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Hearth & Home March 2020

In Memoriam

Mark Stanley Brock

I never met Mark Brock, at least not in person.

But I knew him.

For four years, we talked on the phone perhaps every other week, and communicated by email more than that. Mark was full of ideas — article ideas. 

He started as a reporter, but spent the bulk of his career at Wray Ward, a marketing communications agency in Charlotte, North Carolina (one of the best, in our opinion). That agency handled the Glen Raven account for years, and still does. 

Mark was director of Public Relations, a department that he started.

Before he retired, he spent a lot of time researching and writing a two-volume history of Glen Raven and its iconic brand, Sunbrella. Mark was a very good writer, solid, and to the point. 

That also describes the way he spoke. 

When he finished the Glen Raven project, Mark retired. He was 65.

My guess is that it wasn’t very long before he called, asking if he could freelance for Hearth & Home. His first assignment was to call a number of manufacturers of outdoor fabric, and discuss the new trends in color, patterns, and textures. 

After years working at the agency, Mark knew fabrics, and he knew the people who made the fabric. That first article (“Blowin’ in the Wind”) appeared in our September 2016 issue. Over the next four years, Mark wrote 34 articles that appeared in Hearth & Home.

Most recently was the cover story on “Climate Change” (January 2020); prior to that was the article on Mom-and-Pop stores (“A Family Affair,” May 2019); and the article on Richard and Catherine Frinier (“A Life of Design,” February 2019); then there was “Leadership: The Competitive Advantage”, and 29 more.

Mark’s last article will appear in our May issue; it’s called “Women in Charge,” and is the result of 20 interviews with women who are either an owner, co-owner, CEO, president, or general manager of a hearth shop.  

On January 27, Mark Brock died at the age of 69. He is, and will be, missed — and remembered.

More Stories in this Issue

Clearing Hurdles

By Bill Sendelback

Wood-burners are selling well despite the turmoil created by the EPA’s NSPS 2020; once again manufacturers display their resilience (limbo, anyone?).

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Meet Dick Hoffman

By Bill Sendelback

The new chairman of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association just sold his retail store in Asheville, North Carolina. Don’t worry, he says the sale will give him more time to spend on his chairman duties.

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Fireside Chats

By Richard Wright

The following interviews with the CEOs of three companies – The Empire Group (Empire Comfort Systems, Stove Builder International (SBI), Broilmaster, and Primo Grills); Montigo; and Stûv America – underlines the workload required to run a hearth company today.

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Listen to Yogi

By Bill Sendelback

Collin Emmett worked hard, created a successful business, and married the right woman (which was his best decision).

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Buy vs. Borrow?

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Will the rapidly growing sharing economy take a bite out of (your) retail sales? Only if you let it by not joining the trend.

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Wayne's World

By Bill Sendelback

Designing and selling truly custom fireplaces keeps Wayne Holsapple from being bored.

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2020 January Business Climate

In early February, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare January 2020 sales to January 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 219 useable returns.

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