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Hearth & Home March 2014

Parting Shot: Universal Appeal

All we know about this image is that it’s of Chacma (Cape) baboons warming up around a fire, and was taken by a game warden in Africa.   

What we love is that it speaks to the ability of a fire to draw individuals – in this case baboons – together to enjoy the warmth and ambiance – and the camaraderie of others.

In a previous issue (Hearth & Home, August 2013) we spoke of firepits and outdoor fireplaces, and the fact that both products are selling well – very well – this year.

Referring to firepits, one manufacturer made the comment that a firepit just won’t sell without at least a couple of deep-seating chairs as part of the package. 

Well, not all the time. These fellas (and gals?) shown above are proof that soft, comfy chairs are not always needed, and that the smarter ones always sit upwind of a fire (note baboon behind smoke at right, probably not a wise choice for a mate).

Now, if these hairy relatives of ours ever begin cooking their food, we should all take note. That, according to Richard Wrangham (see article entitled “The First Cookout,”), may be the first step toward an enlarged brain and eventually competing with us by opening hearth, patio and barbecue stores.

More Stories in this Issue

Meet Loretta Dolan

By Richard Wright

HPBA’s new chairman is smart, opinionated and willing to fight for what she believes; she thinks retailers in the association have been underserved and wants to rectify that situation.

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Fireside Chats

By Richard Wright

Manufacturers that we interviewed this year all posted strong growth numbers of 15 to 20 percent, and perhaps a bit beyond. They did that while key indicators such as new home starts and sales, remodeling activity and consumer confidence were still far from what they were back in 2008.

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The First Cookout

By Scientific American, September 2013;
Interview By Kate Wong

Nearly two million years ago our ancestors began to barbecue. And those hot meals, Richard Wrangham argues, are what made us human.

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Focusing on Fabric

By Tom Lassiter

If fabrics aren’t front and center in your store, and on the lips of your salespeople, then you’re leaving money on the table.

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Hearth Reps: A Report Card Part 2

By Richard Wright

Being a hearth products rep differs dramatically from selling either patio or barbecue products. The product itself is far more complex, and subject to local and national codes and regulations that change somewhat regularly.

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Store Design: A Master Class

By Richard Wright

To find perfection in patio store design, head for Alabama in August, visit the Summer Classics store in Pelham, then return home and use what you’ve learned.

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Food for Thought

By Richard Wright

Hearth & Home talks with barbecue folks about the past year, the coming year and trends they have noticed.

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2014 January Business Climate

In early February, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,135 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare January 2014 sales to January 2013. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 203 useable returns.

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