, pizzacraft®, and Planet Barbecue™. As the company evolved, it based its offices in Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville, California. Since October 2012, however, it has once again called Berkeley home. Chuck Adams, CEO of The Companion Group, says, “It’s such a good feeling to be working again in Berkeley, after all these years. I am a 1960s kind of guy, so being smack dab in the middle of this incredibly unique, diverse community truly appeals to me and to our dedicated staff, many of whom are also Berkeley residents. Doug and I see this move as an important step in strengthening the mission of our company: to grow our busi-

ness continually, with consistently innovative product design, while also providing a comfortable, dynamic workplace built with a thoughtful eye toward our impact on the local and global environment.”

The HammockSource Offers Interactive iPad Catalog Apps The HammockSource, the world’s largest manufacturer and seller of hammocks, has just released the 2013 catalogs for its two largest brands as individual interactive iPad apps. Hatteras Hammocks® and The Original Pawleys Island® rope hammock dealers can download these free apps through iTunes to flip through both popular brands with just the brush of a finger. Reid Roney, vice president of sales, says, “These catalog apps make it so simple to browse up-to-the minute information, including pricing, on whole lines of Hatteras and Pawleys products.” Both interactive catalogs not only are visually appealing and remarkably easy to navigate, but also offer immediate insights into product features simply not attainable with a conventional printed catalog. Text cues and readily recognizable icons allow users to uncover additional content instantly, from intensive product details to lifestyle photos—and even some 360degree picture packages, for a view almost like being there. “Our goal,” Roney says, “is for our dealers to enjoy the convenience and functionality of a traditional print catalog, but now with the added ease and interactivity of an exceptional 21st-century technology.” Physical catalogs are still readily available to those dealers who prefer the traditional presentation, while The HammockSource also offers browsable PDF versions of both catalogs for easy downloading to dealers who are not iPad ready.

Peak Season Introduces New Products at Casual Market Peak Season, Inc., announced its newest product line for 2013 at the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. The 2013 line features more than 25 new products in the Inspired Somerby deep seating by Peak Season Visions collection. The Inspired Visions line is a limited collection of fine casual furniture for individuals who regard the design and comfort of their outdoor spaces as an extension of their homes’ interiors. Tim Le Roy, CEO, says, “Peak Season is known for helping people feel at home outside, and the new stable of products carries out that mission beautifully.” The new products received a very warm welcome at the show. According to Le Roy, they performed as true standouts in a sea of exhibit space. In fact, the Peak Season booth enjoyed 298% more traffic this year, over its numbers from just a year ago. Attendees repeatedly remarked that Peak Season managed to be on trend and classic all at once. Some of the anchor products that were best received include Somerby deep seating, Moroccan drum tables, accent pillows, and Westwood Swivel chairs.

Olympia Chimney Supply Sponsors Educational Summits An educational summit on increasing profitability will be presented by Jerry Isenhour and Hope Stevenson for hearth retailers, contractors, and chimney sweeps. Sponsored by Olympia Chimney Supply, the three-day program will be held in Sturbridge, Massachusetts (January 15–17, 2013); Dayton, Ohio (January 29–31); Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (February 5–7); Greensville, South Carolina (February 12–14); and Madison, Wisconsin (February 19–21). The cost is $399 per person (for the first registrant from a company) and

U.S. Heritage Inspires Joe Ruggiero Sunbrella Collection Drawing inspiration from the rich cultural heritage of the United States, internationally recognized homedecor designer Joe Ruggiero featured broad themes and deep colorways in his introduction of new Sunbrella® fabrics at High Point Market in North Carolina in October 2012. Three new Sunbrella groups represent one of Ruggiero’s most expansive additions to his Sunbrella col-

lection since it was first launched, 10 years ago. Ruggiero says, “You can trace our nation’s history through its textiles and the ways in which fabrics reflect dynamic changes sweeping through the culture.” He adds that these inspirations from the heritage of the United States “are powerful and timeless, which ensures that authentic interpretations will resonate within the home-

decor marketplace.” Ruggiero’s new Sunbrella fabrics comprise three groups: Native American, Men’s Suiting, and Coastal, each with its own unique story. Colorways within these new collections are equally diverse, recognizing the consumer’s love affair with monochromatic decor that reflects leading color trends.

Joe Ruggiero’s Sunbrella® designs

$299 per person (for every additional registrant from the same company). Register by December 15, 2012, to receive $50 off the registration fee. A complimentary lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Barbara Andricks: bandricks@olympiachimney.com.

Hart & Cooley Appoints Vice President of Wholesale Sales and Marketing Hart & Cooley, Inc., has hired Roan DelVero to be its new vice president of wholesale sales and marketing. Previously, DelVero was the vice president of sales and marketing at The Tapco Group, a Michigan manufacturer and marketer of building products. He has also held management positions at Koch Industries, Chicago Faucet, and Black & Decker. DelVero brings over 25 years of sales and marketing experience to Hart & Cooley, as well as an established record of success and customer focus. Hart & Cooley is a leading manufacturer of air-distribution and venting products for heating, plumbing, and airconditioning systems. Founded in 1901, Hart & Cooley manufactures a wide variety of products, including grilles, registers, diffusers, flexible air duct, gas venting and chimney systems, rooftop accessories, and duct-system components. For more information, visit www.hartandcooleyinc.com.

November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

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{industry}

Pride Family Brands Recognizes Independent Sales Representatives

Brands Sales Representative of the Year Award went to Bill Heckman of Heckman Marketing, a Pride representative for Arizona and Southern Nevada. This award recognized overall excellence in customer service, territory and sales growth, and superior product knowledge of the company’s Castelle brand. Heckman, who began Heckman Marketing in 1990, has been a member of the Pride sales team since 2009. Steve Tunnicliffe, Pride’s representative for Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania, was recognized with a Prospecting Award. Tunnicliffe, From left: Rory Rehmert, Bill Heckman, Victor Wolf (vice who has been a member of the president of manufacturing), and Jamie Lowsky (CEO) Pride sales team since 2000, saw the highest increase in new-customer development during the 2012 season. The Most Improved Territory Award for 2012 was given to Phil Spring. As a 23-year veteran of the industry and owner of AllSpring Sales and Marketing, Spring represents Pride to the Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia (excluding Atlanta) From left: Rory Rehmert, Phil Spring, Sergio Flores (engiregion. He has been a member of neering manager), and Jamie Lowsky (CEO) the Pride sales team since 2008. The awards were presented by Rory Rehmert, vice president of sales and marketing. “Once again, Pride is proud to recognize the superior work of individuals within our sales team,” he says. “Although the awards recognize individuals, at the same time, we acknowledge that it is the hard work and professionalism of our entire network of sales representaFrom left: Rory Rehmert, Steve Tunnicliffe, and Jamie tives that have created the position Lowsky (CEO) of leadership that Pride holds within the industry.” Pride Family Brands presented awards to its high-performing sales-representation team during the 2012 Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. The 2012 Pride Family

Pride Family Brands Recognized as Outstanding Manufacturer in Cast-aluminum Category For the second consecutive year, Pride Family Brands has been recognized with an award for manufacturing superiority for outdoor furnishings in the castaluminum category. The Manufacturing From left: Joe Logan (executive director, Leadership Award is based on criteria encom- International Casual Furnishings Association); passing the entire associ- Steve Lowsky; and Jamie Lowsky ation between the manufacturer and retailers. The award was presented at a recent ceremony during the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. The recognition highlights Pride’s excellence in design, quality of manufactured goods, merchandising, customer service, ethics/trade relations, and communications. The designation is determined following a vote by outdoor-furnishing retailers in the International Casual Furnishings Association. Accepting the award at a ceremony held at the Chicago Institute of Art were Jamie Lowsky, CEO, and Steve Lowsky, the company’s president. Steve Lowsky says, “We are honored to have received this prestigious award for a second year. The entire Pride organization is proud to have our retail partners acknowledge, once again, our continuing commitment to product and customer-service excellence.”

Cal Spas Supports Local Child-development Center Cal Spas recently donated to the 21st Annual Dinner & Auction for The Child Development Center at Fairplex on September 27, 2012, in Pomona, California. The Child Development Center hosts an annual event in an effort to provide local children in need of high-quality developmental skills with the proper training and preparation for school. The center held a live and silent auction at the event to raise money toward its annual budget. Casey Loyd, president of Cal Spas, says, “This donation was the perfect opportunity for our company to help the children in our local community. Since the goal of this auction was to raise money toward educational programs for children in need, we felt it was necessary to support such an amazing cause and organization.” Cal Spas donated an 8-foot Family™ series hot tub, which was used for the evening’s live auction. The auction was the most successful to date for the Pomona child-development center. Holly Reynolds, director of children and family services at the center, says, “Cal Spas’ hot-tub donation was a huge hit at our event. We are so grateful for its support and donation, which will help change the lives of children, families, and teachers in our community.”

Casual Creations Receives Made in USA Certification Casual Creations is the first outdoor-furniture manufacturer to be certified with the Made in USA Certified® (USA-C® ) seal of certification (with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office). Made in USA Certified, Inc., is the nation’s leading third-party, independent certification company for the Made in USA claim. Made in USA Certified operates under its own authority as an independent, nongovernmental, nonpartisan organization. Casual Creations has undergone a full supply-chain audit by an independent team that has verified that all or virtually all of the core components of the certified product lines were manufactured (or originated) in the United States and that the company meets or exceeds the Federal Trade Commission’s requirements for applying the USA-C seal. Casual Creations supports the Buy American Act of 1933. In addition, 100% of the assembly was verified as conducted in the United States. When you buy from Casual Creations, you can be assured that your dollars are going to support a true U.S. manufacturer of products proudly made in the United States.

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012


NorthCape International Expands Westward, Opening Larger Facility in Los Angeles

NorthCape’s new distribution and production facility in Los Angeles, California

NorthCape International region of the United (Bedford Park, Illinois), States made it necessary manufacturer and distributor to expand our capabiliof high-quality, high-value ties. We’re excited about outdoor woven furniture and this new facility, which accessories for over 10 years, will more than double has opened an expanded disour delivery-system tribution and production capacity in the region.” facility in Los Angeles, Murray adds that the California. The new class A new facility will also help industrial building is 120% streamline North larger than the company’s preAmerican logistics, vious West Coast facility and which will improve shipwill be used to distribute the ping times. full line of warehouse collecNorthCape currently David Leibick (general tions offered by NorthCape. has five North manager, California facility) The building will also house American distribution an updated showroom where centers (in Illinois, New retailers and dealers can view NorthCape Jersey, Florida, California, and Ontario); collections. these multiple delivery points help keep This facility will allow the company to both freight rates and shipping times double its production staff and cushiondown for dealers. For high-volume dealmanufacturing capacity on the West Coast. ers, NorthCape offers a direct-import The U.S.-based manufacturing of cushions and quick-ship program that allows cushas been—and will continue to be—an tomers to receive merchandise quickly in area of significant growth for the company. season, as well as to customize orders Tom Murray, president, says, “The with items not available in the domestic growth of our business in the Western warehouse program.

Cal Spas to Host Insights Global Summit Meeting Cal Spas will host its annual Insights Global Summit Meeting on January 10–11, 2013, at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center in Pomona, California. “At the Insights Global Summit Meeting, attendees will have the opportunity to get to know Cal Spas from the inside out,” according to Casey Loyd, president of Cal Spas. “We feel everyone will be impressed with our new product line and exciting company initiatives, which will help prepare them for a successful selling season in 2013.” During the two-day event, the Cal Spas network will be thoroughly educated on the 2013 Home Resort product line and innovative features. Attendees will also be introduced to the latest sales and marketing initiatives, which were developed to increase annual revenue and foot traffic to retailer showrooms. The Insights Global Summit Meeting is open to all

members of the home-resort industry, including current and prospective dealers, suppliers, and media.

Treasure Garden Holds Company-wide Luncheon for Employees On October 8, 2012, Treasure Garden held a luncheon for its employees at the company’s Baldwin Park, California, operations—in celebration of the multiple honors and recognition that it received during the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. For the third consecutive year (and eight years overall), Treasure Garden received the Manufacturer Leadership Award in the shade-products category for its quality of manufactured goods, design, and exceptional customer service. “This was all made possible by the support of (and relationships with) our dealers,” according to Margaret Chang, COO. “Without them, this award could not have

Duraflame Introduces New Generation of Bio-ethanol Fireplace Technology Duraflame has introduced illuma™ fireplaces and outdoor firepit units, which use a patent-pending bio-ethanol burner system that is safe and simple—and that emits no smoke. This is the first bio-ethanol fireplace product developed by the Stockton, California, company. Duraflame has long been the Duraflame’s bio-ethanol burner system leader in the category of manufactured fire logs, and the company’s commitment to research and development has created opportunities for the introduction of new, innovative, and environmentally conscious fire products. Unlike other ethanol appliances, illuma uses a unique, sealed, no-pour illumafuel® canister to ensure the safe handling of liquid bio-ethanol. The single-use canister is made of damage-resistant, recyclable plastic. The opening is foil sealed and protected by a screw-on child-safety cap. The seal is broken after the canister is inserted into the unit, allowing fuel to flow safely into the fuel burner. “The illuma burner system is a significant fireplace-technology milestone,” according to Chris Caron, vice president of brand development. “Not only is illuma an extremely green and simple fireplace option, it’s much safer than the manual-pour systems offered by its liquid and gel predecessors.” Unique to Duraflame illuma fire sets, the bio-ethanol fuel canister can easily and safely be removed and replaced while the fire is burning. “The canister switch is as simple as lifting the fuel chamber door, hidden in one of the ceramic logs, and swapping out the fuel container,” Caron says. “This is the first product of its kind, designed to allow users to switch out the fuel safely while the fire is still burning.” A 1-liter canister produces up to two hours of flames. The fuel canisters are available in a six-count case.

been possible, and Treasure Garden expresses gratitude to all who helped contribute to this distinguished honor.” Treasure Garden also received the 2012 Permanent Showroom of the Year Award. This award recognized Treasure Garden’s ongoing commitment of time and effort to the presentation of its 10,000–square-foot showroom in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. On display throughout the showroom were the company’s latest product introductions, as well as the latest in fabric trends and merchandising ideas. Jeff Dorough, vice president of sales and marketing, says, “We are very happy and thrilled our showroom was recognized this year. We really strive to set the trends in shade for the industry. It was a joy to share the great news with the rest of the team during this luncheon.”

NorthCape International Announces Positive Response From Multiple Retail Segments NorthCape International, manufacturer of high-end, all-weather–wicker outdoor furniture and accessories, has announced that a positive response from the casual and home-furnishings segments was received by its 2013 collections during the recent Chicago International Casual

Furniture & Accessories Market™. Kim Golson, sales manager, says, “Overall response from both current customers and potential new customers was very positive. Many retailers are realizing the potential of the outdoor category, and the outdoor–indoor positioning of our products is a perfect fit.” The products on display in the NorthCape showroom during the weeklong market included five new collections with deep seating, dining, and multiple tabletop designs. Known for its offerings in both contemporary and traditional styles, NorthCape highlighted collections with innovative constructions, including a 15millimeter thick weave. The weave was introduced in two color options: willow and cappuccino. Golson feels that the popularity of the company’s lines for the casual- and interiorfurnishing segments is due to the indoor–outdoor use of woven products, as well as NorthCape’s ability to educate and provide insight into the outdoor category. “As interior-furnishing entities enter the category, they are learning not only about outdoor product constructions, but about the properties and design options of performance fabrics as well,” Golson says. “Our design team is able to assist in selecContinued on page 61

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product S P O T L I G H T

bring on winter Stove manufacturers hope that freezing temperatures will heat up sales this burn season. by CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

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ho didn’t love last winter? Balmy temperatures in many regions had more people outdoors, enjoying a fall that seemingly skipped right over winter and segued into spring—without the freezing temperatures that drive the wind chill down and people indoors. In reality, though, outdoor-sports enthusiasts and ski resorts didn’t love last winter. Neither did stove manufacturers, who are hoping for a turnaround. Nick Bauer, vice president of product development for Empire Comfort Systems (Belleville, Illinois), says, “The marketplace needs a strong winter this year. With the warm weather last year and currently low gas prices, there will be pent-up demand for products this winter, as long as it gets cold.” Peter Dircks, vice president of product management for Hearth & Home Technologies (Lakeville, Minnesota), says, “Warm weather over the past year certainly had an impact on stove-category sales. Indicators such as high residential fuel-oil prices and projected cold weather, however, show signs of recovery.” Dean Lehman, general manager of Hitzer (Berne, Indiana), agrees. He says, “We started out having a normal year, but things dropped off as we got into the season, and people realized we weren’t going to have a winter. Right now, too, they still may be down a little bit, from a manufacturer’s point of view, because some dealers are sitting on stuff from last year that didn’t sell.” Doug Willis, president of HearthDistribution.com (Kelso, Washington) sums it up, saying, “Dealers are very cautious and looking for the bargains.” It isn’t just the weather that has wreaked havoc with stove sales, Greg Thomas suggests, but fuel prices as well. Thomas is director of sales for Napoleon Fireplaces (Wolf Steel Ltd.), Barrie, Ontario. He says, “In Ontario, natural-gas prices are at the lowest level they’ve

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been at in 11 to 12 years. With oil prices settling in, people aren’t as panicky as they were a few years ago.” The entry-level stoves of Napoleon Fireplaces are holding their own, Thomas reports, but sales of products at midrange to high-end price points are dropping off in wood- and pelletburning categories. “If we get a cold winter and prices spike again, this could all change. The question is this: What is the level of panic? Oil got close to $100 a barrel, but that didn’t spur wood-stove sales,” Thomas says. Paul Miles, president of Miles Industries Ltd. (North Vancouver, British Columbia), notes, “If you’re a manufacturer of gas stoves, however, this is all good news. Gas-stove sales, industrywide, have been steady, although lower than pre-2007 levels. With gas prices expected to stay low, gas sales should improve.” WHAT’S SELLING Concerning what types of stoves are selling, no one seems to agree. Lehman reports that sales of coal stoves are up somewhat. “That coal is a domestic fuel, produced by U.S. workers, is part of it. People are slowly learning what coal will do—and that burning coal can be really, really clean,” he says. Chris Neufeld, vice president of Blaze King Industries, Inc. (Walla Walla, Washington), says, “There is an obvious trend toward catalytic wood stoves or (as they are being referred to) hybrid wood stoves,” noting that Blaze King has introduced two contemporary wood stoves in the past two seasons. He adds, “Sales have been about what we projected for this product category.” Patti Boker Elkon, public relations and marketing manager for Wittus–Fire by Design (Pound Ridge, New York), says, “Green, eco-friendly biomass stoves and fireplaces that are contemporary and clean burning are in

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

1 the forefront of our industry. Renewable-energy products are seeing a resurgence.” Willis reports, “We are noticing more requests for wood inserts and value-priced freestanding stoves.” Bauer counters, “For much of the hearth industry, gas is displacing wood and solid-fuel stoves in the market—both for convenience and efficiency.” Thomas reports that Napoleon Fireplaces is offsetting sales decreases for wood stoves by focusing on its high-end gas products. That being said, Thomas adds that sales in the Timberwolf line, in the $899–$999 range, are even with last year’s sales. For other products, however, sales are drifting due to the economy and competition. “That’s partly due to the big-box stores. They are all carrying stoves. More and more consumers are going to the mass-market retailers to buy those products now,” he says. For the dealers, it is a tough go. Thomas notes that dealers packaging a

stove together with a chimney system are getting the best margins. He says, “If they don’t increase the volume, though, sales will be down. We haven’t seen third-quarter numbers yet, but after the first six months of 2012, wood stoves were down considerably. Last year’s warm winter factors into it, but the adjustment of oil prices and the acceptance of that price level mean there isn’t a lot of panic out there to reduce those costs.” Lehman sees a trend toward using stoves that heat more of the house. He says, “For a lot of years, homeowners bought a smaller stove to heat a couple of rooms. What I’m seeing is more people trying to heat the total house and get as far away from any other fuel—oil or gas—as they can.” The driver of this trend, he says, is the instability of fuel prices. EFFICIENCY SELLS The one thing that manufacturers can agree on is what consumers want in


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higher–heating-value products. I think you will see more catalytic stoves in the future.”

