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Hearth & Home January 2017

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Perspective: Carpe Diem

Ten years ago, Hearth & Home published an article by Jim Houck that took a broad look at the hearth industry, including factors that influence product sales. It was very well received, so we decided to update it.

It was, and is, called “Facts, Figures & the Future,” and presents information on housing, remodeling, heating fuels – natural gas, fuel oil, propane, pellets and pellet stoves, cordwood, electricity, and pricing of those fuels (see article, Facts, Figures & the Future II).

For many in the hearth industry, it has been a rugged couple of years. It’s good to remember that the market for hearth products is huge. Everyone in North America needs at least some form of home heating.

Right now there are more than 116,000,000 occupied housing units in the U.S., and that number is growing at the rate of 600,000 to two million each year. Unlike in the early years of the rejuvenated hearth industry, when wood and coal appliances were the only products being sold, we now have a range of other options that accommodate natural gas, propane, pellets and electricity.

Navigating the Future

There’s those two words again – the Future. It must be that time of year when we push the last year out of our thoughts and focus on the new year.

Have you ever been in Scottsdale, Arizona, in February? No? Well, let me tell you that it’s a bit of Paradise. The temperature averages around a high of 66 F. and a low of 43. It’s a perfect time to be outside and enjoy air that is both fresh and refreshing.

It’s particularly welcome for those of us in the snowbelt – a mid-winter reprieve from cold winds and cold feet.

“Navigating the Future” is the title of a three-day conference being put on by the International Casual Furnishings Association, and Jackie Hirschhaut, its executive director, February 14-16. She has been in charge of many such conferences, and assures us that her list of speakers is world-class.

It’s being held at the iconic Hotel Valley Ho where, undoubtedly, there will be drinks and dinner on the roof, with a gorgeous view as the sun sets over the Valley of the Sun. If you’re a golfer, there’s a tournament; if you want to see what patio retailers in the area are doing, there’s a tour (see January News: Navigating the Future for more information).

HPBExpo Atlanta

The HPBExpo will open in Atlanta on March 1-3 for Education courses, and from March 2-4 for Exhibitions. At an average of 57 F., temperatures will be only slightly below those of Scottsdale.

There are about 40 different seminars available, covering a great variety of what specialty retailers need to know to run a successful business.

If you’re a manufacturer wondering if you should show your products at the Expo, be aware that Atlanta through the years has proven to be one of the best venues for this show.

If you’re manufacturing a hearth or barbecue product, or a related product, this is the place to be. There is no greater display of hearth or barbecue products in North America. If you have a new product that you feel is particularly innovative, definitely enter the Vesta Awards program.

If you’re a retailer selling hearth, patio, barbecue or spas, don’t miss this Expo. You’re bound to find new products that will enhance your offerings, and perhaps even a brand new category of products.

“Your future is whatever you make it.”– Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown, “Back To The Future.”

More Stories in this Issue

Wake Up Mom & Pop!

By Bill Sendelback

It’s the right time for electric fires, a category that has shown remarkable strength and resilience throughout the downturn.

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Facts, Figures & the Future II

By James E. Houck

Despite the uncertainties in weather and the price of fossil fuels, it’s clear that there remains a huge market for hearth products, and it’s increasing every year.

» Continue

Forward to the Past

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Wood – Fire – Smoke – Meat – it’s basic, it’s primitive, it’s the next hot trend in outdoor cooking.

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Growth Continues

By Tom Lassiter

There are few negatives but many positives with today’s plastic furniture, and more and more consumers are recognizing that fact.

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Listen Up!

By Bill Sendelback

In Minneapolis, Peter Solac and his crew have made listening to their customers a top priority, and it has paid off.

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The Last Frontier?

By Tom Lassiter

Not every manufacturer has given up on outdoor lighting; here are four companies creating products specifically for outdoor use.

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Off The Grid

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Sustainable grilling and outdoor living products offer a niche profit center, as well as a positive impact on the planet.

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2016 November Business Climate

In early December Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare November 2016 sales to November 2015. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 186 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: Aloft

When confronted with a problem at a loft condo in the contemporary One Boulder Loft building in Boulder, Colorado, architect Dale Smith did what architects frequently do – he came up with a workable solution.

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