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Hearth & Home November 2014

Who Reads Hearth & Home?
Mary Fruehauf, for one!

Boulder, Colorado

Occupation: President - Fruehauf’s Patio – A Retail Store Selling Outdoor Furniture and Accessories for Your Patio, Garden and Home since 1977.

Special Interests/Hobbies: “Travel! Spending time with family, Bassett Hounds and Dachshunds plus, as my friends would say – work.”

Issues Facing the Patio Furnishings Industry: “Navigating this new world where technology changes so rapidly. Learning the pros and cons of what the Internet offers. Trying to keep up with competition everywhere. Working to meet the more demanding expectations of today’s customers; they want everything to be perfect and they want to have it immediately.”

Trends You See in the Patio Industry: “I’m not sure it’s a trend but, definitely, comfort. People now want to spend even more time outside, and they want their furniture not only to look great but to be comfortable as well. We also talk about the blurring of the line between indoor and outdoor, so you can continue your indoor style outdoors now. And, of course, fire pits. They have almost become a must-have item for every backyard.”

Issues Facing the Barbecue Industry: “We have only been seriously involved in the barbecue industry for about three years. What we see is lots of hardworking small-store owners putting in long hours for very low margins.”

Trends You See in the Barbecue industry: “Using the grill to cook everything, from appetizers to dessert. Everything associated with pizza seems to be popular now. There’s a big interest in charcoal grilling. The Big Green Egg continues to be a big draw.”

Key Things Retailers Should Do to Improve Their Patio and/or Hearth Business: “Retailers need to create fun, interesting, unique and even interactive displays throughout their stores to attract customers and keep them coming back and bringing their friends. They need to spend a lot of time training their staff so they’re not only knowledgeable on products, but also confident in giving excellent and enthusiastic service to the customer.”

Years Reading Hearth & Home: “Every year, each issue.”

Reasons for Reading Hearth & Home: “I need to know what’s going on in our industries. Also, we get ideas that we can implement in our business. We even use information and articles from the magazine for discussions in our weekly sales meetings.”

More Stories in this Issue

A Banner Year

By Bill Sendelback

In the last two years, the U.S. solar market has more than doubled as solar power has become more price competitive.

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Gas: Heart of the Hearth Part III

By James E. Houck

This is the third of a three-part series on gas-fueled appliances in the residential hearths of North America. It focuses on the history of gas in the hearth, the market size and character of the various categories of gas hearth appliances.

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2014 September Business Climate

In early October, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,400 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare September 2014 sales to September 2013. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 193 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: A Calming Room

We all have too much “stuff” as George Carlin used to say, and he was right. Let your mind wander through a few rooms in your home and you should quickly see what we mean.

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