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Hearth & Home March 2017

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Time for Women

Here’s a bit of HPBA trivia. Becoming chairman of the association is an honor, a sign of respect for someone who has spent a number of years on the board, and understands the workings of the organization. It’s also dependent on having the time to travel, say, to every affiliate’s annual meeting.

The position also provides the ability to promote pet projects that might improve the working lives of a few, or all, of the members. That’s not to say all chairmen have pet projects, they do not.

For the first 23 years of HPBA’s existence, only male butts warmed the chairman’s seat. Then, at year 24, along came Sharla Wagy, head of Marketing for Hearth & Home Technologies and scourge of all things vent-free (actually that was company policy back then). Wagy broke the glass ceiling, but the next year the chairmanship went back to male domination.

Eight more years would pass before Wendy Howells, a vice president of Lennox Hearth Products, sat in that chair. Eight years is a long time, but much shorter than those first 23 years.

At that point, only two years were needed before the HPBA turned to Loretta Dolan, a Mid-Atlantic manufacturer’s rep.

Two years after that brings us to the present.

Ingrid Schroeter, co-owner of the Napoleon Group of Companies, will become chairman of the HPBA around 4 pm on Tuesday, February 28.

Women have made great strides in the association, particularly in the last five years. Now they are picking up the pace.

When Ingrid Schroeter steps down in 2018, Amie Ryan of Ryan Brothers Chimney Sweeps will take her seat (immediately, so no other person – read man – can grab it).

And Schroeter? Ingrid Schroeter already has a plan laid out, and we have no doubt whatsoever that she will accomplish what she sets out to do (see article page 28).

Climate Change

In this issue, Jim Houck updates a topic he has tackled before in Hearth & Home – climate change, and its potential impact on the hearth, patio and barbecue industries.

We already know, for example, that in many areas of the country in 2015, there was little cold weather or snow until the first week of the new year, and this year is quite similar. Patio and barbecue products continued selling up until that point, but it was a bit too late to spur the usual number of hearth product sales.

Right now, the average length of the “warm season” for the U.S. (as measured by the time between the last frost in the spring and the first frost in the fall) has increased by almost 10 days since 1980.

Fireside Chats

It has become a bit of a tradition for a feature called Fireside Chats to appear in our March issue. This year we spoke with seven hearth manufacturers to find out how business was in 2016, what trends in the industry they find important, what changes they have made in their business, and what their forecast is for the year we’re in. Together, these discussions present a very good image of the hearth industry in 2016.

See you in Atlanta for the HPBExpo March 1 to 4!

More Stories in this Issue

Impact on Business: Climate Change

By James E. Houck

In the near term, the tangible repercussions of climate change are not nearly as important to hearth, patio and barbecue businesses as consumer perception and governmental policies and regulations it arouses. Conversely, in the long term, if scientific projections are correct, its physical manifestations may become very important to these businesses.

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Meet Ingrid Schroeter

By Richard Wright

She’s the incoming chairman of the HPBA, co-owner of the Napoleon Group of Companies based in Barrie, Ontario, and she already has plans to improve business education, and to increase retail membership in the association.

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Fireside Chats

By Richard Wright

It certainly wasn’t the best year, but manufacturers we interviewed weren’t complaining. They’re just happy to be moving the needle a bit, while they worry about coming Net Zero regulations that could gravely damage their business.

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Wood and…

By Tom Lassiter

The hot look in wood is contemporary; paired with another material it may well become a best-seller.

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2017 January Business Climate

In early February, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products asking them to compare January 2017 sales to January 2016. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 231 useable returns.

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