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Hearth & Home December 2019

Who Reads Hearth & Home?
Jan Trinkley, for one!

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Occupation: President/Director Marketing & Sales for Gensun

Special Interests/Hobbies:

“Family time, reading, landscaping, football, and golf.”

Problems/Issues Facing the Patio Industry:

“The issue of low-price products that are often low-quality products. The Big Box/Mass Merchant stores have increased their percentage of the market in recent years. One reason for this is the reduction of independent dealers after the banking crisis/recession in 2008 and 2009. 

“Another reason is that the mass merchants have stepped up their offering with aluminum furniture and better fabrics, but kept the price low due to their buying power. Some dealers have taken on these lower-price products in hopes of getting some of this business. In some cases they have, but in many cases it hasn’t worked. 

“Independent retailers can’t turn the door enough times, and their cost per sq. ft. is too high to be successful. They also need to pay their retail salespeople better than the mass merchants pay theirs. 

“From the 1990s to the mid-2000s special/custom orders were a large part of the specialty dealers’ business. They had a very nice niche and the consumer bought. Today, special/custom orders are much fewer as many dealers concentrate on price. With the Outdoor Room’s current popularity, and the high-quality designs available it’s time for the independent dealer to again fill the niche of giving the consumer what they want. 

“RH, Ethan Allen, and Frontgate are doing very well with outdoor furniture. Bernhardt is entering the market. Consumers want quality and they will pay for it.”

Advice to Retailers on Increasing Business:

“Sell to your strength. The independent dealer has the ability to talk with the consumer and give them what they want. The mass merchant doesn’t have trained and skilled salespeople who can do this.

“Promote and display the whole room. Again, the dealer can do this and the mass merchant cannot. Many consumers don’t understand quality, nor what the dealer has to offer. They need education on quality, and being able to get different designs and fabrics. Only the dealer can do this.”

Forecast for Patio Sales in 2020:

“The Outdoor Room’s popularity continues to be at the top of the list for the consumer’s discretionary dollars for their home. Furniture, grills, fire tables, and kitchens have all received significant press confirming this. The forecasts say it will continue. It’s a great opportunity for the dealer to grow and to grow profits!”

Years Reading Hearth Home:

“25 years.”

Reasons for Reading Hearth & Home:

Hearth & Home covers the entire outdoor industry. The articles and photography are excellent. I enjoy Hearth & Home’s dedication to the industry as a whole, providing everyone with knowledge and current information to better their business. It’s a great read!”


More Stories in this Issue

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.

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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.

» Continue