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Hearth & Home April 2016

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Canadian Spring

In mid-March, the HPBExpo returned to New Orleans after a 17-year hiatus. That was a good move. The conference center was easy to work (with the exception of the outdoor burn area, which was quite a hike away).

The city was what it always has been: corrupt, dangerous, lively, exciting and more than a bit hokey. Its best parts are the restaurants, from Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant – NOLA – to Susan Spicer’s Bayona, Commander’s Palace, August, Brennan’s and more. The quality and presentation of the food was enough to make a country boy envious.

Traffic at the Expo was down a bit from that of Nashville in 2015, but still up substantially from 2014. As attendee numbers go, so goes the count at the Vesta Awards. It’s tough to make a guess, but we’ll say about 1,200 people were in the audience as Canadian manufacturers scooped up a number of awards.

Let’s call it the Canadian Spring.

At the Vesta Awards program held last month, Canadian manufacturers won four of the six top Hearth categories:

  • ICC/RSF – Wood Products, Delta Fusion
  • Dimplex NA – Electric Products, RBF30
  • SBI – Central Heating Systems, Caddy Alterna II
  • Pacific Energy – Hearth/Barbecue Components & Controls, Town & Country Prestige Series Control

Just south of the Canadian border, Minnesota-based Big Woods/Stellar Hearth won both of the remaining categories – Gas Products, Aspiration and The Art of Fire, Impressions Line. Impressions also won the Hearth Products Best-in-Show award.

Hestan Outdoor was the big winner on the Barbecue side. It won in its category of Gas Barbecues with The Hestan Grill and again with the Outdoor Room Best-in-Show award.

For a complete report on the Vesta Awards program, see The Goal is Innovation.

An Inspirational Company

Learn a bit about Glen Raven and its Sunbrella brand, and you’ll be intrigued. Learn a bit more and you’ll be inspired. From its products, to its people, to its way of thinking and its approach to business, Glen Raven is a company to admire.

No, that’s not strong enough.

Glen Raven is a company to admire, respect and emulate – if only on a much smaller and quite different scale.

It was 10 years ago, in our January 2006 issue, that Tom Lassiter interviewed Allen E. Gant Jr., CEO of Glen Raven. The result of that interview was a view of the man and his company beyond what most in the industry knew.

Now, 10 years later, you will be surprised and impressed by the changes in the company and the changes in the thinking of Allen Gant (see Endless Possibilities).

The Future of Shade

Five years ago, the folks at Glen Raven began brainstorming about how to move architects and landscape architects into more involvement with fabrics for sun control; sun control, you see, is a major problem for those professionals.

The solution was to create an international contest for those two groups. Now, in its fourth year, over 1,000 architects from around the world entered the competition, which has three categories from which they can choose: Building Shade, Wellness Garden and Humanitarian. The only restriction is that they must use fabric.

It’s an example of Glen Raven creating yet another market for its products (see The Future of Shade).

More Stories in this Issue

Succès à New Orleans

By Bill Sendelback

Attendance in New Orleans was down from the prior year; nevertheless, manufacturers appeared to be content, and most really enjoyed the city.

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Endless Possibilities

By Tom Lassiter

Allen Gant continues to steer Glen Raven into the future through innovation, transformation, creating new markets, and being wide open to new ideas.

» Continue

The Future of Shade

By Tom Lassiter

Glen Raven has created an international competition among architects that requires them to think about sun control – using fabric, of course!

» Continue

Wood Struggles

By Bill Sendelback

For some manufacturers, sales of wood stoves/inserts are declining, while NSPS Step 2 looms ominously in the distance.

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2016 February Business Climate

In early March, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,300 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare February 2016 sales to February 2015. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 212 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: Fit for a Pharaoh

Who wouldn’t love to bask in the decadent splendor enjoyed by Egyptian Pharaohs of long ago? Or, if you’re like Ryan Hughes, you might prefer building such a dream space.

» Continue