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Hearth & Home April 2018

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

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”).

More Stories in this Issue

Moving Industries Forward

The Vesta Awards program was started in 2001 with one goal in mind: to honor and highlight those companies that propel their industries forward with products that are well designed and innovative.

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Good Year, Good Show

By Bill Sendelback

Once more, Nashville is proven to be the best venue for a gathering of hearth, patio and barbecue retailers, manufacturers, distributors and reps.

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News from Nashville

By Lisa Readie Mayer

A report from the barbecue beat at Expo 2018 shows that new companies and new products are combining to power the industry.

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Happy Holidays!

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Creating promotions around food, culture, and calendar holidays is a great way to grow your business.

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Small Grills, Big Potential

By Lisa Readie Mayer

The market for portable grills is deep, and getting deeper, and products are getting better by the year; they are now a must-carry item for retailers.

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2018 February Business Climate

In early March Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio and barbecue products, asking them to compare February 2018 sales to February 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 172 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: Sunbrella Everywhere!

In honor of the North Carolina Arts Council’s 50th anniversary, 50 renowned artists celebrated by sharing their North Carolina arts story, and reflecting why public funding for the arts matters.

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