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HEAT OR AESTHETICS When it comes to design, there is definitely a “shift toward some of the more modern, contemporary European styles. It is a slow transition, but we’re getting more requests for that type of look. Stuff that has been over there for many years has taken time to break into the North American market,” Thomas says. He attributes the shift to boredom. He says, “A lot of stoves on the market have been around for years. There are different colors and changes in doors, but the box style of stove has remained the same. If someone is doing something more contemporary, that traditional wood stove won’t fit any more.” Baldwin sees this movement as an emerging trend. “In the early years of the wood-stove industry, people purchased them for heat, and that was the driving force. Aesthetic factors were secondary. Now, they are buying stoves more for aesthetics than for heat,” he says. Thomas adds, “Much of that market is leaning toward more modern, linear products, such as a linear direct-vent fireplace (which we can’t build fast enough). Stoves just don’t have the look that generation-Y consumers want. They want something in the wall that is clean. As a heat source, they don’t want clunky stoves anymore.” Miles says, “We see general overall interest in more contemporary design alternatives, alternative fire media, and smarter control systems. While freestanding stoves are considered to be a very traditional appliance—and much of the new design focus in the industry has been on fireplaces and inserts—there is also a demand for new-style stoves.”

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a stove, regardless of the type of fuel that it burns. “Consumers are definitely looking more at efficiencies and emissions. They are asking more complex questions, based on research they have done prior to visiting dealers,” Neufeld says. According to Jess Baldwin, vice president of sales for Monessen Hearth Systems Company (MHSC), Paris, Kentucky, efficiency “is more important to them than it has been in the past. While they may not understand grams-per-hour emissions, they understand that clean burning is important. Consumers are more aware and

concerned about efficiency—and while they may not understand all the technology behind clean burning, it is high on their list of priorities,” he says. Dircks adds, “With EPA New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), all of the major players are working to provide the lowest emissions and highest efficiencies. This is a great movement for the industry, and it will help to drive more stove sales nationwide.” Neufeld says, “All of the manufacturers have seen the potential of NSPS elements, in one manner or another, and are either designing new products to address those requirements or are retooling existing products. Consumers are demanding the more efficient appliances, and it looks as though the EPA will pave the way for that with 70% minimum-efficiency requirements for

1. Blaze King’s Chinook 20 wood stove 2. The Grandview stove from Lennox Hearth Products 3. The Heritage direct-vent stove from Empire Comfort Systems 4. Napoleon’s S4 midrange wood stove 5. The Epic stove from Lennox Hearth Products 6. Monessen’s Defiant stove 7. Wittus–Fire by Design’s Cosmo stove 8. The Harman XXV pellet stove from Hearth & Home Technologies

November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

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product S P O T L I G H T Whether designs are traditional or modern, Lennox Hearth Products (LHP), Nashville, Tennessee, is taking the middle road. Michael Lewis, product manager for LHP, says, “It seems that there are more contemporary options coming into the market lately, but only time will tell whether the trend

Penticton, British Columbia. “Although we already have the most efficient B415 higher–heating-value wood stoves on the market today, we think we can always improve our numbers,” Neufeld says. “There is a cost for doing all of this, and once the NSPS has been completed and eventually becomes

sonable prices. Bauer says, “We believe in manufacturing the highest-quality products and the most aesthetically pleasing products on the market. We augmented our stoves with an available intermittentpilot model, this year, to improve their efficiency. Our intermittent-pilot systems include battery backup, and they can

all brands. He says, “With Harman, we will continue to build products that are (as the company’s motto says) Built to a Standard, Not a Price. With Quadra-Fire, we will continue to prove the motto that Nothing Burns Like a Quad.” HearthDistribution.com and Henan Hi-Flame are focusing on inserts. They

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1. Hitzer’s Energy Master I stoker stove 2. The Quadra-Fire 5700 step-top wood stove from Hearth & Home Technologies 3. Blaze King’s Sirocco 20 stove 4. The Heritage vent-free stove from Empire Comfort Systems 5. The Savannah from Monessen’s Vermont Castings

4 really gains traction.” LHP’s most recent stove, the Grandview 230 wood stove, rides the line between traditional and contemporary styles. This transitional style, Lewis says, ”allows the stove to work well in both traditional and contemporary settings. When you make a stove that promises a lifetime of warmth, it is important for the styling to be timeless.” WHAT’S NEW This year marks Blaze King’s entry into the cast-iron–stove market. It has also reengineered its gas-product line to increase efficiencies and improve performance reliability. These efforts have been coupled with numerous behindthe-scenes initiatives, including developing and expanding its marketing program, engaging multiple distributors to reduce delivery costs, tripling its sales force, and investing in a fully EPA–accredited test lab in its facility in 16

6. The Valor Portrait with the President front

the new law, we will go from there.” At Empire Comfort Systems, every direct-vent Heritage model now includes the Slope Glaze burner, which provides a flame pattern to complement the redesigned log set. Vent-free Heritage stoves include the contour burner, also with an improved log set. “In both cases, the new burners and logs greatly improve the overall look of the Heritage stove,” Bauer says. As part of an ongoing strategy of Empire Comfort Systems of filling niches and rounding out product lines, the company added compact stoves in direct-vent and vent-free versions, with both available in millivolt or intermittent-pilot systems. “We just introduced intermittentpilot models and a compact stove to make the line broader, so we will add a little height—in the form of a larger stove,” Bauer says. The company will continue to focus on introducing attractive products at rea-

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

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7. HearthDistribution.com’s Henan Hi-Flame HF737 Stallion wood stove

operate with a standing pilot, in case of a prolonged power outage.” Hearth & Home Technologies will be making several new product launches, in both wood and pellet categories, in 2013 (at HPBExpo). “Our focus is on both technology and design elements,” Dircks says. In the meantime, he says, the company is focusing on exciting new technologies and features that consumers desire across

are also offering contemporary and sideloading wood stoves, as well as and direct-vent gas units. Hitzer is excited about its stoker stoves, which operate in a fashion similar to that of pellet stoves. Lehman says, “A gear motor with a plunger pushes coal down across the grate, and as it is consumed, it drops into the ash pan—eliminating the need to wonder about shaking, which is common with gravity-fed units.” The precise control changes the rate at which coal is pushed down to the grate. “It can go from 90,000 Btu down to 7,000 Btu (on an idle burn), and anything in between,” Lehman explains.


EFFICIENT . RADIANT . DISTINCT

THE ORIGINAL

RADIANT GAS FIREPLACE

TM

FIRST CLASS FIREPLACES SOLD THROUGH A FIRST CLASS DEALER NETWORK Valor Radiant Gas Fireplaces are sold exclusively by specialty hearth retailers. Customer appeal, product reliability, heat performance and long-term manufacturer support are all key ingredients when it comes to deciding what lines to display on your showroom floor. Valor is dedicated to providing quality products that exceed industry expectations and in turn, supply homeowners with efficient, cost effective heating for many years to come. We value the dedication and support of our dealer network and are thankful for the continual growth in 2012. For more information regarding Valor and dealer network opportunities please contact Paul Miles (Director of Sales) at pmiles@valorfireplaces.com - or visit www.valorfireplaces.com.

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product S P O T L I G H T He adds, “If the temperature goes down at night, and the thermostat falls from 72 to 71, the control will ramp up, as needed, to maintain the temperature. It is always comparing and self-adjusting until it finds whatever feed rate maintains that temperature again. The amount of control is pretty phenomenal.” Hitzer’s stoker entries are reflected in its Energy Master I, a freestanding stove, and the Energy Master II stoker furnace. In addition, Hitzer is pleased with sales of its E-Z Flo gravity-fed stoves. “The main benefit is that if your power goes out, you will lose use of the blower that blows the heat into the room, but the unit will act as a radiant stove,” Lehman explains, hinting that Hitzer might enter the wood-stove market in the near term. He says, “We need to offer a full line to our dealers. The future looks good for us, and sometimes there are benefits to being a small company, even in a down market. It is easier for a small company to weather the downturns.” LHP, which has a long history of making high-quality wood stoves, has recently been thinking outside the box. “Outside the firebox would be more exact,” Lewis says. “We looked at the way wood stoves deliver heat into the room, and we noticed that there is nothing specifically designed to transfer heat. Many stoves simply rely on mass to hold and transfer the heat into the room. We saw this as a huge design opportunity. We figured that if we could engineer a wood stove to use a heat exchanger to deliver more heat into the room (and dump less into the flue), then the homeowner could heat the home using less wood.” The result is LHP’s Grandview 230 wood stove with LHP’s exclusive thermal fin technology (or TFT™) cast-iron heat exchanger. “The results of the project have been amazing. We have received a lot of wonderful feedback from customers about how impressed they are with the heating performance of the stove—and best of all, they are heating with less wood,” Lewis explains. Based on the success of the Grandview 230 wood stove, LHP plans to expand this design into a full series of high-performance wood stoves. In addition to two new clean-design stoves, the Valor Ledge and Lift, Miles Industries has added new, pilot-saving smart features to all of its products. For example, if a homeowner forgets to turn off the pilot light, it will automatically shut down after five days of no activity, 18

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1 ensuring that it won’t be on all summer, even if it is forgotten. Look for Miles Industries to continue rolling out new products. “While stoves are a smaller segment for gas products, in general, that segment is still important in the retrofit/renovation market,” Miles says. “As this is a core market for us and our dealers, we will keep developing better freestanding products.” MHSC’s Defiant and Encore stoves from Vermont Castings allow users to choose to run them either as catalytic or noncatalytic units. Introduced a year ago, they didn’t get great exposure to the consumer, but this year, the company renewed its push for the stoves. They are designed to burn using either technology, fitting the needs of casual weekend users as well as serious wood burners. In addition, MHSC added the Savannah series of steel stoves to its Vermont Castings brand. Baldwin says, “We recognized a segment of the industry that will not pay more than $3,000 for a wood-burning stove, so we developed the Savannah. The Savannah is economically priced, durable, and designed to last 25 to 30 years. Fabricated from plate steel, it offers a great value, as well as great fire viewing—and it is clean burning, too.” MHSC also is working on adding a new combustion technology and some transitional styles to the Vermont Castings line. New this fall from Napoleon Fireplaces is the model S4 midrange wood stove, redesigned to have a cleaner, sleeker contemporary look. Sales of gas stoves from Napoleon Fireplaces are up about 5% over last year’s sales; Thomas reports, “Gas stoves may climb a little bit more. We could see a double-digit increase if we get cooler weather.” In fact, Thomas suggests that gas stoves are drawing sales away from wood units, but he adds that the Timberwolf line from Napoleon Fireplaces is doing well. As for the future of Napoleon Fireplaces in the stove market, Thomas

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

says that while the company began as a wood-stove manufacturer 30 years ago, wood stoves now represent only about 15% of its sales, with the rest derived from fireplaces. He says, “While wood and gas stoves are important, in the next year or so, we’ll be coming up with more stove and fireplace designs featuring gas.” At Wittus, clean-burning systems that are highly efficient remain the focus. At the top of the list is the xeoos Twinfire double-chambered wood stove/fireplace, with a 93% efficient combustion system. Pellet stoves that provide sophisticated, automated wood burning with state-ofthe-art programming features and functions are also in the forefront. “The MCZ pellet stoves—including the Ego, Star, Club, Suite, Musa, and Toba—are significantly more efficient, and some of the models can be vented to other rooms,” Elkon says. New products include the Cosmo 1500 from Jydepejsen with four heatmemory soapstone inserts. They are designed to retain heat, even after the fire has gone out, and slowly dissipate it, evenly, for hours. Coming soon are Bodart & Gonay green Phoenix wood fireplaces, which will be available in four different sizes. LOOKING AHEAD Will all these new products sell? “Despite the lack of help from Jack Frost last year, stove sales have been steady,” Lewis reports. “I get the sense that consumers are putting more of a focus on product performance in order to get the most out of their dollars.” Neufeld says, “Shipments in the first quarter of the year were very good, but that was mostly due to early-buy orders. There’s no question that dealers have found the environment to be challenging, and that has created a need to be creative to get sales. Since the first of September, however, the season has been much better, and the sell-through has improved as well. Dealers are not sitting on large

1. Hitzer’s E-Z Flo stove 2. Valor’s Madrona traditional and Madrona contemporary stoves

inventories of our products, but I think we’re prepared to have the products they need for this season.” Elkon reports, “The marketplace is still soft—but not dead. It has been picking up recently, with the change of season and the focus on saving on heating bills.” Bauer says, “I think the forecast looks bright. There is a lot of pent-up demand due to the soft winter last year. I’m expecting a strong fall season for stove sales—and every model we added this year creates an additional sales opportunity for our dealers.” Lehman takes a more cautious approach. “I would say it looks OK; I won’t say it is overly great. Electricity rates are really up, so that helps. One fuel’s cost is up and one is down, which makes it hard to say what to expect. It is a pretty volatile market,” he says. Elkon says, “As long as the weather keeps changing, oil prices keep rising, and fall and winter storms keep happening, there will be the need for more innovative, efficient alternative heat sources. People are actively looking for alternative ways to heat their homes, so this industry is still important. They are willing to spend money on these upgrades, and even if the initial cost is more than expected, they know that they will recover it over a short period of time. Some are still holding off on purchasing now and are waiting for positive economic forecasts.” Neufeld says, “Interest rates are the lowest ever, and if there were a time to do home improvements, now would be the time. Economic uncertainty is the linchpin.” Baldwin adds, “I think we will see a change in consumers’ confidence and their outlook.”


Circle Reader Service No. 19


BARRY TEAGUE

marketing M A N E U V E R S

Retailers discover that using social media helps them build relationships with customers.

