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Hearth & Home December 2019

Richard Wright
Hearth and Home Magazine

The Past & Future

The main thrust of this issue – as it usually is at this time of year – is to provide you with a glimpse of how your peers view the passing year, as well as the coming year. Read the industry sections carefully and you should be able to sense consensus on some issues facing us in 2020.

That should help you in running your business. Generally speaking, most people interviewed for these articles tell us that business in 2019 was at least level with the prior year, and for many, it was better. As far as the coming year, there seems to be more than a bit of trepidation.

The three retailer profiles we have in this issue are particularly interesting, and illuminating. The first is Custom Fireside Shops, a two-store business based in California that does nothing but hearth, no patio, no barbecue, no spas, just hearth – all 27 brands of hearth products. Mitch Heller is the president.

In the Greater Phoenix area, Mike West has three terrific barbecue stores – one in Tempe (14,000 sq. ft.), one in Scottsdale (6,000 sq. ft.), and the third in Peoria (6,000 sq. ft.) – showing upwards of 42 different brands.

In Tupelo, Mississippi, Meredith Tollison moved to a new location within walking distance of the old, and sales went through the roof. The new design was dramatically different, and very upscale – and that made all the difference. The number of brands carried there? Too many to count.

Perry Ranes, vice president of sales for Travis Industries, is retiring at the end of December, with plans to travel the country with his wife Peggy, seeing all those interesting sites he passed in a blur as he traveled with his reps. He was just too busy back then. If you’re a rep, you can certainly relate to that.

Now, if he only had read the article "Wealth Depends on Health,” he would have taken the time to smell the roses! Or not.

Knowing that the Travis Industries people like to have a little fun, we asked Perry to tell us a few stories. He opened up with Kurt Rumens paying Glen Yoder $100 to slap a cake into Perry’s face right before Perry had to give a speech. He gave the speech anyway, and it was a success.

Boys just like to have fun, I guess. If you call that fun.

(For more stories from Perry Ranes, read the article "The Nicest Guy!".)

Happy Holidays, everyone, from all of us at Village West Publishing!

More Stories in this Issue

The Nicest Guy!

By Richard Wright

The life and times of Perry Ranes, whose soft, friendly manner has served him well managing Travis Industries’ sales force; he retires on December 31.

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Good to Better

By Bill Sendelback

The new NSPS (Step 2) was, and remains, a challenge for manufacturers and, to a lesser extent, retailers, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel (May 15, 2020).

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Nothin' But Hearth

By Bill Sendelback

There are still many specialty shops that sell only hearth products; one of them is Custom Fireside Shops in California.

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Islands in the Southwest

By Lisa Readie Mayer

BBQ Island is a three-store retail oasis of barbecue and outdoor living products, backed up by a strong social media and educational element.

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2019 October Business Climate

In early November, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare October 2019 sales to October 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 209 usable returns.

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Parting Shot: Bali in the Desert

The blending of Balinese pod-style architecture with contemporary design aesthetics, then placing it in a desert landscape with towering saguaros and views of Pinnacle Peak, was a challenge for the folks at Tate Studio Architects in Cave Creek, Arizona.

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