Expo, Vesta & Architects
Like a flock of birds landing together, so, too, did buyers (retailers and distributors) arrive in the exhibit hall at the HPBExpo in Nashville. On that first day (Thursday), they entered en masse, conducted business all day, then moved on to the outdoor party.
The next morning they worked the show for three or four hours. In the afternoon, they vanished – until next year. Yet the majority of exhibitors were extremely pleased with the outcome of the 38th HPBExpo.
One exhibitor left with 54 new retail customers; he had not been at the show since 2009. Yes, that’s a true story. Absence makes the heart grow fonder?
If there were exhibitors who didn’t have a good show, they were most likely manufacturers with products only a mother could love (and she’s on the fence!), or just ritual complainers.
It may be time to make Nashville an every-other-year stop for the Expo.
The Vesta Awards Program
Eighty-four products were entered in the competition, which is about the same as last year. Thirty were in the Hearth category, and 54 in the Outdoor Room category. That was a disappointment to us. It also will be a disappointment to hundreds of hearth retailers when they realize their manufacturers have not created anything new this year – at least nothing they consider to be innovative enough to enter in the Vesta Awards program.
With some justification, we could blame the problem on the EPA. It seems that many manufacturers have yet to figure out the conundrum of Catalyst vs. Secondary Burn. I have a vision of R&D departments burning the midnight wood, burning the overtime hours, and burning the money.
The Best-in-Show – Outdoor Room Products award went to Stellar Hearth for its FireStream, a fire and water hearth product that is customizable in shape, size, and style.
The Daniel J. Melcon Award – Hearth Products went to the Unity by DaVinci Custom Fireplaces, a single fireplace that features three individual portals of fire that can be arranged into five different geometric configurations. (See article “Moving Industries Forward”.)
Working with Landscape Architects
It’s been said that landscape architects create most of the memorable Outdoor Rooms. They certainly create most of the high-end Outdoor Rooms, which is saying the same thing.
In 2015, Hearth & Home partnered on a survey with Landscape Architecture magazine, and its publisher Anne Looper Pryor. The following information is from that report: “The typical residential landscape project value is $250,000 – $500,000; 10% of firms say their typical residential landscape project is valued from $500,000 to more than $1 million.
“Ninety-eight percent recommend, specify, or purchase outdoor furniture, appliances, and accessories for their residential landscape projects: 49% through a manufacturer’s representative; 36% online; 30% through a local retailer; and 20% at a company showroom.”
The study also showed that 64% of firms provide hospitality design services (hotels, resorts, restaurants, etc.).
If you’re not working with landscape architects, you’re missing a lot of business. To learn more, make sure to read the article on forming partnerships with these specifiers. (See article “Attention, Retailers!”.)
Ed. Note: In our interview with Timo Steinhauer of Spartherm, we indicated that it was Cosimo Cereda, head of Export, who was visiting retail stores with Timo. Not so. It was Markus Aumann, National Sales manager. We regret the error (see Hearth & Home, March 2018, “Fireside Chats”).