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ndependent specialty retailers still hesitant about using social media might want to consider this fact: On October 4, 2012, Facebook announced that the company had a billion active users (defined as people who signed in at least once a month). Reaching this milestone means that Facebook now connects with at least one of every seven people on the planet. According to The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report from Experian (http://go.experian.com/forms/experian-digital-marketer2012), the next two most popular social-networking sites, based on number of visits, are Twitter and Pinterest. The Experian report also states that 91% of online adults are regular users of social media. Add to these top three powerhouses a crop of other social sites (including Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, and Foursquare), and the task of social marketing becomes overwhelming for many small-business owners. For those who are members of the baby-boom generation and did not grow up with computer technology (let alone social media), the job of participating in any form of virtual marketing is even more daunting. While many retailers already use some form of social media, they might not be using social media effectively. One retailer who understands (and has studied) how to use social media to her advantage is Dottie Reynolds, co-owner (with her husband, John Chamberlain) of Casual Living, Columbia, South Carolina. Using social media, Reynolds says, “is more about getting to know people and letting people get to

Left: Dottie Reynolds Top: Erik Mueller (president, Watson’s)

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get connected know you. It is not about selling product, but about connecting with others around common interests. Social-media platforms are not a sales tool like your store’s website.” SMALL STEPS Reynolds suggests that the best way for a retailer to get started in social media is to pick one avenue, such as Facebook or writing a blog, to simplify the process. Casual Living’s connection to the digital world began in spring 2010, when Reynolds started writing a weekly blog called Outdoorlicious: All About Outdoor Living (www.outdoorlicious.com). Reynolds says, “My blog is all about outdoor living. It is not necessarily about furniture or the home, but more about connecting with people and our shared enjoyment of outdoor living. It’s about getting outside, whether it’s taking a hike in the woods or lounging in your backyard.” Giving the blog a different name than the store was intentional. “I didn’t call it Casual Living blog because I didn’t want to advertise my company through the blog. It’s all about outdoor living because that is what we love and what we hope our followers love,” Reynolds explains. There is a reciprocal link between the blog and Casual Living’s website to maximize traffic to both sites. The next step up the social-media ladder for Casual Living was joining Facebook, in fall 2010. Reynolds follows the same strategy for the store’s Facebook page as for her blog. She says, “For a retailer, having a Facebook page is not about advertising, but about connecting with people.” Reynolds optimizes her Facebook page by writing a new post or sharing information and photos every few days. Her posts might communicate a sale or show a colorful photo of a new or interesting product that

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Casual Living offers (such as birdhouses made in Nepal). More often, however, she shares fun information about the pleasures and enjoyment of the outdoors that Reynolds thinks that her Facebook followers will appreciate (such as upcoming local festivals or the history of Johnny Appleseed). Reynolds suggests that retailers not yet engaging in social media should talk to their customers and find out what platforms they use before getting started. If you are unfamiliar with (or don’t enjoy using) social media, she says, “Have an employee who is eager and energetic— and who understands your store and your voice—do it for you.” Reynolds writes her own Facebook posts and blog, but has hired a part-time employee to handle all her other information-technology needs. LINKING RETAILER AND VENDOR With stores in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri, Watson’s (Cincinnati, Ohio) is one of the country’s largest recreational-products retailers, carrying a diverse range of brands—from Gensun Casual Living and Lloyd/Flanders products to Solair retractable awnings. The company has had a presence on Facebook since 2009. Chad Showalter, director of marketing, says, “Facebook allows us to show more personality than a customer might see in our commercials or print advertising. We are able to provide fun tips and tidbits through each season and engage customers. One of the biggest benefits of Facebook has been the opportunity for customers to reach out to us—to address everything from installation issues and questions about a purchase to customerservice compliments and requests for tips on how to maintain products.” Showalter says that Facebook is a great way to show a company’s personality. “At Watson’s, our commercials shout, ‘We have all the fun,’ and our Facebook


Circle Reader Service No. 21


marketing M A N E U V E R S

Reynolds started her blog to encourage people to embrace outdoor living

page shows how we do that,” he explains. “We promote sales, but our main emphasis is connecting with customers during their daily routines in a fun, unobtrusive way.” To maximize their Facebook presences, Showalter advises, retailers should connect with the Facebook pages of the vendors that the store represents (to mon-

itor their posts and share them, when applicable, with customers). Since Facebook is also a visual medium, he adds, “Customers want to see pictures, whether they are photos of products they just purchased or a photo of that hot new item that just landed on the showroom floor.” Retailers can seek the advice of manufacturers (which have support staff and resources available) to help them navigate the social-media world. Telescope Casual (Granville, New York) has prepared its Best Practices Guide 2012: Social Media, which gives examples of how smart companies, large and small, are using social media to engage shoppers and, ultimately, to increase sales. The 29-page online report is filled with concrete examples across a variety of industries. MANUFACTURER’S PERSPECTIVE Greta Cosey, Telescope Casual’s media and merchandising manager, suggests that retailers start slowly in social media to become comfortable with the platforms that they choose. She says, “It can certainly be daunting, but for the most part, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest are all user friendly. Like any-

thing, it is a process, but the more you use it, the more comfortable you become.” Of the three most popular social-media platforms, Cosey believes Facebook has the most value for specialty retailers. She says, “Facebook allows you to post different types of content: Whether that content consists of photos, links, status updates, or news, Facebook offers it all. Twitter is limited to 140 characters and is mostly link driven; Pinterest is geared more toward photos. They have their places, and you can always tie them into a social campaign later, but if you are just starting, Facebook is where you should be.” Any retailer can download a copy of the Telescope Casual social-media guide (https://www.dropbox.com/s/ wzyi332odsazac7/NEW_Social%20Media%20Best%20 Practices%20Guide.pdf ) or contact Cosey with specific questions. She says, “Retailers understand the importance of social media, but taking the first steps can be intimidating, which is why it is important to take it slowly. I recommend reading about the options and deciding which one best fits your business model. Then start using it personally; learn the ins and outs, and once you are comfortable, incorporate it into your business.”

From Indoors to Outdoors by CHERISE FORNO

Pelican Reef has delivered handcrafted furniture in fine rattan and wicker (for

brand, and the competitive

collection are also designed

price of the products. He

to be mixed and matched,

adds that Pelican Reef’s

so the consumer can create

both residential and hospitality

success can be attributed to

unique, personalized collec-

use) to its customers for more

its status as a third-genera-

tions. The Panama Jack

than 25 years. The company

tion family business that

Outdoor product lineup

has recently expanded its

stays true to its commitment

includes the Island Breeze,

products to include the out-

to provide high-quality cus-

Leeward Islands, and St.

door-furniture sector—with

tomer service and products.

Barths collections, as well

widespread success. Allen Calzadilla, presi-

The company continues to manufacture and distrib-

as Adirondack chairs,

The St. Barths chaise

The Leeward Islands pub table and barstools

firepits, and umbrellas. The Leeward Islands col-

dent of Pelican Reef

ute diverse products in

(Chicago, Illinois), says, “In

numerous styles, ranging

lection uses a high-grade

from the Island Breeze col-

suitable for commercial

and they use recycled mate-

2005, we began the

from traditional to contem-

Indonesian teak frame with

lection feature an exclusive

applications, along with resi-

rials (to minimize their envi-

process of making our most

porary. High-quality rattan,

a natural finish. U.S. crafts-

woven sling pattern from

dential use.”

ronmental effects). “At

successful rattan and wick-

abacá (banana) and lam-

manship (using cypress

Twitchell Corp. The collection

er indoor collections into

pakanay (cattail) plant mate-

wood) is showcased in the

incorporates a tubular

ers have increasingly been

ally looking for ways to limit

outdoor versions. Then, last

rials, bamboo, mahogany,

Adirondack collection by

extruded-aluminum frame in

purchasing Panama Jack

our impact on the environ-

year, we were approached

and traditional hardwoods

Panama Jack Outdoor. The

a powder-coated espresso

Outdoor products because

ment, and we always try to

by Panama Jack to become

are used in the collections.

decay-resistant cypress

finish that protects the furni-

they can quickly receive a

use the most environmentally

its outdoor-furniture licens-

Pelican Reef’s diverse offer-

wood also has high paint

ture from rust.

wide variety of products and

friendly manufacturing tech-

ee. This projected our quali-

ings in seating, dining, bed-

retention. Stainless-steel

can easily mix anything from

niques and materials possi-

ty and price-point lineups

room, barstool, and patio-

hardware and Sherwin-

season ahead truly will be

umbrellas and firepits to

ble,” Calzadilla says.

into newly developed

furniture lines have played a

Williams paint finishes are

Island Breeze and St. Barths,

woven sectionals. “The best

Panama Jack Outdoor col-

role in making it dominant in

used to create the sturdy

due to their style, price point,

part is that their orders ship

ity to be a trend in the

lections, which have a

the casual rattan/wicker and

and beautiful handcrafted

and mixability (when buying

in three to five days, from our

upcoming season. “I predict

brand name with 34 years

outdoor markets.

designs in this collection.

from our overseas-ware-

overseas warehouse—and

that moving into 2013–2014,

of recognition/awareness by the end consumer.”

“The bestsellers for the

Calzadilla says that deal-

Pelican Reef, we are continu-

Calzadilla expects simplic-

house container program),”

most of the time, they will

simple outdoor-seating trends

products are designed for

combines an extruded-alu-

Calzadilla says. “We have

arrive faster than if dealers

will really advance,” he says.

both hospitality and resi-

Although Pelican Reef’s

The St. Barths collection

had ordered from their stan-

“We feel strongly that end

dential markets, the majority

minum frame with an exclusive, thick Viro® woven fiber.

partnered with specific

high demand for outdoor

brands to ensure the best

dard outdoor-furniture sup-

consumers want patio furni-

furniture from Panama Jack

of the furniture is made to

It also features fast-drying

warranty and quality avail-

pliers,” he explains.

ture with low maintenance

Outdoor is due to the quali-

hospitality specifications

cushions with an outdoor

able to our dealers and their

ty of the materials used, the

and superior quality stan-

fabric ideal for year-round

end consumers. Panama

meet green standards: They

brand name that they’ve

strong reputation of the

dards. The pieces in each

use and durability. Pieces

Jack Outdoor needs to be

are safe and biodegradable,

heard of and can trust.”

Calzadilla notes that a

22

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

All Pelican Reef products

and clean styling—from a


N E W

F O R

2 0 1 3

GIOS

W R O U G H T

A L U M I N U M

Circle Reader Service No. 23


hearth R E TA I L E R

W

ith 2013 right around the corner, hearth dealers intend to start the year with fresh products and ideas that will attract new customers. While there is no single recipe for success, there are a few standout trends that have shown steady growth over the past few years. One of those is the modern fireplace. Dealers and manufacturers report that sales of contemporary hearth products have taken off in a way that they never expected. The once-niche category is gaining market share not only with younger consumers, but among any consumers looking for an interesting way to bring fire into their homes.

Finding the Sweet Spot by SHARON SANDERS

Modern fireplaces are taking their places as staples for many hearth dealers. Don Richardson of Arizona Fireplaces has been selling hearth products since 1988 in some of the most upscale areas of Phoenix, Arizona. He explains that he’s been able to stay profitable, over the years, by anticipating trends—based on what is happening in the high-end home market. “Whatever is happening in custom homes is a precursor for the sweet spot in the mainstream business,” he explains. When Richardson opened a new store in the North Valley of Phoenix in early 2002, he geared his showroom around contemporary products (which was a radical move, at the time). “People didn’t even know how to spell contemporary, but I knew that was the direction I needed to head,” he says. Today, both of his retail stores are centered around products with a clean, modern feel. His store near Scottsdale has become a design center that is a destination for local interior designers and architects, as well as the public. “A designer wants to give his or 24

Top left: The LHD62 linear direct-vent gas fireplace (with driftwood log set) by Napoleon Fireplaces Top right: Greg Thomas Middle: At Arizona Fireplaces, showrooms have a clean, modern look that appeals to customers Bottom left: Carrie and Tom Swan

her clients something they haven’t seen before. We have gained a reputation for having all the cool new stuff,” Richardson says. He adds that he doesn’t pretend to be a design hotshot, always looking to the experts to confirm or deny his instincts about products. He says, “The key is to stay humble and work together to get the product mix right.” MODERN ON THE RISE Greg Thomas, director of sales for

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Napoleon® Fireplaces (Barrie, Ontario) is not surprised by Richardson’s success; as a matter of fact, he says that he’s seeing the same success, across the board, among Napoleon dealers. Thomas reports that the whole category of linear gas fireplaces has been the company’s top area of growth, over the past five years. He explains, “It would have been difficult to grow the way we have without them. We’ve seen double-digit sales increases almost every year. The catego-

Bottom right: Don Richardson


Anyonecanstart a fire

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Circle Reader Service No. 25

monessenhearth.com


hearth R E TA I L E R

Hargrove Turns Up the Heat by SHARON SANDERS

Hargrove Manufacturing Corp. (Sand Springs, Oklahoma) is a leader in the industry, with a comprehensive line of gas log products. Traditionally known

standard concrete log sets and Hargrove’s

for the beauty and detail of its logs,

forward to distance itself further from its

Hargrove has some of the best available

competitors. The newest offering in the

Radiant Heat Timbers series ceramic-fiber sets is undeniable. Hargrove is pushing the product line

series, Woodland

gas log options.

Timbers, joins the

Over the past several years, the company has expanded the

classic Cross

scope of its innovative product

Timbers and Rustic

line to include the clean-burning

Timbers models that

System 4 burner for LP applica-

have made the Radiant Heat sets what they are today. “Woodland Timbers is a different twist on what we’ve offered up to this point,” Hitchcock explains. The log set is characterized by an open look in the middle, so the intense glow and dancing fire create a soothing ambience. It also features charred chunks

tions, the premium Kodiak series for larger

that further emphasize the personality of

fireplaces, and cool-mount valve options, to

the flame. Hitchcock is eager to get the

name a few. One of the hottest advances

product on showroom floors; he says, “I

was the introduction of the Vesta

know customers are going to like what

Award–winning Cross Timbers Radiant Heat

they see.”

vented gas logs. The company is building on the popularity of the series with the introduction of its

BIGGER AND BETTER Heading into next year, Hargrove is

next-generation log set, which brings a new

retooling its line of vent-free gas logs,

look to gas logs (yet offers all the same heat-

which have the reputation of being some of

ing capabilities). Hargrove also plans to add

the most realistic in in the industry. A new

a number of other new products to its lineup

premium set, with a taller profile (to suit

that will give retailers some practical new

larger fireplaces better) is being designed.

options to offer customers.

The company will also be moving forward

Hargrove brought its Radiant Heat series to market, in 2007, with one idea in mind: to heat a space with maximum efficiency.

with a log set (at a new price point) that will round out its vent-free lineup. Hargrove is also pleased to be intro-

Unlike their refractory cousins (made of con-

ducing a new version of its replacement

crete)—which absorb heat—ceramic-fiber

refractory panel. This prefabricated panel

logs keep heat on the surface, so it easily

is designed to replace the walls or floor of

and naturally radiates out into a room.

a fireplace, which often can become dam-

Combining ceramic-fiber logs with several

aged, over time. It’s easy and cost effec-

other features of the Radiant Heat sets

tive to install, so it has become a staple

makes it possible to maximize heat transfer

for many hearth dealers.

from the fireplace to the room. Mark Hitchcock, director of sales and

The company has been successful with its large-brick–pattern panel for several

marketing, says, “Vented gas logs are not

years and is branching out to add a small-

typically known for their heating properties,

brick pattern (which closely matches the

so these are the ideal product for someone

brick in many fireplaces) as a second

who prefers a vented log, but wants a sub-

option, starting in 2013. It will come in the

stantial amount of heat.” He adds that even

same standard sizes as the original panel

in a side-by-side comparison on a dealer’s

(24x28 inches and 24x40 inches).

showroom floor, the heat difference between

Hitchcock is excited about the coming year and anticipates more growth for the company. He adds, “The emphasis of our products is, and will always be, the perfect marriage

Top: Woodland Timbers gas logs

of design and performance. Our new offerings will make it possible for retailers to out-

Bottom: Highland Glow gas logs

26

fit any fireplace.”

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

ry is going crazy. We continue to increase customize their fireplaces and make them our forecasts and production to try to a reflection of their personal style. keep up with the demand.” Richardson agrees with Swan, adding Thomas adds that the whole industry that the media type used inside a linear is seeing that contemporary design is not fireplace is much more the focal point just a passing trend; it is a change that than it has ever been for traditional modconsumers are responding to for the els. “A retailer is able to hit a whole crossfuture. The common theme for section of people by simply using differNapoleon’s new products for 2013 is ent options in the same chassis,” he going to be clean and modern, from its explains. He adds that younger connew cast-iron wood insert to its seesumers seem to like designs with edgier through direct-vent gas fireplace and a options (such as fireglass), while other three-sided direct-vent gas fireplace that consumers gravitate toward natural rock will be introduced January 1. or calming sand–log combinations. The company sucNapoleon is cessfully launched its “It’s not just about a lin- expanding its third linear gas fireproducts to ear fireplace, but what place this year—a 62include accessories else you can do with it, inch model that joins such as those that in terms of the media kits the 45- and 50-inch Swan and that go inside and the models that have been Richardson want wildly popular. “In the different lighting options. to be able to offer first month, we sold as their customers. They go hand in hand.” many linear fireplaces “It’s not just about as we would typically sell in three a linear fireplace, but what else you can do months,” Thomas explains. with it, in terms of the media kits that go Richardson believes that these fresh inside and the different lighting options. fireplace designs are getting consumers They go hand in hand,” Thomas explains. excited about fireplaces again. “People For example, the company has introwill invest $5,000 for a cool modern fireduced a stylish driftwood log set with a place before they will spend the same light kit that can be used in its new 62money for a traditional model that basiinch linear fireplace. The light illumically looks the same as it has for the past nates the logs when the fireplace is not 15 years,” he says. burning, which adds ambience and gives He adds that the real trick, going forthe fireplace a whole new look. It can ward, will be to elevate the category even also double as a nightlight. “At first, I further by getting production builders to wasn’t sure how a log set would look in a embrace linear designs. “The manufactur- linear fireplace, but I was convinced after ers that can produce models at the right I saw the clean look of the driftwood,” price point and the retailers who sell them Thomas says. are going to grab huge market share when He adds that linear fireplaces are more the production housing market comes versatile than traditional direct-vent fireback,” he says. places because linear burners span the middle of the firebox. This means that THE INSIDE COUNTS there is extra space in front of and behind As a result of the rising sales of conthe burner. With traditional burner temporary hearth products, Carrie Swan, designs, everything had to fit specifically owner of Black Swan Fireside Hearth & with the particular burner pattern. Linear Home in Newtown, Connecticut, sees an burners make it easier to expand and try opportunity for retailers to make money different things without affecting the by accessorizing these fireplaces with logs, flame and combustion of the product. glass, and other creative media that pull Swan and Richardson are energized by together the look. “If the future of the the possibilities that modern fireplaces industry truly includes more modern linand accessories bring consumers, as well as ear designs, then they need to be accesby the new customers that they are sorized differently,” Swan says. attracting. Both are expecting manufacShe compares accessorizing a fireplace turers to continue to develop products to putting together an outfit, asking, “Are that support the growth of the category. my jacket and slacks the outfit, or do I “Many manufacturers have acknowledged need a scarf, bag, and shoes to polish my the design shift and are carrying a good look?” Introducing interesting accessories selection of modern options now,” on one’s showroom floor can be the thing Richardson says. “They realize that if they that pushes customers to make a purchase don’t have a solid lineup, they are going to because it gives them the opportunity to be missing a good chunk of business.”


