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Hearth & Home May 2020

Barbecuing Together, Even When We’re Apart

May is National Barbecue Month. For years, HPBA has used this month to encourage everyone to get outside and start grilling. This year, of course, things are different. We still think that everyone should get outside and grill, but the focus this year is on how to do that safely.

In 2020, we aren’t going to encourage people to gather their friends and neighbors around the grill and celebrate the official start of summer and the outdoor cooking season.

Originally, we planned to launch a new annual promotion this year – National Back to Barbecue Day. For the entire month of May, we were going to be encouraging consumers to visit retailers on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to buy that new grill or the newest accessory. Our aim was to launch an annual retail event that would serve as the “Black Friday” or “Small Business Saturday” for the barbecue and patio industries. With the current situation, we did not want to go with a “go out shopping” message at a time when consumers are encouraged to stay at home.

Grilling inspires excitement, celebration, socializing. When we visit, we gather around the grill. No backyard party is complete without a grill. With social distancing, however, those parties are not a good idea, but the grill remains a great option.

This year, we are still launching National Back to Barbecue Day on Saturday, May 23. It will be a little different from what we originally planned, but we are still going to encourage everyone to get outside and grill on Memorial Day weekend – and spend that Saturday getting your grill ready. Is it clean and free of cobwebs? Is your propane tank full? Do you have plenty of charcoal or pellets?

Throughout May – National Barbecue Month – HPBA will help build anticipation and participation in Back to Barbecue Day by encouraging consumers to pledge to cook out on Back to Barbecue Day by entering to win a variety of prize packs offered by barbecue manufacturers. Grilling enthusiasts will help promote the call to participate. We’ll ask independent retailers – many dealing with temporary closures during the pandemic – to also share in encouraging people to take part, while also reminding customers to visit their showrooms once the pandemic ends.

Back to Barbecue Day 2020 will be a national call for home cooks to celebrate the official beginning of grilling season with the largest virtual barbecue cookout by cooking in their back yards.

Earlier this year, HPBA released the results of its biennial consumer survey on barbecue. Since the earliest days of the Charcoal Briquette Association in the ’60s, the Barbecue Industry Association in the ’90s, and now HPBA, the survey shows grill ownership stays somewhere between 60 and 70% of homeowners. The grills may change, but the love of grilling does not.

Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally the second most common day for homeowners to grill (56% will fire up their grills), only trailing July 4th (68%) in popularity. This year, let’s close that gap and get outside and cook.

The most common reason people grill is for the flavor (68%), but we think more people should be grilling now for the sheer joy of being outside. We have no choice but to stay home, but we can also choose to be outside with our grills, enjoying that flavor, ambiance, and convenience.

Times have changed. But our love for outdoor grilling has not. We are proud to unveil the first ever Back to Barbecue Day. Set for May 23, it’s for national grillers of all kind – from newbies to barbecue pit masters – to celebrate the official start of grilling season.

Just because we can’t be together doesn’t mean we are apart.  Our love for grilling unites us.


Richard Hoffman, Chair, HPBA

Trade associations are proving their worth to their members during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is no exception. As the new Chairman, this is not how I expected my term to start. But we are all embracing this new reality.

The HPBA webpage and emails are our best source of current information and suggested guidance. In addition, HPBA has held several timely webinars. I’ve dialed in to these webinars over the past few weeks and subscribed to their government update emails to get all the news. The webinars have covered the stimulus packages, outlined the various available loan options, and shared case studies. I hope that all of our retailer members have been able to learn from the HPBA experts. As a longtime retailer, recently retired, I am so pleased that HPBA has been able to provide important information to its members.

In addition, HPBA constantly updates its COVID-19 webpage at Check it out for the most up-to-date information, links to the webinars, and much more.

Like all of us, the HPBA team has been working from their homes to keep our industry supported with constant efforts in this challenging time. Together we will get through this, and HPBA is here to help all its members. I welcome your thoughts and communication. Please direct them to me via email to:

My Best Wishes to Everyone


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