Circle Reader Service No. 27


outdoor G R I L L I N G

staying strong This retailer’s brick-and-mortar store competes with online retailers by offering old-fashioned service. by CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI photography by TRENT TIDMORE

t

he Grill Shoppe (Fort Worth, Texas) is a big fish in its pond, but navigating the wide-open waters of today’s Internet-based marketplace requires some skilled sailing. Like many independent retailers, The Grill Shoppe—legally known as Fort Worth Butane Company, Inc.—is a mom-and-pop business with a rich history. It’s owned and operated by family members and is dedicated to providing the utmost in customer care, from sale to ongoing service. Warren Prather, who runs the business today as its vice president, remembers his father getting out of bed to go to the business and fill propane tanks, even when a customer knocked on the door at 2 a.m. The family lived behind the shop, and that was just how business was done. Today, propane isn’t the mainstay of the business, but Prather is just as dedicated to serving the customer as his father was during those late-night tasks. The business was started in 1957, and propane kept it humming. The company brought in its first gas grill, a Falcon, in 1967. Other brands (such as Charmglow and Char-Broil) followed. “An LP gas dealer had no way of making money in the summer. People were not buying propane for their homes, so you had to do something to fill in the summer months. We got into selling outdoor-cooking products, which has overcome the other part of the business,” Prather says. He grew up in the business, starting to work there at the age of eight, sweeping floors. The outdoor-cooking side of the business began to take off in the early 1970s. “Our very first year, we sold 70 grills, and we thought, ‘Wow, we’re hanging them

28

now,’” Prather recalls. “That was the very start, until Ducane entered the market. It was like no other grill, but it sold for between $500 and $1,000—and I remember thinking, ‘Who would spend that kind of money?’” It might have been revolutionary at the time, but people did spend that kind of money, and The Grill Shoppe did well with the product for 14 years. “We did such huge numbers that it was hard to believe. There were no big- box stores. We were the only guy in town. We did well in that situation,” Prather says. Throughout the 1970s, The Grill Shoppe remained the only guy in town. Today, it has local competition, but it is one of the few retailers in Texas that carries gas grills from Napoleon® Gourmet Grills (Barrie, Ontario). “Napoleon would love to open the market down here, which would probably help me,” Prather says; he attracts customers from all over Texas. “We literally have people travel from 100 or more miles away because the small towns don’t have these products. Customers revert to the Internet to find what they are looking for—whether it be a Napoleon grill or a Big Green Egg.” TODAY’S COMPETITION While the Internet has helped customers (especially out-of-town buyers) find The Grill Shoppe, it is not always a friend to the local mom-and-pop operation. “People will say that the Internet is your best friend, but I say it is not. Texas tax laws are the main issue that is killing us,” Prather says. He continues, “If someone wants to

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

buy an $8,000 outdoor kitchen, I have to collect tax on those products; however, customers don’t have to pay that tax if they purchase out of state, from the Internet. Big Green Egg Company (Atlanta, Georgia) does not permit Internet sales, and this protects its dealers. Many manufacturers will try to control Internet sales. I’ve been told, for 20 years, that the tax situation will change, but in the meantime, it hurts sales.” Prather gets a lot of customers who visit his store to inquire about a product, such as a Napoleon grill, for example. They want to see it, touch it, ask questions, and become educated about the product—only to return home, to buy the product online. Prather explains, “The Internet helps, in many ways, but we’ve certainly taken an extreme beating here. We have to leave it up to the manufacturers to get rid of the people who are working out of their garages, without a legitimate store, and are content to make $100 a day, instead of working for someone paying them an hourly wage. It doesn’t seem to matter that we can deliver the grill and service it. Price still wins out; if purchasers can save even $20, they will buy the grill online.” Often, when customers disclose that they came to the store for research prior to an actual online purchase, Prather will sit them down at a computer so that they can compare the two product offerings. He says, “They will tell me that they are saving $80 on a Napoleon; however, when we go to the website together, they find out they may have to wait six to eight weeks for delivery, and the grill comes unassembled. Even that doesn’t usually

make any difference. They will almost always go for the $80 savings.” Sometimes, however, Prather does win. The key, he says, is getting customers into his store. If he can do that, he has a fighting chance. He says, “I can get a lot out of them and sway them to change; however, those we can’t get to come into the store are the ones we lose.” To get around the Internet, Prather relies on good old-fashioned word-ofmouth advertising. “Satisfied customers are still the best advertising. We’ve been here for a long time, and we’re a momand-pop operation. A lot of people like to deal with the owners, and word gets around,” he says. To help protect independent retailers, Napoleon has implemented an Internet minimum advertised price. This gets around the lack of sales tax because the Internet minimum advertised price is higher than the price on the retailer’s floor. Kimberly R. Stuteville, Western U.S. regional sales manager for Napoleon, says, “As far as this situation correcting itself, I feel—based on research—that consumers are still not comfortable buying a grill online.” She adds, “Research shows that 60% of consumers will conduct their research online, but they want to touch the product before they put it in their backyards. Thus, retailers such as The Grill Shoppe, by focusing on the consumer’s in-store experience, will win the consumer and create a customer for life.”

From left: Robert Melendez, Candice Prather, and Warren Prather


Circle Reader Service No. 29


outdoor G R I L L I N G

Good Times Ahead by KIMBERLY RODGERS

Thomas Liu, vice president of product at Barbeques Galore, remains bullish on the general health of the outdoor industry. “Outdoor cooking—most of all, entertaining—has been

Top left: The T grill Crossray

a staple of our culture and is a pastime that will continue to be a part of our daily lives,” he says. “The ability to gather everyone

Top right: The Odeon Crossray grill

and to be able to entertain will only grow (along with outdoor kitchens and products) as the economy grows.”

Left: The Totum HLS

Founded in 1980, Barbeques Galore, a division of Grand Home Holdings, Inc., is the nation’s largest specialty retailer for high-end grilling and outdoor products. With headquarters in Ontario, California, Barbeques Galore has 40 stores concentrat-

gle most significant factor in creating

ed in the states of California, Arizona, and Texas. At this time,

success because it is the customer who will refer and recommend the

according to Henrik Stepanyan, COO, the company does not plan to add any new company-owned locations, but it did

Introduced by Barbeques Galore in 2009, Crossray uses

new technology, driving attention to why it is superior.”

announce (in 2011) it was relaunching its franchising opportuni-

infrared technology to cook food more evenly and in less

Because Barbeques Galore is confident that consumers will

ties. “We foresee growth in this area,” he says.

time. Four laterally mounted infrared burners provide a com-

be amazed by this advanced technology, it is offering a 30-

pletely uniform cooking surface, consistently producing moist,

day satisfaction guarantee on all Crossray grills purchased by

names in the industry, including Weber, Lynx, Twin Eagles, Fire

tender food while using 50% less fuel (and emitting up to

December 31, 2012.

Magic/RH Peterson, and Big Green Egg. In addition, the com-

80% less smoke). According to Liu, sales of Crossray prod-

pany designs and manufactures its own line of outdoor products, including the innovative Crossray® technology, available in

ucts have been steady.

many grill sizes and models to satisfy the requirements of any

new technology time for customers’ acceptance and

says, “We have reintroduced our new Turbo Elite unit, which

outdoor kitchen.

approval,” he says. “More important, customer use is the sin-

packs in superior performance and many features at a very

In its extensive lineup of products are some of the best

“To exceed expectations, however, we need to allow a

The company’s Turbo series (which includes the Turbo, Turbo Elite, and Grand Turbo models) continues to be Barbeques Galore’s most popular and consistent seller. Liu

aggressive price point; this has enabled us to sell out of our entire stock twice within six months.” Constructed of 304-grade stainless steel, the Turbo Elite is available in cart or built-in models. It features four or five main burners, plus an infrared rotisserie burner. Beyond grills, other revolutionary outdoor products from Barbeques Galore include the Totum HLS (or heat, light, and sound) system. An advanced version of the already-popular sleek Totum radiant-heating unit, Totum HLS is a total outdoor-entertainment system that incorporates radiant heat, LED mood lighting, and sound (through high-quality speakers, via MP3-player connectivity). Unlike traditional outdoor heaters, the Totum HLS provides radiant heat to an area with a 16-foot radius. Up to 32 units can be synched through one MP3 player or smartphone, for larger outdoor spaces or commercial applications. Both Liu and Stepanyan are optimistic about the future of the industry—and of Barbeques Galore’s future contribution to it, through its continuing offering of innovative products that enhance consumers’ enjoyment of the outdoor room. Liu says, “This industry has always had its up and downs; everything will be fine, if not better.” He adds, “Barbeques Galore, like the economy and our industry, has gone through its own cycle. Our business has seen its share of changes in all of our three markets, and adjustments have been made. We will continue to adjust, but the power and equity behind our brand name, superior knowledge, and outstanding products will carry us forward—as they have for the past 32 years.” Stepanyan says, “The future is looking bright; we are working on finalizing new products for next year. We have streamlined many processes and are poised to have a

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

great 2013 and beyond.”


The Big Green Egg product line attracts many customers to The Grill Shoppe; pictured: Warren Prather (left) and Robert Melendez

SERVICE SELLS If there is one thing that Prather offers that no Internet entity can, it is customer service. He says, “Customers feel that we have always given a fair price and superior service. We do what we say we’ll do. People tell others to come here because we’re the people to deal with: Others say, ‘I hear you’ve got the best price,’ and I hate that. Maybe my price is best, but I’d like to think they visit our store for other reasons.” Customer service is the key, Stuteville suggests. “Even for tech-savvy consumers who are comfortable buying products online, when it comes to something like a grill, they want the personal service they receive from retailers such as The Grill Shoppe. Texans are big on relationships, and the team members at The Grill Shoppe see friends walk in, not customers. An online retailer cannot recreate that feeling with the click of a mouse,” she adds. Today, The Grill Shoppe carries it all: gas grills, ceramic cookers, smokers, and much more, including gas logs, gas lights, and many accessories from manufacturers such as Napoleon, Big Green Egg, Traeger, Modern Home Products, Lynx, TEC, Broilmaster, Evo, Fire Magic, and Hasty-Bake. Napoleon products occupy a considerable amount of Prather’s floor space, and he hopes to add more Napoleon items. He says, “It is a great organization, with great products, from gas and charcoal grills to heaters, Patioflame outdoor fireplaces, built-in grills, and freestanding grills.” He continues, “Ted Scott and his team run a good organiza-

tion. In the near future, my plan is to add more Napoleon products (such as waterfalls) to the showroom floor. Many other manufacturers’ products are available to me; however, it confuses people when there are too many products to choose from, so I have to be careful not to crowd the showroom.” Back in the heyday of propane, the business employed eight to 10 people; there were truck routes and delivery schedules to be maintained. The route part of the business was sold several years ago. Today, the business is as streamlined as it is efficient. It includes Prather; his right-hand employee, Robert Melendez; and Prather’s mother, Estelle, who still owns the company and answers the phone. “All the customers love her,” Prather says. His wife, Candice, assists with marketing efforts for the business. Melendez, who has been employed by the business for 16 years, does everything, according to Prather. He explains, “He handles the LP part of business and assists me on the sales floor. People come in and look at a product, and I ask them, ‘Do you want to grill on it tonight?’ We can make that happen. Melendez delivers the product to the customer’s home, performs setup, and answers all questions. He does sales and service. He is a very valuable part of the business.” As for Prather, he defines his job in simple terms: “All I do is explain what a product can or can’t do. I’m not a great salesperson—just a good

informer. A salesperson can sell you things you don’t need. That’s not how I roll,” he says. In the battle of the Internet versus The Grill Shoppe, Prather and his team are holding their own and might be actually gaining ground. Due

to market conditions, some local competitors have fallen by the wayside, while The Grill Shoppe has picked up steam. “I’d like to see more growth, and things are in the works for the future, but I’m not at liberty to say what, at this point,” he reports. What’s more, Prather plans to take charge of the Internet. While The Grill Shoppe has a website, it doesn’t have a shop-

ping-cart feature that allows online purchases. “My goal has always been to get people to come into our building, but there are people out in the middle of nowhere who have little choice but to shop on the Internet. We plan to offer them that convenience,” he says. Will The Grill Shoppe and the Internet ever be friends? Prather says, “As soon as manufacturers level the playing field for the independent businesses and the Texas tax issue is addressed, the Internet won’t be able to offer anything I can’t.”

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Circle Reader Service No. 31

November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

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showroom S H O W C A S E

a master of merchandising Village Green stands out from the competition by offering product displays and a shopping experience that mass retailers can’t duplicate. by SHARON SANDERS photography by LAEN NEAL

r

ockford, Illinois, is home to more discount stores and big-box retailers than any other city of its size in the Midwest. Specialty patio/garden retailer Village Green has been doing business in Rockford since 1965—and has seen its market share slowly shrink. Instead of conceding, Village Green chose to embrace its niche as a high-end outdoor-living retailer and is using the power of merchandising to woo customers. Village Green started as a typical garden center—selling fertilizer, chemicals, and plants—and has transformed itself, over the years, into a shopping destination that shows the joy of outdoor living in all of its glory. Its impressive 8-acre property is home to several greenhouses (bursting with thousands of annuals), as well as to a garden center and nursery with a large selection of everything for the garden: plants, pots, fountains, statuary, arbors, benches, and birdbaths. In addition, a 7,500–square-foot boutique provides furnishings and accessories for interior decorating. The property’s crown jewel, though, is its 15,000–square-foot sunlit atrium (with

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

ceilings 20 feet high), which houses one of the Midwest’s largest collections of high-end casual furniture and accessories. Village Green built the atrium showroom in 2004 as a way to set itself apart from other retailers in the area, including the big boxes. Prior to that, its casual furniture was displayed in converted greenhouses. “We needed to have a central showroom so we could merchandise our products the way they should be merchandised,” owner Larry Smith recalls. Within three years of finishing the showroom, the store’s sales had doubled. The appeal of the atrium was that it made it possible for Village Green to integrate garden products with casual furniture naturally, to create a true outdoor-living destination. Jessica Salisbury, general manager, oversees all of the store’s merchandising. She explains, “Our atrium showroom is reminiscent of an airy outdoor garden, but because it’s inside, we can sell no matter what the weather is.” Customers can meander through the showroom on cobblestone walkways, passing fully


Top: Village Green's fresh and interesting product displays have become its signature Top right: Village Green uses natural plants from its nursery to add interest to its showroom Bottom left: Jessica Salisbury and Larry Smith Middle right: Village Green's airy atrium showroom sets it apart from other casual-furniture retailers Bottom right: Textures and bright colors inspire customers

best we can. It comes down to a matter of attracting the right people into our store: those who understand the value of what we sell.” While Village Green has a loyal customer base that has been around for years, it sees its biggest challenge to be that of getting more people onto the site. “I can tell, by looking at our parking lot on a Saturday, that while our sales may be up that day, our customer base is not. For the amount of furniture that we have and the merchandising efforts we put into our store, we need to be adding new customers continually,” Smith explains. The store has had its successes and failures with new ideas. “At one time, we opened a high-end interior-furniture store that was designer driven, but that didn’t work out,” Smith says. “We tried a Halloween store, but that didn’t fit our image. We are aggressive, but not reckless when it comes to trying new things. I believe that if you aren’t growing, you are going backwards. We will have a bright future if we keep that in mind.”

accessorized patios and decks. Foliage from the gardens is used to pull the settings together with color and texture. “Our products are our props, creating the kind of environment that other stores don’t have the ability to duplicate,” Salisbury says. She has a team of merchandisers working year round to keep every aspect of the presentation in top shape. Salisbury points out that garden center is a natural draw that gets customers to visit the atrium, especially in the spring, when people have the urge to plant. She says, “Whether it’s springtime or the holidays, people come to Village Green to get ideas and make purchases. If we didn’t have the garden element, we would only have a fraction of the traffic. The combi-

nation of garden center and casual-furniture retailer is the perfect match.” THE RIGHT CUSTOMERS All of Village Green’s efforts, over the years, have transformed it into the Rockford area’s premier high-end patio retailer, but Smith admits that there are some drawbacks to that reputation. She says, “Many people in town don’t shop with us because they are of the opinion that we are too expensive.” She adds, “They don’t, of course, take into account the fact that the products they purchase elsewhere will not be of the quality (or have the service support) that we can provide. We realize that we have a limited audience and try to appeal to it as

DISPLAYS DRIVE SALES Kim Golson, sales and marketing manager for furniture manufacturer NorthCape International (Chicago, Illinois), has seen firsthand how retailers such as Village Green have used the power of merchandising to increase the appeal— and ultimately, the profitability—of their stores. “As a consumer myself, when I walk into a showroom or even into an outdoor area of a retail store, I want to see furniture positioned the way it would be at my house—like rooms to go,” Golson says. She points out that almost 90% of retailers use vignettes. Good merchandising helps people who might not November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

33


showroom S H O W C A S E

Understanding Retail by SHARON SANDERS

Top: The Coronado collection Middle: The Venice collection Left: The Montecito club chair

In today’s retail environment, casual-furniture manufacturers have to do much more than build furniture: They have to know

He says, “There was really well-built,

seating to dining, chaises, and

can tell a customer what is available

introduced last year, has been its

comfortable furniture that was

barstools.

(or the next date of arrival, if a prod-

biggest seller to date. Its appeal lies

uct is not available immediately). The

in its comfort and design; Stewart

being sold at The Home Depot that

to complement their other outdoor

app also gives dealers up-to-the-

says, “It’s styled from resin that looks

retail. Sunset West (with its head-

were not appealing, nor were they

items. If they’re selling barbecue

minute information on pricing, dis-

and feels like natural wicker, and its

quarters in Vista, California, and a

comfortable—so we targeted the

islands, they need barstools, and the

continued items, and new products.

light driftwood color is a refreshing

warehouse in Dallas, Texas) made

price point in between and provided

same goes for chaises around a

its way onto the casual-furniture

both comfort and style.”

pool. We make pieces to fit our cus-

large-purchase dollars against things

tomers’ senses of design, style, and

like indoor furniture, big-screen tele-

gressive spring system, which

scale,” Stewart says.

visions, new cars, and vacations, so

makes the seating comfortable for

they need to be able to give cus-

anybody—at any size. For the com-

tomers answers immediately or risk

ing year, the company is introducing

scene eight years ago and has

expensive, and then there were sets

The inspiration behind all of

“We know retailers need furniture

“Patio stores are competing for

change.” He also gives credit to its pro-

become part of a new generation of

Sunset West’s furniture is comfort.

manufacturers—not only tuned into

Every piece of its furniture is as com-

what consumers want, but also

fortable as something that one would

understanding how to help dealers

find in a family room, and that,

losing the sale,” Stewart says. “The

a dealer-requested cognac brown

turn a profit.

according to Stewart, is good, clas-

tle bit of everything so that they can

app gives dealers a greater level of

version of the Coronado called

sic furniture design.

appeal to all different kinds of cus-

control of a sale than ever before.”

Montecito.

Owner Wes Stewart hit the ground running in 2005, from the

“What I learned, during my

JUST IN TIME Retailers today want to carry a lit-

tomers. They can’t do that, though, if

The app is just one example of

“Dealers who love the Coronado

moment he decided to start Sunset

indoor-furniture days, is that furniture

all of their money is tied up in holding

how Sunset West tailors everything it

wanted a darker weave option, so

West. “I’ve lived and breathed furni-

has to appeal to the eye and feel

inventory of only a few different

does to make life easier for retailers

we are giving it to them,” Stewart

ture all my life. Growing up, my fami-

good to the touch—because that’s

types of products.

on the sales floor. Its price lists are

explains. The company is also

ly’s business was indoor upholstery

what entices someone to sit down in

clear. It keeps its fabric swatches

launching its Venice collection, which

and seating, and I spent time in

it,” he says. That philosophy has

just-in-time inventory that gives

been translated into all of Sunset

retailers the option of buying as

simple (by only offering one price grade for 80% of Sunbrella® fab-

features a rounded, open weave and

manufacturing and sales,” he says. During his 15 years as a sales repre-

West’s designs, from the hand of the

much or as little as they need—when

rics). Its furniture collections are

are seeing tremendous interest in

sentative, Stewart was exposed to all

fabric and the comfort of the cush-

they need it. This means that a deal-

straightforward. “The easier our

both collections and can’t wait to get

of the concerns and issues that retail

ions to the type and texture of the

er can order a container of furniture

product line is to learn and sell, the

product on dealer’s floors.”

stores had; this knowledge became

resin used for its frames.

and supplement its inventory at the

more confident salespeople will be

end of the season or order a single

when they are showing it to cus-

growth path and is eager to grow,

set for a customer.

tomers,” Stewart says.

together with its dealers, in 2013. “I

the launching pad for his company’s business model. “Consumers have a lot of furni-

“Outdoor furniture can have that unmistakable outdoor-furniture look; our furniture could just as well be sit-

Sunset West is committed to

has an island flair. Stewart says, “We

Sunset West is on an incredible

feel that the company is focusing on

In September, the company intro-

ture to choose from, but the key is to

ting inside someone’s home,” he

duced an iPad app at the Chicago

NEW FOR 2013

have them choose yours,” Stewart

explains. The collections that Sunset

says. Before he developed the

West offers include everything that a

International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™. The app

offering 17 collections that are strik-

manufacturer that listens to and

Sunset West line, he took a serious

customer needs to pull together a

makes it possible for dealers to

ing in every detail. Its wildly popular

understands retailers for many years

look at the casual-furniture market.

complete outdoor room, from deep

check inventory in real time, so they

Coronado collection, which was

to come.”

have a penchant for design. Golson says, “It even inspires people who have a design eye because it gives them reassurance that their ideas are OK, and it stretches their imaginations.” Golson explains that retailers who are always thinking of ways to freshen their showroom floors seem to be the most successful. Based on her experiences, she recommends that retailers change things at least twice a month. “I know that’s hard to do, but it keeps things interesting for customers and helps turn merchandise 34

For 2013, the company will be

more quickly,” she says, adding that even minor activities (such as changing decorative pillows, rearranging collections, and moving furniture) make a big difference. She also emphasizes the importance of merchandising full collections (sofa, love seat, chaise, and dining set) on the floor to show customers that the retailer is committed to the vendor. “Why would a customer get excited about a vendor if it appears that the retailer isn’t?” she asks. On the flip side, Golson tells retailers not to be dis-

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

the right things, right now,” Stewart says. “We plan to continue being the

couraged if they don’t have large showrooms to display collections. There are ways to make smaller spaces work, especially with the special-order capabilities that many vendors offer today. “All a retailer needs to do special orders is a catalog, great pictures of the furniture, and a resin sample,” she says, adding that NorthCape International sells to many retailers that have only 2,500–square-foot showrooms and that carry lines from several different vendors. “Some of our smaller dealers are big numbers for us,” she says.


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As I See It

A N ONLINE SOLUTION HearthDistribution.com helps hearth retailers remain profitable in challenging times. by SHARON SANDERS

L

agging sales and low margins are problems that continue to plague the retail sector. Five years ago, Doug Willis, a hearth-industry veteran, founded HearthDistribution.com (HDC), an online hearth-distribution operation—the first of its kind—that provides specialty hearth retailers with a selection of high-quality, great-value products. Patio & Hearth Products Report spent some time with Willis to delve into the details of his concept and to uncover why it has such potential to boost dealers’ sales and profits.

How (and why) was HDC born? Willis: HDC came about because of my passion to help retailers thrive in today’s economy. I’ve been in manufacturing and hearth sales for 25 years and have seen, firsthand, how much markup manufacturers add to every product to cover overhead costs. I’ve also seen, unfortunately, how early buys can cripple a seemingly healthy retailer. I wanted to start a manufacturing/dis36

tribution business that was able to supply dealers with quality products that are price leaders. The concept of early-buy pricing—without the early-buy requirement—was and is our foundation. HDC is the first e-commerce distribution direct business ever. All of our business is done online, and we only sell to dealers and OEMs/manufacturers.

Top left: Doug Willis Top: The 577IU3 fireplace insert Bottom: The HF-737 noncatalytic wood stove

What gives the company an edge in today’s marketplace? Willis: Our business model is very different from the traditional manufacturing and distribution model. There are only two steps from the factory to the dealer: First, HDC’s factories ship products to its distribution center in Kelso, Washington; second, the products are shipped directly to retailers. In comparison, in the traditional model, many U.S. manufacturers travel abroad to source goods (through an agent); develop a production plan; ship

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

containers to a U.S. facility, where repackaging occurs; and sell the products to distributors, who finally sell goods to dealers. Our simple business model has been effective because it enables us to cut out operational costs that are typically passed on to dealers.


Circle Reader Service No. 37


as i S E E I T What range of products does HDC offer? Willis: HDC primarily covers the hearth industry, with wood stoves, hearth pads, and gas logs, but has recently gone deeply into fire glass, firepits, and related do-ityourself gas components. We manufacture all of the products that we sell; we don’t cut any corners, when it comes to quality. Products are UL listed and are certified as meeting UL standards.

How does the company select its products?

Our thought is this: Why would we offer a dealer a product that is of exactly the same quality and price as another product that the dealer sells? Our more than 1,200 dealers count on us to provide the best values—in every category.

What are the benefits of working with HDC (versus a manufacturer)? Willis: HDC offers an alternative way for dealers to buy hearth products that allows them to control costs, reduce inventory, and enjoy high margins. It’s a matter of looking at purchasing differently. HDC

eliminates the guessing game that retailers play every time they participate in earlybuy and dating programs. Retailers are taking a huge risk when they don’t know what the sales season will bring. To be competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s economies, retailers need to think leaner and focus on value-added transactions. In the past, retailers could overbuy without much consequence, but today, they need to implement just-in-time inventory management in order to survive.

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Willis: Our prime consideration in product selection is quality. Price does not matter to us if quality is not built into the product. Quality is followed closely by the value of the product. If HDC is not able to be a price leader with a product, it won’t become a part of the HDC line.

“To be competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s economies, retailers need to think leaner and focus on value-added transactions.”

Willis: HDC offers truckload pricing for orders with a quantity of one. In other words, if a dealer buys one stove or 100 stoves, the price is always the same. This is something that makes us who we are. We don’t have the tiered pricing that is built on the premise that the more you buy, the better the price will be. Dealers can’t afford to purchase that way anymore. HDC requires no minimum quantity, with 50:50 multipliers. In essence, we hold dealers’ inventories, so they are able to have zero extra stock at the end of the season. If dealers are stuck with extra inventory at the end of a season, manufacturers will ultimately feel the pain as well, when buying season rolls around again.

What would you say to someone who is skeptical about buying a hearth product that is not from a bigbrand company?

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Circle Reader Service No. 38

38

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Willis: I would first ask this: Did the brand make the

dealer, or did the dealer make the brand? The hearth industry is not driven by consumer brands. People go to a specialty hearth dealer for expert advice, and nearly 80% of the time, people will buy what a dealer recommends. If a dealer has a high-quality hearth product that fits a customer’s needs, the brand is (in many cases) not a factor in the final purchase decision. I personally believe that dealers have built the brands that we have today. The brands didn’t build the dealers.

How can HDC affect dealers’ overall profits? Willis: It’s simple. How can dealers increase profits? They can raise prices, which doesn’t work. Another option is to market more to get new customers, but that incurs costs without a guaranteed payback. The only ways to increase profitability are to work wiser, shop differently, or buy better. How can a retailer buy better? That’s by going to the next price tier. With HDC, dealers don’t have to commit to more inventory to get better pricing, so they can turn their inventory faster. When they come to me, I’m able to offer them products that they’re already selling (the essentials) at a lower up-front cost. The best news is that we’re good for business in slow-economy times, as well as in good-economy times.

What’s next for HDC? Willis: Our dealers have been asking us to expand into grills, and we have found the perfect product to launch us into the grilling category. We are about ready to introduce a unique pellet grill that people have never seen in the market. Not only is the product unique, but it meets the HDC requirement of extreme value (quality and great pricing). We have done well with wood stoves over the past few years, so we are going to be introducing a number of new models (as well as some wood inserts) for 2013. Going forward, HDC will continue to stay in touch with the industry and dealers so we can produce and offer products that will help specialty hearth dealers enjoy more profit for many years to come.


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Circle Reader Service No. 39


my T U R N

Steeped in History Telescope Casual Furniture has been making high-quality, affordable furniture in the United States for over 100 years. by GREG THOMPSON

t

he makers of Telescope Casual Furniture have weathered one Great Depression, several smaller recessions, and everything in between, but the Granville, New York, manufacturer has kept plugging away at its work for more than a century. During that time, the venerable company has resisted the urge to make its product overseas, content to stay close to its roots. Bill Vanderminden, executive vice president, reports that despite paying workers undeniably higher wages than its foreign counterparts do, the 109–year-old company managed to increase sales by single digits in the 2012 fiscal year. “Considering the environment, we felt that was a step in the right direction,” he says. “We are in the contract market, as well as retail. Retail is certainly a larger portion of our business, but the contract aspect has been growing.” Vanderminden does not hesitate to encourage the retailers carrying Telescope Casual Furniture’s products to pursue their own contract business. In fact, he believes that going after hotels, motels, and restaurants is a sound business strategy. “Our con-

40

tract-sales manager, Ira Felsen, created a program wherein retailers can set up a small 10x10-foot space in the store for some commercially oriented furniture,” Vanderminden says. “You never know who is walking through your door. A customer who comes in to buy patio furniture might own a local motel. Retailers should promote the fact that they are the local experts, when it comes to outdoor furniture.” RETAILERS AS FAMILY The family culture at Telescope Casual Furniture extends to loyal retailers willing to commit early to seasonal purchases. “If retailers get their orders in by a certain date, they can get a percentage discount off their in-season prices,” Vanderminden explains. “On top of that, they get extra time to pay.” It’s great for retailers, but Vanderminden admits that the company’s accountant occasionally complains about not getting paid until late spring or early summer. “The benefit, for us, is that we can operate as a 12-month factory and not lay people off for half the year, which is obviously important to our 250 employees and 30 independent sales reps,” Vanderminden says.

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

“This is more than just a discount program,” he adds. “It’s a commitment program where retailers are committing to us by buying in and bringing in a certain amount of product. We can deliver that product—in season—and in a timely manner, so they can be the local specialty professionals. Retailers must be able to rely on a manufacturer. If they commit to us, we truly commit to them.” Loyal Telescope Casual Furniture customers have embraced the company’s stacking sling chairs, over the years, and last year, a chaise retailing for $199 also did well. “We introduced two new collections called Villa sling and Villa cushion,” Vanderminden says. “Those collections performed very well at more of a middle price point. We were able to show value there, even though they weren’t the least expensive items in our line.” Another strong area continues to be furniture made from marine-grade polymer (MGP), a resin material that partially recycles polyethylene-based substances to create a superstrong material. To date, nine MGP collections have been introduced, with the Leeward sling collection being a par-

ticular standout. “This year, we created a new MGP Adirondack chair and won an International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) Design Excellence Award for it in the resin/fiberglass category,” Vanderminden says, “and as a pleasant surprise for us, we also received a Manufacturer Leadership Award for the resin/fiberglass category—and four years ago, we weren’t even in that category. We had won in the aluminum category before, but this was a telltale sign that we were doing something right.” The lion’s share of Telescope Casual Furniture’s business still comes from aluminum, but the possibilities for

Top left: Ocala sling dining Bottom left: Dash sling dining Bottom right: Adirondack chairs in marinegrade polymer Top right: Leeward sling 2 seating in marine-grade polymer


things. It creates new design and product opportunities. It’s relatively expensive material, so you must be concerned about the waste you’re creating when building a design. We have new frames made out of MGP that are unique shapes that we might not have previously done in aluminum.”

MGP continue to expand. Pushing in the polymer direction is definitely on the agenda for Telescope Casual Furniture’s engineers, but there are limitations, primarily due to the relatively high cost of MGP. When working with aluminum extrusions or castings, having multiple new designs is not cost prohibitive. Working with MGP, however, requires caution. “MGP starts as a solid sheet of very dense material that we cut using computer numerical control routers,” Vanderminden says. “Any shape you want to imagine, you can cut on these

DIRECTOR’S CHAIR ENDURES In 1953, Telescope Casual Furniture patented the director’s chair with replaceable seat covers. Vanderminden’s father, Bob, came up with the idea, which featured fabric wrapped around a dowel and slipped into a groove in the seat. Prior to that, canvas covers were nailed to frames. Bob Vanderminden won an ICFA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, commemorating a career of innovation. Almost 60 years after Bob Vanderminden redesigned it, the Hollywood-staple director’s chair remains popular in the entertainment industry. As recently as the 2012 Olympic Games broadcast, the goldmedal–winning women’s gymnastics

Circle Reader Service No. 40

team members all sat on Telescope Casual Furniture director’s chairs while being interviewed on the “Today Show.” “It’s still an important part of our business,” Vanderminden says. “Our director-chair business is up considerably this year, and it is exciting for me to see our product on television.” While celebrity clients embrace the iconic director’s chair, most of Telescope Casual Furniture’s pieces are aimed at middle- to upper-middle–income consumers. “They are willing to go into a specialty retailer and buy a product of a little bit nicer quality,” Vanderminden says. “It’s true that a lot of customers will go into the big-box stores and buy something inexpensive, but we’ve worked really hard at addressing the concerns and needs of a demographic that cares about enduring quality and U.S.-made products.” In addition to higher U.S. labor costs, Telescope Casual Furniture must deal with a New York state bureaucracy that is not known for friendliness to business. To combat these challenges, the company makes up ground through the advantage of proximity—namely, the Northeast at its doorstep. Factory headquarters are within a four-hour drive of about 40 million of

the highest-income people in the country. In-season deliveries are easy, and response times are fast. Manufacturing is concentrated in one large facility that acts as a single hub for a wide variety of crucial spokes. Factory headquarters, in 1903, were in midtown Manhattan, but the company moved to Granville in 1921, as the city became more crowded. A building was added to the labyrinth just last year to create additional MGP manufacturing capability. “Plastic, as a material, tends to have a little static, which draws in dust,” Vanderminden explains. “In a manufacturing space, you must keep everything clean, so we built this building inside another building to do that. We did it so we could continue to have a tremendous variety of products every year— and we are committed to doing that in an efficient manner, which is good for the bottom line.” He continues, “Variety is an important part of the equation for specialty retailers, and our current capital investment includes efforts to ensure that we are manufacturing for variety and efficiency. This company has an amazing history, but we are always planning for the future.”

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product I N N O VAT I O N

Lennox reaches out to retailers with new products and tips for creating in-store displays that dazzle. by CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

selling the sizzle i

f imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Lennox Hearth Products (LHP), Nashville, Tennessee, couldn’t be happier. Two years after hiring merchandising expert Catherine Scott (known for her skill in creating lifestyle displays) as manager of marketing communications, LHP is seeing dealers follow in its footsteps. Scott, an advocate of grouping products that convey a lifestyle or use category, has found that such lifestyle displays successfully influence purchases in general retail environments. Why not use them in the hearth industry? “It’s all about the presentation,” Scott says. “If you see a product, particularly if it is one you’re not very well educated about, it can be overwhelming. We want to help buyers visualize what their personalized product will look like. A buyer wants tangible, tactile things to help envision the final product, and that’s where I see an opportunity for LHP. I want the customer to walk in and—at a glance—be drawn to our

Top: The Rhapsody® linear fireplace from Lennox Hearth Products Right: The Lennox Hearth Products Montlake™ 230 woodburning insert

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products.” Today, Scott happily reports, dealers have picked up on the lifestyle concept in the merchandising of their showrooms. “A few who have recently renovated have mirrored the look of the LHP Nashville showroom,” she says. Even better, “Retail dealers are also adding more point-of-purchase displays to their spaces, realizing that customers need to visualize the product in their homes’ interiors,” she adds. Retailers are finding that they have plenty of supporting resources available from LHP to help them build on the concept of lifestyle vignettes. LHP has created a lifestyle video loop, which dealers are using in their stores. Retailers are even converting parts of the video content into visually compelling television ads. EXCITING NEW PRODUCTS Along with all the sizzle, LHP is providing plenty of steak, adding new, innovative products to its lineup. The Rhapsody® linear fireplace, available in 54and 42-inch sizes, offers a sophisticated design for any home. Featuring patent-pending Infini-Flame™ technology, this gas fireplace offers a viewing area that showcases a wide band of tall, elegant flames.

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

The burner design maximizes visible flame per Btu for optimum energy efficiency. The Montlake™ 230 wood-burning insert combines timeless style with exclusive thermal fin technology (or TFT™) to elevate wood heating to the next level. Heavy brick, large glass, a standard blower, and an innovative cast-iron heat exchanger ensure that consumers get the most out of each wood load. The inspiration for these innovative products comes from market demand, customer requests, and styling trends. Scott explains, “Ideas for products come from virtually everywhere. We certainly value input from our experienced internal teams, but we also look outside; having some of best, most successful customers in the industry, we solicit highly valued and effective recommendations from them.” She adds, “Our engineers and product managers employ passion and creativity to bring about awardwinning innovation, but we also employ open innovation. We expend effort to look at other industries


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product I N N O VAT I O N “We recognize that social networks have become a very popular method of traffic generation for websites. Social sharing tools help get your content discovered.” and products for design cues, technology, and features with demonstrated appeal—and then figure out how to incorporate them.” As a product idea starts to take shape, LHP sets about the task of refining every detail with customers to make sure that the company has made full use of the dealers’ expertise. “Robust market analysis maximizes sales success by validating price points and distribution compatibility. Engineers and product managers follow

refined processes to ensure that our products deliver the certified performance and functional targets established, and they always strive to beat already-high expectations,” she explains. This year alone, LHP brought 21 new products to market, thanks to an improving economic marketplace and steady sales. With so much in-house activity, LHP is tweaking how it conducts business. “We need to be sharp on operating the business and keep our cost

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Professor Ernie

structure competitive with the ever-changing market,” Scott says. Nothing is changing as much as the way that manufacturers advertise. Two years ago, LHP debuted a new, interactive website (www.lennoxhearthproducts.com) and updated its consumer advertising program, a proven direct-marketing program in use for more than 20 years. In addition, LHP is embracing social media. “We recognize that social networks have become a very popular method of traffic generation for websites,” Scott says. “Social sharing tools help get your content discovered.” Of course, it is always good to tie your marketing efforts (website, advertising, and social media) together, so that each segment reinforces the message and builds on the consumer experience. Think of it as a modern example of word-of-mouth advertising: LHP’s website features a share icon that enables customers to pass along content from any page on the website. MERGING WITH FMI In the near term, consumers will have even more to talk about—specifically, new products resulting from LHP’s recent merger with FMI Products (Santa Ana, California). The merger brings new brands under the LHP umbrella. According to Scott, LHP will be combining its product-development efforts with FMI’s; over the long term, the market will see an enlarged, accelerated, and innovative new-product offering. “The combined entity of LHP and FMI brings us some unique synergies. First and foremost, to be the easiest company to do business with is each company’s independent mission statement. We will continue that mission,” Scott promises. “Second, each company has some category strengths that, collectively, bring a complete arsenal of products to our customers,” she adds. “LHP is strong in directvent products, stoves, inserts, and EPA phase 2 woodburning products.” She continues, “FMI has a completely renovated vent-free offering and a complete and unique woodburning offering (with patent-pending mosaic masonry), as well as the patented, affordable, open-burning EPA phase 2 qualified technology in PureFire™. These, along with many other niche products—such as ethanol, three-in-one linear direct-vent units, and indoor and outdoor linear vent-free products—make the product offering very broad.” Contractually, Scott says, LHP has some limits on use of the Lennox brand, citing a variety of other existing brands. Now, with the addition of FMI, there are several additional brands to consider. To that end, she says, “We are actively researching these brands and will be finalizing our direction.” Regardless of the direction ultimately chosen, Scott says, LHP will continue to provide the highest levels of quality and service to its customers. LHP is accustomed to a flurry of new-product activity, Scott suggests. She points to 2012 as evidence of LHP’s success: “We have recently introduced 21 new products with resounding success and hundreds of dealer placements,” she says. Look for more of the same in 2013.


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corporate P R O F I L E

Using both the age-old arts of handcrafting and the latest in high-tech manufacturing techniques, Woodard makes stylish products that provide years of enjoyment.

Woodard Wows Customers by CHERISE FORNO

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oodard (Coppell, Texas) is a 146–year-old furniture manufacturer and distributor that continues to thrive as a company known for its quality and superior customer service. Scott Coogan, vice president of design, says, “Today, Woodard continues the tradition of handcrafted wrought-iron

furniture with the same quality craftsmanship implemented by its founder.” Lyman Woodard founded the company in 1866, moving from New York to northern Michigan with the goal of entering the lumber business where an abundant supply of high-quality timber was available. He purchased a small sawmill and a

furniture factory in 1882 and started a small casket company in Owosso, Michigan, where the original building is still standing today. In 1901, Woodard was asked to create a special casket for President William McKinley. By 1920, Woodard had become the world’s largest casket manufacturer, and it gradually evolved into a manufacturer of fine wooden furniture. By 1930, Lyman Woodard‘s sons (Russell, Lyman, and Joseph) had developed the first collection of handcrafted wrought-iron furniture and were responsible for making these products known throughout the world. Woodard’s new wrought-iron designs marked the birth of casual outdoor furniture and ultimately led to the development of casual-furniture designs created from a variety of materials, the most prominent being iron, cast aluminum, and tubular materials. The vision of the Woodard

Top left: Brayden dining Bottom left: Wiltshire dining Top right: The Ridgecrest collection

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012


brothers helped develop the company into the outdoor-furnishings manufacturer that has set the bar for others. Woodard was founded as a familyoperated business and has only recently had owners outside the Woodard family. Woodard was most recently purchased, in November 2011, by Litex Corp. (Grand Prairie, Texas). Litex, which has been in business since 1982, has primarily focused on the ceiling-fan and lighting markets. FOCUSING ON QUALITY Matt Weiss, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Woodard, says, “The new owners of Woodard are very dedicated to the outdoor industry and are very excited about the growth of the company. They are financially committed to the success of Woodard. Jean Liu, the new owner, is very much involved in the design, marketing, and sales of the line.” Woodard‘s impeccable reputation remains intact because of its loyalty to the superior craftsmanship and unparalleled quality standards established at the company’s inception. The quality of the materials used in production also sets the products apart.

These materials include individually created and designed cast-aluminum elements and frames. Top-of-the-line, solution-dyed fabrics and durable powdercoated finishes are used in the company’s product lines. Woodard has also incorporated resin, concrete, and all-weather wicker into its extensive line of materials, so unique furniture collections can be created to fit each customer‘s needs. One of the things that distinguishes the Woodard brand from its competitors is its consistent development of innovative designs using a variety of materials. Some of Woodard’s most popular collections, this year, are Jax and Terrace (wrought-iron offerings); Belden flex, sling, and woven styles; Andover deep seating and sling models; and Cortland (a flat-weave collection). Bold colors and sleek lines are evident in the lounge chair, ottoman, and square firepit from the recently introduced Jax contemporary collection. HOT NEW DESIGNS Belden features cushioned, flex, sling and round-weave pieces, while Cortland offers many pieces in flatweave, cushion, flex, and sling styles. Belden’s woven pieces are a high-back

swivel rocker, a swivel counter stool, and a swivel barstool. Dining, swivel, and lounge pieces are featured in sling options. Cortland’s cushioned pieces include a unique crescent-shaped bench to add sophistication to any outdoor collection. The cushioned love seat, sofa, and ottoman will also add plush comfort and rich design appeal to outdoor spaces. Recently introduced collections include Ridgecrest, Bungalow, Brayden, Gelati, Isla, Wiltshire, and a variety of firepits. The Ridgecrest line received strong praise at the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™ in September 2012. It com-

bines beautifully executed aluminum elements (with an artisanal, hand-applied faux finish) dressed by elegantly tailored upholstery. Other products that are selling well include the Wiltshire and Jax lines, as well as a number of Woodard’s new firepits. For the future, Woodard expects its contemporary lines to gain ground, but many design trends are dependent upon consumer demographics and locations. As a result, the company incorporates designs that work with many different outdoor-living styles. The most popular is the transitional approach, which allows customers to create eclectic looks without cornering themselves into using specific traditional or contemporary themes. According to Coogan, Woodard’s designs can easily be mixed and matched to accommodate this growing trend. “At Woodard, our designers offer something for everyone, incorporating many different design trends,” he says.

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November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

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LOOKING A HEAD With an 80-year track record of success, Empire Comfort Systems looks forward to bringing more first-rate products and services to the marketplace. by CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI

a

t 80 years old, Empire Comfort Systems (Belleville, Illinois) is far from the manufacturing equivalent of an old codger rocking away on the front porch, content to watch life as it moves past. Empire Comfort Systems is just as vital and vigorous as ever, and it is eagerly anticipating its next 80 years in manufacturing as a family-run business. Empire Comfort Systems has a wealth of memories, but it is moving forward too fast to take much time to reminisce. It began in 1932, as a manufacturer of gas stoves. During World War II, it built bomb casings. In the 1950s and 1960s, it kept busy making floor furnaces; by the 1970s and 1980s, it was manufacturing wall furnaces. In the 1990s, it ventured into fireplace products—and in the 2000s, gas grills. Nick Bauer, vice president of product development and one of several fourth-generation family members to work at Empire Comfort Systems, says, “The thing that I’m most proud of is that when consumer tastes have shifted, we have been able to shift with them. We haven’t been left behind by a changing marketplace.” Empire Comfort Systems has a storehouse of memories, but aside from commemorating its 80th anniversary with a fond look back at its legacy, the focus is ever onward—with the goal of creating new memories for the next 80 years. Recent product introductions have included new outdoor fireplaces and burners, a complete line of clean-face direct-vent fireplaces, new Broilmaster grills, the Loft contemporary product line (in both direct-vent and vent-free models), and the Boulevard line of direct-vent and vent-free linear fireplaces. “We are planning to keep up

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Nick Bauer

this momentum next year, when we will add a charcoal Broilmaster, a clean-face direct-vent insert, and additional clean-face vent-free fireplaces,” Bauer says. In fact, 2011 was a huge year, when it came to product introductions. Empire Comfort Systems kept up the pace in 2012 and is planning to continue it into 2013, according to Bauer; he says, “New-product introductions are the lifeblood of Empire Comfort Systems. I’m very proud of the progress that we have made in the last few years.” Empire Comfort Systems also continues to do its share to make the planet greener, recycling as much of its

Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

manufactured material as possible. “Today, we generate less scrap and waste, and we look for opportunities to recycle more. Our new-equipment purchases are designed to use as much of the raw material as possible. By nesting parts (wherever possible) and planning production ever more efficiently, we create less scrap than ever,” Bauer explains. The internal green movement has changed the way that Empire Comfort Systems does business. Processes that were outsourced have been brought in-house to allow Empire Comfort Systems tighter control at each step—from raw materials to metal blanks to gathering the off-

fall for recycling, at every stage. In addition, Empire Comfort Systems recently installed motionsensor lighting throughout the plant to reduce electricity use. “Our manufacturing engineers design each process to minimize the distance from one station to the next, which has reduced our forklift fleet substantially,” Bauer adds. STAYING CONNECTED To educate and converse with consumers, Empire Comfort Systems has embraced social media. Facebook posts and tweets are nothing new for Empire Comfort Systems, which got involved in social media several years ago.


Today, its efforts are a day-to-day thing: simply business as usual. While the company reacted to letters of complaint or praise when it started in the 1930s, those letters have been replaced by social-media posts. “Just as we did in 1932, Empire Comfort Systems continues to maintain an open and ongoing dialogue with our customers,” Bauer notes. “This helps us react to market changes more quickly and also to develop products that have a much better chance for success.” As an old hand at social marketing, Empire Comfort Systems has stepped up its pace of posting to expand its reach. “We coupled the increased frequency with a push to create more of a dialogue with the folks following us—particularly on Facebook,” Bauer explains. “We have also used Facebook to address a few product complaints, creating a transparency that seems to appeal to our audience. For all of our efforts, we are still climbing the back of the learning curve for a communication technology that morphs into something a little different every day.” Empire Comfort Systems is manufacturing products and talking directly to their buyers. In the middle are the dealers, who rely on the sellthrough support they get from the company. What’s Bauer’s primary piece of advice for retailers? He says, “I try to drive home that if you don’t show it, you aren’t going to be able to sell it. This is why we have come out with some very aggressive sales promotions to practice what we preach. We strongly believe that the more products retailers show, the more products they are going to sell.” At age 80, Empire Comfort Systems is a leading-edge, aggressive, and trendy company, but that is not to say that it has forgotten its roots. To commemorate its 80th anniversary, the company celebrated—appropriately enough—with a family day at the factory, inviting all employees and their families for games and food. “We had many activities for the kids—such as a bouncy house and a visit from Fredbird, the mascot for the St. Louis Cardinals—and we had activities for adults, including a Broilmaster cook-off and a washers tournament. We drew more than 300 people, so it ended up being an awesome day,” Bauer explains. THE NEXT 80 YEARS With the yearlong anniversary celebration winding down, Empire Comfort Systems is looking forward to great things for the next 80 years. Bauer says, “We are continuing the product expansion (into more hearth and grill products) that we started in the late 1990s. I predict we will get into the wood and pellet side of the hearth industry. Only time will tell, but we are extremely excited about our future.” Bauer adds that Empire Comfort Systems offers the best of both startup and established companies. He says, “We have the capital and equipment of an older, successful, experienced

“We strongly believe that the more products retailers show, the more products they are going to sell.” company, but we also have the drive and sense of urgency of an up-and-coming company, as we expand into the hearth industry.” He continues, “It’s no longer enough just to make a quality product. You have to make a quality product that looks great, whether it’s burning or not, and is of value to the consumer. Just as an up-and-coming company would, we realize the importance of innovation, expanding the product lines, and trying to prove ourselves—because that is what we are.��� The future, Bauer notes, is somewhat dependent on on the outcome of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s case against the U.S. Department of

Energy (DOE), which requests judicial review of the DOE’s regulatory classification of decorative hearth products as direct-heating equipment. “If we don’t win the lawsuit with the DOE, I’m going to have some major concerns, moving forward, from a regulation standpoint,” he says. “From an Empire Comfort Systems and Broilmaster standpoint, however, it is nothing but positive,” Bauer adds. “The future is very bright, with us, as we transfer from a wall-furnance manufacturer to a true hearth company. We wake up every day thinking of what we can do or what products we can add to help us achieve our goals and dreams.”

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Circle Reader Service No. 49

November/December 2012 Patio & Hearth Products Report

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product

PROFILES

Quadra-Fire Voyageur Grand For 2012, Quadra-Fire® introduced the Voyageur Grand—a larger version of the award-winning Voyageur wood insert. Expanding on the success of the Voyageur, it has the same proven cast-iron look, a larger firebox (at 2.35 cubic feet), and more powerful performance. The four-point burn system, ACC (or automatic combustion control) technology, and limited lifetime warranty are all there, too. Meet the demands of a wider market and offer two sizes of this award-winning look. Contact: www.quadrafire.com. Circle Reader Service No. 101

Thermologi JOI Light Empire’s Blue Bay Log Set Empire’s Blue Bay log set creates an entirely new look for the contemporary Boulevard vent-free linear fireplace. Bleached by the sun and worn by tide and sand, these four handpainted ceramic-fiber driftwood logs will conjure up memories of long evenings spent combing the beach. The set installs easily, thanks to the matte-black metal base, which has pin locators to hold the logs securely. The black base can be concealed beneath Empire’s decorative rocks and pebbles or other fireplace-approved media. Contact: (800) 851-3153 or www.empirecomfort.com.

JOI, powered by Thermologi, is a revolutionary new lighting centerpiece for the outdoor-living environment. Combining style with patented thermoelectric technology, JOI light magically transforms the energy of a simple tea light into enough light to illuminate the entire outdoor-dining table. It involves no batteries, cords, or solar hassles; patents pending. Contact: (800) 567-3556 or www.thermologi.com. Circle Reader Service No. 103

Sparkler Garnet Outdoor Rug

Circle Reader Service No. 102

Majestic Windsor Noncatalytic Woodburning Stoves With two styles available in small, medium, and large sizes, there’s a Windsor model for every customer. There’s even a fireplace insert, as well as a mobile-home–approved model. Crafted from premium steel and cast iron, Windsor noncatalytic stoves pair modern convenience and traditional durability. In addition, they feature the Airwash system to keep the large glass doors clean. Thanks to their airflow and baffle system (which reburns smoke and gases), these stoves are a clean, economical, and efficient heating solution. Contact: www.majesticproducts.com. Circle Reader Service No. 104

Masterpiece Portable Firepit Classical warmth is what your customers are wanting, year round, and Agio delivers with the latest in outdoor fire. The Masterpiece portable outdoor firepit features a new tabletop of beautifully crafted stained glass. This innovative and decorative new look is sure to be a hit, with its beautiful lines and intricate pattern in gold, brown, and green tones. Watch your sales and profits take off when you add firepit chat collections to your product mix. Contact: www.agio-usa.com. Circle Reader Service No. 106

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012

Like a burst of exotic blooms or a trio of fireworks glimpsed from above, this lively outdoor rug, with its contemporary borderless design, infuses elegance with an explosion of fun. Handhooked in the age-old Eastern manner from synthetic DuraCord® yarns, Sawgrass Mills® by Hatteras Outdoors rugs resist rot, mold, mildew, fading, and staining, yet have the sought-after softness of cotton. Sparkler comes in either 5x8-foot or 8x10-foot sizes, and is also available in ocean aqua, autumn pumpkin, and pesto color palettes. Contact: (800) 334-1078 or www.thehammocksource.com. Circle Reader Service No. 105


Firepits by Patio Renaissance

Real Fyre Direct-vent Gas Insert

Things are heating up at Patio Renaissance: The company offers consumers a wide range of firepit choices. Models are available in three sizes: 48-inch round, 54-inch square, and 36x58-inch rectangular. Tops are available in solid marble, artistic stonework, aluminum faux stone, and a cast version. With stainless-steel burners and air mixers, these models are safer because they produce less carbon monoxide. A sliding tank drawer is included for easy access. Each comes with a standard gas key for extra safety. Contact: www.patiorenaissance.com.

RH Peterson Company has expanded its line of premium fireplace products with the introduction of the Real Fyre direct-vent gas insert. The addition represents a new product category for the company and a new option for homeowners seeking an efficient gas-heating appliance (while maintaining the realism and beauty of a wood fire). The unit will be available in two sizes: 30 and 36 inches. Features include a ceramic-glass front, to radiate heat into the room; a Fyre Starter™ remote control, for on-demand performance; an interior light; an adjustable-speed blower system, combined with adjustable flame-height control, to regulate heat; a louverless, clean face, to mimic a real wood-burning fireplace; and a Charred American Oak log set specially designed to mirror the beauty of a wood fire. A choice of brick styles and firescreens will be available. As all RH Peterson products are, the Real Fyre gas insert is made in the United States, using stringent quality standards and the most advanced technology. Contact: www.rhpeterson.com.

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Laredo The Laredo seating collection by OW Lee features spring-steel strapping in the seat and back. Laredo includes extrawide arms for enhanced comfort. The simple lines of Laredo were designed to give the collection a transitional essence and character. The collection is available in nine finishes and over 100 stock Sunbrella® cushion fabrics. Contact: www.owlee.com. Circle Reader Service No. 108

Napoleon Linear Electric Slimline Fireplaces

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The Butler Cart New for the 2012–13 season is the butler cart. This accessory is perfect for outdoor entertaining, and Mallin believes that this modern serving cart can turn a small family gathering into a grand event. Its unique shape and design are versatile, and the wheels make it very easy to move around, holding everything from cocktails to glassware for upcoming events. This butler cart is perfect for the person who loves to entertain. Contact: www.mallinfurniture.com. Circle Reader Service No. 111

Napoleon introduces a new, linear, electric Slimline fireplace series with a clean, crisp contemporary design and all the conveniences of simply hanging, plugging in, and enjoying the fireplace. These new electric fireplaces feature a generous glass front, along with a contemporary glass ember bed that complements the minimalist design. All units can be recessed into the wall for reduced protrusion into the room. Five widths are available—32, 48, 60, 72, and 100 inches—making them perfect for any room in the house. The new electric fireplace series offers 5,000 Btu; a linear glass front; a modern glass ember bed; a sleek, thin design, for either wall mounting or recessed installation; an easy-access, electronic touchscreen control panel (cool to the touch, even when the heater is on); a convenient remote control; and a wall-mount bracket, making installation as easy as hanging a picture on the wall. Contact: (888) 726-2220 or www.napoleonfireplaces.com.

Winston’s Veneto is new for 2013. Designed by John Caldwell, this traditional style is formed with a multidimensional aluminum extrusion. The turned sling rail virtually disappears, creating a fresh, sleek look. The sling bucket is available in high-back and ultimate high-back versions. The Veneto is available in a full-cushion deep seating model and can be finished in any one of Winston’s 15 powder-coated colors. Contact: www.winstonfurniture.com.

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Veneto Sling

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product P R O F I L E S Vermont Castings Tribute Grills Now, customers can get the sophisticated style they’ve come to expect from a Vermont Castings grill in a smaller, more compact package. The sleek Tribute series adds a new 39,000 Btu model to the company’s current three-burner lineup—and introduces a new two-burner, 26,000 Btu model. Both grills feature North American stainless-steel burners and exteriors, an EasyFlame ignition system, and exclusive cast-iron endcaps and grates. Look for these grills in 2013. Contact www.vermontcastings.com.

Grand Terrace Extension Table Gensun Casual Living introduces the Grand Terrace extension table. It expands from 44x74 inches to 44x114 inches and is constructed in the same fashion as other Gensun tables, which are well known for both beauty and durability. The two 20-inch table extensions are packaged in Sunbrella® fabric bags for storage and protection. The table is available in any of Gensun’s 11 finish colors. Contact: www.gensuncasual.com. Circle Reader Service No. 117

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Dining-height Firepit EcoDamper System

Mallin Furniture is pleased to introduce its new dining-height firepit. This new addition to the firepit series offers an elegant (yet comfortable) design. The unique design of the dining-height firepit allows you to enjoy the use of a standard dining table. This firepit is elevated for added comfort, and it is available in three sizes: 42x84 inches, 54-inch square, and 54-inch round. With its sleek, modern style, this design is sure to enhance the look of any outdoor-living area. Contact: www.mallinfurniture.com.

The ENERVEX EcoDamper lets you start a safe and hassle-free fire in your gas-fired fireplace with a single touch of a button, and you can get rid of your glass doors and enjoy an unobstructed view of the fire. It controls the speed of the fan to maintain a proper draft in the chimney and ensures that the gas supply is cut off, should there not be a sufficient draft in the flue system to vent the fireplace safely. Contact: (800) 255-2923 or www.chimneyfans.com.

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Locket Driftwood Inspired by fashion’s timeless geometrics, Locket’s clean lines interlock in a new, crisp, contrasting color combination—driftwood. Combining the very popular taupe with natural white, Locket driftwood is reversible, making it a great fabric choice not only for cushions and furniture, but for umbrellas and drapes as well. Contact: (866) OUTDURA or www.outdura.com. Circle Reader Service No. 115

AEI Patio Heaters AEI just added two new patio heaters to its unparalleled product offerings: the TSR horizontal gas heater by Sunglo and the Slimline quartz electric heater by Infratech. The Sunglo TSR features a two-stage burner that is able to operate at 34,000 or 25,000 Btu, a remote control and wall switch, and a newly designed fascia. The Slimline heater features quartz electric patio heat encased in a low-profile, extruded-aluminum casing, with a variety of sizes and wattages (ranging from 1,500 to 4,000 watts). Contact: info@aeicorporation.com or www.aeicorporation.com. Circle Reader Service No. 116

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Rhapsody Contemporary Direct-vent Gas Fireplace The Dave Lennox Signature® collection Rhapsody® fireplace adds sophisticated flair to any home. Featuring innovative Infini-Flame™ technology, this easy-to-install gas fireplace offers a stunning viewing area that showcases a continuous band of dramatic, tranquil flames. A patent-pending burner design delivers industry-leading efficiencies for increased savings on utility bills. The fireplace is available in two sizes: 54 and 42 inches. Contact: www.LennoxHearthProducts.com. Circle Reader Service No. 119


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product P R O F I L E S

Valor L1 Linear Series Showcasing leading-edge design, high-quality finishes, and high efficiency, the L1 series combines Valor’s proven performance with the latest in linear design. The L1 provides two stunning fuel-bed designs (known as the Long Beach and Murano glass), both backed by steady, radiant warmth. Firebed liners include sand fluted, black fluted, and black reflective enamel. Contact: www.valorfireplaces.com.

Flexible Natural Stone MLW Stone introduces flexible natural stone. This revolutionary new slate product comes in 2x4-foot sheets and a 1- to 2-millimeter thickness and is offered in eight different color choices. The thin slate veneer is ultralight, easy to bend, and ideal for use on curved walls or as a fireplace facing. Other applications include outdoor-kitchen islands, firepits, grill stands, mantel accents, entertainment centers, and more. Please request samples today and consider the possibilities. Contact: (800) 477-7665, henry@mlwalker.com, or www.mlwstone.com.

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Championship Barbecue Rubs and Sauces How do you gain repeat business and traffic in your store? Become the expert in championship barbecue rubs and sauces. These eight nationally and regionally recognized brands will keep your customers coming back to your store for more. From Kansas City to Texas to Carolina to Memphis, this display has 48 units of the best barbecue rubs in the country and is an attractive addition to your grilling accessories. Contact: (800) 241-0070 or www.oldworldspices.com.

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SCHOTT ROBAX Atmosfire Dry Wiper SCHOTT ROBAX® named Fireside Distributors as a key distributor for the recently developed Atmosfire™ dry wiper. SCHOTT Hometech, a division of SCHOTT North America Inc., introduced the Atmosfire dry wiper, a cleaning pad specifically for glass-ceramic viewing windows in fireplaces and stoves. The ergonomically shaped sponge features a textured surface that is tough enough to remove soot and dirt without using chemical cleaning fluids or scratching the surface of the glass. Fireside Distributors will be stocking the product and will have the Atmosfire dry wiper available for purchase by hearth retailers. Contact: www.schottrobax.com. Circle Reader Service No. 123

H530 Wood-burning Insert Higher fuel efficiency and combustion temperatures and lower atmospheric emissions equate with a green, environmentally friendly fireplace insert. The H530 has a large, full-sized firebox that can heat up to 1,500 square feet. Easy to install in an existing open hearth, this fireplace insert is the answer to transforming a heat-stealing open fireplace into a fully efficient heat source. Warm your home and create the ideal gathering place for family and friends. Contact: www.wittus.com. Circle Reader Service No. 124

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Hitzer 30-95 E-Z Flo Hopper Stove The Hitzer 30-95 E-Z Flo hopper stove is an outstandingly efficient and convenient heating source. With a 30-pound hopper, this stove has extended long burns and produces over 60,000 Btu of evenly warm temperatures. The advanced technology of a removable hopper is an added convenience of this top-choice stove. Like all Hitzer stoves, the 30-95 is thermostatically controlled, and it provides heating without electricity. With heating capabilities of up to 2,000 square feet, the E-Z Flo meets your heating needs, as well as providing beauty and charm for one’s home. The full-view firebox window allows easy viewing that creates cozy, warm relaxation. With a stove color to match your home, the Hitzer 30-95 will decorate your home, produce cost-efficient heat, and create a warm and soothing environment. Contact: (260) 589-8536 or www.hitzer.com. Circle Reader Service No. 127

Prairie Cap There has been an increase in the number of pellet-burning inserts that require fresh air. M&G DuraVent has introduced its new Pellet Vent Pro (PVP) Prairie cap for pellet-burning inserts. The Prairie cap is a co-linear chimney cap that, when used with stainless-steel flex for exhaust and aluminum flex for fresh air, gives the insert the best possible venting solution. It is available in a stainless steel or a painted black finish. The PVP Prairie cap comes in two vent-size configurations: 3x3-inch ports and 3x4-inch ports. The Prairie style cap in black is also available for direct-vent gas inserts. Find out more at the company’s website. Contact: www.duravent.com

TURN UP THE AMBIENCE

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WHILE ENJOYING CLEANER, GREENER HEAT.

Customize your climate with an Ecofan UltrAir Ecofan UltrAir is the newest addition to a line of revolutionary stove fans that create their own electricity to circulate the warm air from wood and gas stoves throughout a room. By distributing the stove’s heat more evenly, the Ecofan UltrAir allows homeowners to feel warmer and recognize fuel savings. It moves air at up to 105 cfm. Contact: (800) 567-3556 or www.ecofan.com. Circle Reader Service No. 126

Infratech electric comfort heating system for your home or business.

Find out more about the solution that’s right for you.

WWW.INFRATECH-USA.COM 800-421-9455 PROUDLY MADE IN USA

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product P R O F I L E S

Cápri Arrington Dining Collection

Agio’s Arrington dining group gives you the opportunity to meet the demands of customers who insist on quality and value. The rectangular set features a slate and porcelain-topped table, two 360-degree swivel-and-tilt rockers, and four captain’s chairs. Durably crafted, the seating includes oversized scrolled arms and the beauty and comfort of premium weather-resistant cushions. Agio’s Arrington collection gives your customers access to instant entertaining savvy. Contact: www.agio-usa.com.

Value and beauty truly describe the Cápri coffee table firepit from California Outdoor Concepts. Now, it’s possible to get all the features and options of larger tables from California Outdoor Concepts in this compact (yet elegant) addition to any outdoor patio. The Cápri coffee table is available with two different bases—a sculptured base and a rattan base—to blend with the design of your backyard; there are two new, contemporary bowl designs: round and square. After you select the base, select any one of four alternative granite tops and the Cápri style of your choice; then, top it all off with any one of 11 different glass colors. The Cápri will fit nicely into tight spaces, and its beautiful design will have you dreaming of a blue Italian sky, fading into sunset. Contact: (877) 274-6773 or www.californiaoutdoorconcepts.com. Circle Reader Service No. 131

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Patioflame by Napoleon Napoleon® introduces the Linear Patioflame®, featuring an all–stainless-steel burner chassis, for maximum outdoor durability and weather resistance; up to 60,000 Btu; electronic ignition; a topaz CRYSTALINE™ ember bed; and (if the flame goes out) a safety valve that turns off the gas. A contemporary, powder-coated, rust-resistant surround comes standard with the Patioflame. The Linear Patioflame is approved for use on wooden decks, stone or brick patios, and concrete. Napoleon’s Linear Patioflame is ideal for residential or commercial spaces that want to make a definite statement. The Linear Patioflame adds to an impressive lineup of Napoleon Patioflames already available to consumers, builders, designers, and architects. Contact: www.napoleongrills.com.

Traditional Cooking With Wood The Heckla cookstove, designed and produced by Romotop in the Czech Republic and imported by Wittus, is especially made for heating and baking. It naturally integrates living with functionality and style. Cooking with a wood-burning fire gives food a special taste. With a body made in a choice of high-grade steel, natural stone, or ceramic tile (in multiple color options), this stove has many design advantages. Contact: www.wittus.com. Circle Reader Service No. 129

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Freemont Brown Jordan’s Fremont collection blends modern simplicity with formal elegance. Designed for outdoor use in any climate, Fremont’s finely crafted, powder-coated aluminum frame is virtually impervious to the elements. Freemont speaks to the desire for luxury, function, and ease, and it demonstrates Brown Jordan’s exceptional fluency with aluminum. Contact: www.brownjordan.com. Circle Reader Service No. 130

New Rock and Glass Kit From Valor Available on the Horizon, H4, and Legend G3 insert models, this accessory kit includes both clear and black glass beads for installation, depending on customer preference. A contemporary upgrade for Valor fireplaces and inserts, the rock and glass kit (shown here with the Legend G3 insert) further diversifies the Valor product line. Contact: www.valorfireplaces.com. Circle Reader Service No. 133

Summer Cottage Tufted Hammock Plush grommet-tufted contours cradle you as an overstuffed feather bed would in this new Hatteras Hammocks® masterpiece of comfort. Two layers of cottony-soft, all-weather DuraCord® fabric—the top layer featuring the fun Summer Cottage woven-rope pattern—sandwich a plush center of recycled polyester hollowfill fiber. Spreader bars are richly grained South American cumaru; hanging hardware is zinc-plated steel. The hammock body measures 55x78 inches; its total length is 13 feet. The tufted trapezoidal pillow is included, though the Roman Arc cypress hammock stand is sold separately. Contact: (800) 334-1078 or www.thehammocksource.com. Circle Reader Service No. 134

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Rio Lights Introducing the Luminary series vent-free burner system, Rio Lights, a beautifully sleek alternative to a traditional gas log set: The polished pan burner and elegant glass stones are far from the classic hearth look. The rich yellow flames dance across the glistening glass stones for a sophisticated and chic appearance. Contact: gthomson@fmiproducts.com or www.fmiproducts.com.

Sunglo A242 Patio Heater The Sunglo model A242 freestanding patio heater by Infrared Dynamics has a very slim profile on your patio. The A242 Sunglo radiant heater offers the flexibility needed to move the heater on decks or patios piped for natural gas or under-deck propane. No electrical power is needed. The A242 heats an average 12-foot area with sunshine-like heat. Contact: www.infradyne.com. Circle Reader Service No. 136

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Spotlight Sterling Combining Outduraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest fashion-forward color introduction, lemongrass, with the very popular taupe, gray, and ivory, Spotlight sterling is the perfect stripe. Clean and simple, Spotlight is an up-the-roll stripe, with wear tolerance that exceeds 60,000 double rubs. Spotlight works directly with the 8-ounce solid canvas from Outdura, as well as with its other featured mate, Locket driftwood. Contact: (866) OUTDURA or www.outdura.com. Circle Reader Service No. 137

ENERVEX RS Chimney-fan System The RS chimney and fireplace fan is the guaranteed solution to smoking fireplaces. The extremely quiet and reliable chimney fan maintains the perfect draft to ensure a smoke-free environment. The fan is easy to use and virtually maintenance free. It can be used with wood or gas fireplaces, as well as coal- and oil-fueled appliances. Contact: (800) 255-2923 or www.chimneyfans.com. Circle Reader Service No. 138

SCHOTT ROBAX SCHOTT ROBAXÂŽ has developed new creative decorations and colors. All colors and decorations are lead free, temperature resistant, and scratch resistant. Manufacturers can now choose from mosaics, playful graphics, and familiar frame designs using eight different colors, giving fireplace or stove glass ceramics distinctive designs that will distinguish them from standard products. Contact: (941) 831-2200 or www.schottobax.com. Circle Reader Service No. 139

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product P R O F I L E S

Infratech Comfort Heaters

Winston’s Firepit Winston’s wood-burning firepit offers versatility. The copper painted bowl rests in the middle of a solid cast-aluminum top. When the unit is used as a firepit, the cast fire-bowl cover rests conveniently underneath, atop the legs’ inner ring. When the cast firepit cover is placed over the bowl, it converts the unit into a chat/cocktail table—two products in one. Available in all Winston finishes, the firepit includes the bowl, a wood grate, a firescreen, and a poker/firescreen wand. Contact: www.winstonfurniture.com. Circle Reader Service No. 140

Whether for work or recreation, Infratech comfort heaters turn cold indoor and outdoor areas into comfortable, inviting spaces. The W-series heater incorporates a specially designed electric quartz heating element that produces safe infrared radiant energy. Radiant energy is only absorbed by solid objects and is not wasted heating the air. These heaters are suitable for ceiling, wall, or flush-mount installations, with minimal clearance required. Solid-state and analog controls are also available for intensity adjustment. Contact: www.infratech-usa.com. Circle Reader Service No. 144

UltimateONE UltimateONE offers the latest technologies in factory-built chimney design, providing superior performance, durability, and safety. UltimateONE’s inner liner and outer casing are constructed of all-welded 304 stainless steel, providing superior strength and corrosion resistance. Engineered with a web-coupler design using an inch of Superwool insulation that makes contact at the seam, UltimateONE allows for pipe expansion and eliminates cold-air infiltration. Because UltimateONE is locked together with a latch-type locking band, no tools are required, making the installation quick, solid, and secure, every time. Contact: (800) 433-6341 (United States), (888) 735-5475 (Canada), or www.selkirkcorp.com.

HF-905 by HearthDistribution.com Available and in stock at HearthDistribution.com is the HF-905. Sized to heat a room, this stove is listed at 27,000 Btu at 85% efficiency. Weighing 160 pounds, this stove is almost portable. Because of its great efficiency and its capacity for a 12-inch log, the convenience of a top flue, and the beauty of a large window, this room heater will fill the heating needs of many of your customers. Contact: (360) 425-4200 or www.HearthDistribution.com. Circle Reader Service No. 145

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Sunpak-TSR Patio Heater Infrared Dynamics introduces the new Sunpak-TSR outdoor patio heater, which features a handheld remote control. One slim remote handles on/off and high to low heat settings. The Sunpak-TSR’s stainless-steel finish reflects elegance and style on your patio wall or ceiling. It’s available in natural gas or propane models that give off quiet radiant heat. Contact: www.infradyne.com. Circle Reader Service No. 142

Ronda Pie Burgundy The beautiful and affordable contemporary Ronda Pie burgundy belongs to the family of highly popular Estufas Fajardo wood-burning stoves from Spain. These have been around since 1952 and are currently available in over 15 countries. The Fajardo line of wood-burning stoves is now available in North America from hearth dealers. Contact: (866) 376-5117, info@esarca.com, or www.Esarca.com. Circle Reader Service No. 143

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New Knockdown Island for Fire Magic Create your outdoor kitchen in a snap. Designed specifically for Fire Magic’s 430 and 790 series grills, this GFRC island arrives in five pieces and assembles quickly with the included bolts. Its stylish granite tile top creates an elegant display in any backyard or retail location. Contact: (800) 332-3973 or www.rhpeterson.com. Circle Reader Service No. 146


Pebbles, Glass, and More Empire Comfort Systems is changing the way it markets its decorative glass for contemporary fireplaces, while expanding its decorative-media offerings. The company’s crushed glass, glass drops, and glass droplets now sell in packages with enough material to make one layer covering one square foot. This allows consumers to combine decorative media colors and shapes to produce truly custom installations. Empire has also added ceramic-fiber rocks and pebbles to the decorative-media line. Made from the same material used in brick liners, the ceramic-fiber rocks and pebbles are unaffected by temperature fluctuations. Empire’s all-new decorative-media brochure is available for download at the company’s website. Contact: (800) 851-3153 or www.empirecomfort.com. Circle Reader Service No. 147

South Bay and Hampton The lovely South Bay deep seating collection by Patio Renaissance features elegant curves in each of its pieces. The Hampton table (in the most popular finish this season—driftwood) complements this beautiful set. Contact: www.patiorenaissance.com. Circle Reader Service No. 148

Gas Firepits by Gensun Casual Gensun Casual Living is introducing gas firepits to its Grand Terrace, Madrid II, Paradise, and new Roma table collections. The firepits will be available in 54-inch round and 38x56 inch rectangular sizes. The bases are beautifully crafted using the Paradise solid cast-aluminum design. By combining the tops and bases with Gensun’s 11 frame colors and three Paradise tabletop colors, you can create hundreds of different designs. Contact: www.gensuncasual.com.

Earth Stove The Earth Stove ES2100 wood-burning stove focuses on providing a home-heating solution that is dependable and economical. Sturdy steel construction, a responsive damper control, and an easy-to-use handle design make warming your home easy and affordable. Earth Stove products are made in the United States. Contact: www.EarthStove.com. Circle Reader Service No. 151

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Harman Accentra Now available in the popular majolica brown enamel finish, this high-efficiency pellet stove uses Harman PelletPro™ and ESP (or exhaust-sensing probe) technology to burn any grade of pellet, with even heat and precision control. Basic maintenance can be performed without shutting down the unit—for true 24-hour heating. Traditional cast-iron craftsmanship and clean lines complement multiple decor styles. Even heat, distinctive features, and easy maintenance make the Accentra a practical heating solution that exemplifies the company’s motto: Built to a Standard, Not a Price. Contact: www.harmanstoves.com.

AEI Corp. AEI is just days away from finishing a full update of its website. Customers will be able to access the company’s complete array of premium residential and commercial outdoor-grilling and comfort-heating products, PDFs of owners’ manuals, training manuals, videos, and more. Contact: info@aeicorporation.com or www.aeicorporation.com. Circle Reader Service No. 152

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product P R O F I L E S HearthDistribution.com Direct-Temp Gas Unique to today’s market, Direct-Temp provides exceptional corrosion protection (and virtually no leakage) due to an inner stainless-steel liner. Stainless steel permits precision manufacturing tolerance, ensuring tight seals and the added structural integrity of the system. The liner has a continuously welded seam, which is superior to lock-seam designs that might leak. The company’s engineers set out to surpass the performance requirements of the industry using unique features found only in the company’s direct-vent system. Direct-Temp is ideal for both sidewall and conventional through-the-roof venting solutions and has been engineered for optimum appliance performance. Contact: (800) 433-6341 (United States), (888) 735-5475 (Canada), or www.selkirkcorp.com.

HearthDistribution.com is proud to announce the addition of enamel to its successful line of cast-iron wood stoves. The HF-517, HF-717, and HF-577 are now available in either black or brown porcelain-enamel finishes. Porcelain enamel adds a lustrous and durable finish that is easy to clean. The shine makes the stove the center point of your room. These products are in stock and available for shipment. Contact: (360) 425-4200 or www.HearthDistribution.com. Circle Reader Service No. 156

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Carmel Aesthetically Pleasing The low-profile heaters and low clearance requirements allow the fixtures to blend into any environment seamlessly. Infratech heaters represent a good balance among efficiency, heating performance, and low visual impact. Infratech heaters produce no harsh visible light or glare to spoil the mood or strain your eyes. Contact: www.infratech-usa.com. Circle Reader Service No. 154

DuraTech DuraTech by M&G DuraVent is a double-wall, all-fuel chimney system for use with wood stoves, fireplaces, furnaces, boilers, ranges, water heaters, or other appliances fueled by wood, oil, coal, or gas, as well as zero-clearance fireplaces that are factory built. UL 103 HT and ULC S604 listed, the system offers optimum safety and performance. It features lightweight insulation, twist-lock fittings, support boxes with factory installed starter sections, elbows with 360-degree swivel bases, select black-finish pipe lengths, and 5-foot pipe-section lengths. Contact: www.duravent.com. Circle Reader Service No. 155

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The Carmel in chat height makes its debut in the California Outdoor Concepts line of firepit tables for the 2013 season. This beautiful firepit table was named after Carmel, California, because it’s considered a cultural Mecca by visitors and residents. The company designed the new Carmel chat with well-tailored legs on a clean aluminum torso to echo that scheme. The Carmel will be at home in stylish and sophisticated outdoor venues. Available in early spring, the Carmel will be shown in lustrous tones of black or brown. Crowned with your choice of four granite finishes and 11 glass options, it will truly offer that aesthetic look where soft sand meets cypress-covered cliffs. Contact: (877) 274-6773 or www.californiaoutdoorconcepts.com. Circle Reader Service No. 157

Palisades The Palisades seating collection from OW Lee embodies a California style that combines modern and traditional forms. Palisades is a full-line collection designed with clean lines and distinctive craftsmanship—to draw the eye and become the centerpiece of any outdoor room. Made with a tubular aluminum frame, the Palisades collection will withstand the test of time. The collection is available in nine finishes and over 100 stock Sunbrella® cushion fabrics. Contact: www.owlee.com. Circle Reader Service No. 158

Hitzer Energy Master II Model 710 Stoker Furnace Hitzer, a leading manufacturer of coal stoves, introduces the Energy Master II model 710 stoker furnace. Approved for installations in the United States and Canada, the 710 stoker furnace features a Coal-Trol digital thermostat, a Btu output of up to 150,000, a 1,000-cfm blower, a filter box, and a stainless-steel hopper. Contact: (260) 589-8536 or www.hitzer.com. Circle Reader Service No. 159


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tion, based on colors and weaves suitable for the outdoor room.” In the contemporary category, the popularity of sectionals continued to grow for next spring due to the product’s ability to adapt to multiple space layouts. In 2012, sectionals composed 45% of the company’s sales. Despite this fact, NorthCape saw growth in other areas as well. “Although modern designs have been a trend for the past two years, we also are seeing a surge in our more traditional deep seating groups,” Golson says.

TUUCI Introduces New Website Shade industry leader TUUCI has introduced a fresh online presence with its newly designed website (www.tuuci.com). Created to showcase TUUCI’s cutting-edge designs in parasols, pavilions, lounges, and shade sculptures, the new website features an easy and elegant interactive format, splashed with stunning photography. Dougan Clarke, industrial designer, founder, and CEO, says, “We want visitors to our website to see how TUCCI’s unique shade systems can enhance the look, feel, and comfort of any outdoor environment, so we photographed our products in some incredibly beautiful locations.” Whether you want to add shade “by a pool, near the ocean, outside your business, or on a boat, these new visuals really capture the imagination and show what’s possible with our designs,” he explains. The website was launched in conjunction with TUUCI’s new product catalog, which includes the company’s entire 2012 collection of beautifully engineered and functionally superior shade structures, including new products such as the Plantation MAX F-1, the Ocean Master MAX F-1, the Bay Master cantilever, and the Vineyard cantilever. The website also features interesting extras: videos, behind-thescenes photos, and the TUUCI blog, all seamlessly integrated to draw visitors into the site and the catalog.

Sattler AG Announces Corporate Structural Changes Global performance-fabric manufacturer Sattler AG has announced a corporate restructuring of its two U.S. subsidiaries, Sattler North America Corp. and Outdura Corp. The two subsidiaries will join to form Sattler

Corp. The consolidation further supports Sattler’s commitment to become the premier supplier of performance textiles for awning, casual-furniture, marine, and industrial applications to its served markets of North, Central, and South America. The move will consolidate operations at the company’s facility in Hudson, North Carolina, and will provide a centralized location for sales, marketing, customer service, quality/technical services, and administration. According to Manfred Heissenberger, executive director and CEO of the newly formed corporation, “We firmly believe this restructuring will enable us to serve our customers, as we grow our business in the United States, in the timeliest and most customer-centric way possible.” Sattler AG is a fifth-generation, family-owned company engaged in the manufacturing of fabric for awning, marine, transportation, industrial, and military applications; tents and tensile structures; and biogas containment. Sattler acquired the Outdura brand in January 2011 from Shuford Mills, L.L.C., and created Outdura Corp. Steve Weiss, vice president of awning fabric; Natalie Scott, vice president of casual-furniture fabrics; and Jeff Jimison, vice president of marine fabrics, will continue in their current roles in the new organization, under the direction of Heissenberger. The restructuring of the Sattler Corp. was completed on October 1, 2012. More information about Sattler and Outdura can be found on their websites (www.sattler-ag.com and www.outdura.com).

Sattler AG Unveils New Outdura Logo Sattler AG has formally unveiled a new logo for its Outdura® brand. In line with the company’s vision to grow the brand further, the Outdura logo has been refined and updated to reflect a modernized version of the previous logo and aesthetically bring the two together. The result is an eye-catching, sophisticated, and modern logo that embodies everything that Outdura stands for (with appealing, stylish simplicity). Manfred Heissenberger, executive director and CEO, Sattler Corp.,

explains, “We value and appreciate the virtues the Outdura logo represents— durability, longevity, and high quality—and wanted to sustain them. We kept the sun (as a well-established key element), but gave it a light, abstract twist and combined it with a simple (yet elegant) font in different shades of silver and gray. The yellow-orange color implies the future and progress, whereas the metallic colors represent aluminum and chrome, which are commonly used in outdoor-furniture and marine-fabric applications.”

Tropitone Introduces Additions to MODA Brand Lineup Tropitone Furniture Company, Inc., Irvine, California, has introduced five new groups to its new Tropitone® MODA™ brand. Toulon, the first group of the new brand, was introduced in May 2012 and has created tremendous interest among designers. Trellis, Vue, Seven, Cruz, and Tolo complete the initial introductions and build on that interest. Tanya Stevens, vice president of marketing and service operations, says, “Since our beginning in 1954, the core Tropitone brand has been synonymous with high performance in the commercial marketplace. We wanted to create a new brand and products that communicate high style to complement the core Tropitone brand’s high performance. Tropitone MODA is the urbane and elegant companion to the Tropitone brand’s fun-loving and approachable personality.” The six Tropitone MODA groups were designed to use a variety of materials to create distinctive fashion solutions for extraordinary outdoor spaces. Many of the models will fit just as comfortably indoors as outdoors.

Peter Homestead, vice president of design, says, “We wanted to use a variety of materials to communicate high style for multiple spaces. We combined tailored upholstery fabrics with polished stainless steel. Rich textured weaves were paired with vibrant powder-coated aluminum and elegant cushions. Some groups include coordinated accessory tables. The product line also includes dining tables framed in stainless steel or powder-coated aluminum with tops of handsome high-pressure laminate and gracious frosted acrylic.” The six new groups include a total of 57 models: 39 seating pieces and ottomans, eight coordinated accessory tables, and 10 dining tables. The International Casual Furnishings Association (ICFA) has named Tropitone Tubular Materials Manufacturer of the Year for three consecutive years. ICFA also named the company Manufacturer of the Year. Its URComfort® line is the first outdoor seating to be endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association.

Erratum In our Corporate Profile column (September/ October issue) on M&G DuraVent, there were several inaccuracies. We apologize for these errors. Page 52: M&G DuraVent does not have a distribution location in Brampton, Ontario. The DirectVent GS venting system was introduced in 1993. Page 53: DuraVent is the manufacturer of PolyPro in North America (not an exclusive distributor). DuraVent’s new manufacturing facility is in Albany, New York (not Vacaville, California). The facility’s size is 120,000 square feet. The materials used in PolyPro are environmentally safe and are designed for venting products that generate temperatures of up to 240 degrees. Until hearth products become more efficient and operate at lower temperatures, products containing stainless steel and aluminum will continue to dominate the market. Lamprey should have been spelled Lampey.

Big Green Egg Introduces New Line of Rubs and Seasonings Big Green Egg Company recently launched its new line of Dizzy Gourmet custom rubs and seasonings. These all-natural, flavor-packed products are made from scratch with exotic spices and fresh Big Green Egg Company’s Dizzy Gourmet herbs (no preservatives and nothing artificial seasoning line added). To create the ultimate seasoning blends, Big Green Egg partnered with Dizzy Pig, known throughout the barbecue world for its award-winning, innovative, and unique products. The Dizzy Gourmet line of custom seasonings is custom blended exclusively for Big Green Egg and will be available only from authorized Big Green Egg dealers around the world. The initial launch includes six uniquely delicious flavors, packaged in distinctive 12 ounce bottles.

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advertiser I N D E X Advertiser

Phone

product profiles D I R E C T O RY Website

Page

Company

Page

AEI/PGS ..............................................(949) 474-3070 ................www.aeicorporation.com ........................31

AEI/PGS ................................................................................................52, 59

Agio ......................................................(888) 997-7623 ................www.agio-usa.com....................................5

Agio ........................................................................................................50, 56

California Outdoor Concepts................(877) 274-6773 ................www.californiaoutdoorconcepts.com ......37

Brown Jordan ..............................................................................................56

Empire Comfort Systems ....................(800) 851-3153 ................www.empirecomfort.com ........................27 ENERVEX ............................................(800) 255-2923 ................www.chimneyfans.com............................44

Caframo..................................................................................................50, 55 California Outdoor Concepts ..................................................................56, 60 Empire Comfort Systems ........................................................................50, 59

Gensun Casual Living ..........................(866) 964-4468 ................www.gensuncasual.com............................9 ENERVEX ..............................................................................................52, 57 Glen Raven/Sunbrella ..........................(336) 221-2211 ................www.sunbrella.com ................................35 Esarca ..........................................................................................................58 The HammockSource ..........................(800) 334-1078 ................www.thehammocksource.com ................30 FMI Products ................................................................................................57 Hearth & Home Technologies ..............(800) 669-4328 ................www.myhht.com......................................64 Gensun Casual Living ............................................................................52, 59 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (703) 522-0086 ................www.hpbexpo.com ................................53 The HammockSource ............................................................................50, 56 Henan Hi-Flame Metal..........................(360) 425-4200 ................ www.hearthdistribution.com ..................19 Hitzer ....................................................(260) 589-8536 ................www.hitzer.com ......................................57

Hearth & Home Technologies..................................................................50, 59 Henan Hi-Flame Metal ............................................................................58, 60

Infrared Dynamics ................................888) 317-5255 ................www.infradyne.com ................................41

Hitzer ......................................................................................................55, 60

Infratech ..............................................(800) 421-9455 ................www.infratech-usa.com ..........................55

Infrared Dynamics ..................................................................................57, 58

Lennox Hearth Products ......................(800) 9-LENNOX ..............www.lennox.com ......................................3

Infratech..................................................................................................58, 60

M&G DuraVent ....................................(800) 835-4429 ................www.duravent.com..................................38

Lennox Hearth Products ........................................................................52, 59

Mallin Casual ........................................(800) 251-6537 ................www.mallinfurniture.com..........................21

M&G DuraVent........................................................................................55, 60

Miles Industries ....................................(800) 468-2567 ................www.valorfireplaces.com ........................17

Mallin Casual ..........................................................................................51, 52

MLW Stone ..........................................(800) 477-7665 ................www.mlwstone.com ................................41 Monessen Hearth Systems ..................(800) 867-0454 ................www.mhsc.com ......................................25

Miles Industries ......................................................................................54, 56 MLW Stone ..................................................................................................54 Monessen Hearth Systems ....................................................................50, 52

Napoleon Products ..............................(800) 461-5581 ................www.napoleonproducts.com ....................7 Napoleon Products ................................................................................51, 56 Old World Spices ................................(800) 241-0070 ................www.oldworldspices.com........................29 Old World Spices ..........................................................................................54 Outdura ................................................(866) OUTDURA ..............www.outdura.com ....................................2 Outdura ..................................................................................................52, 57 OW Lee ................................................(800) 776-9533 ................www.owlee.com ......................................23 OW Lee ..................................................................................................51, 60 Patio Renaissance................................(866) 698-5673 ................www.patiorenaissance.com ....................45 Patio Renaissance ..................................................................................51, 59 RH Peterson ........................................(800) 332-3973 ................www.rhpeterson.com ..............................47 SCHOTT ROBAX ................................(914) 831-2200 ................www.schottrobax.com ............................39

RH Peterson ..........................................................................................51, 58 SCHOTT ROBAX ....................................................................................54, 57

Selkirk/Hart & Cooley ..........................(800) 992-8368 ................www.selkirkcorp.com ..............................63

Selkirk/Hart & Cooley..............................................................................58, 60

Winston ................................................(205) 486-9211 ................www.winstonfurniture.com ......................43

Winston ..................................................................................................51, 58

Wittus ..................................................(914) 764-5679 ................www.wittus.com ......................................49

Wittus ....................................................................................................54, 56

Patio & Hearth Products Report (ISSN 1939-6929) is published bimonthly by Peninsula Media, 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 700, Torrance, CA 90503. US Postage Paid at Lebanon Junction, KY 40150. November/December 2012, Vol 7, No 6 Š 2012 Peninsula Media. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Peninsula Media, 21250 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 700, Torrance, CA 90503-5514, patioandhearth@halldata.com, phone: (847) 763-9261. While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the materials presented in Patio & Hearth Products Report, they are not responsible for the correctness of the information and/or opinions expressed.

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Patio & Hearth Products Report November/December 2012


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Patio and Hearth Products Report - November/December 2012