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Hearth & Home May 2020

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

The Pandemic Times

APRIL 12, 11:15am – It has been one month since the opening of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo in New Orleans, but it feels much longer than that – as it must for all those reading this.

We – meaning the staff of Village West Publishing – are luckier than most in that our work is done on computers – designing, writing, editing – and one-third of our workforce does so at home anyway. But the present rule mandating that we stay at home is still very disruptive, as are the lines at the grocery store.

As for work, I miss not being able to run down the stairs to the production department six or seven times a day to check the status of the magazine’s design. It’s just not the same seeing an opening spread on a screen.

That’s about it. As I said, we’re luckier than most.

The Pandemic Times

In case you haven’t seen it, go to and click on the orange square on the right. That will take you to a new feature we call The Pandemic Times. Its purpose is to find those people (retailers, manufacturers, distributors, or reps) with interesting ideas for getting through these tough times, and to help them share those ideas with others.

If you have done something that fits that description, please send us an email – – and let us know what it is and we’ll have a writer interview you.

Women in Charge

When a female co-owner of a hearth shop mentioned that some of her male customers would request a male salesperson to help them, even though she explained that she knew more about hearth products than anyone in the store, that gave us an idea.

First, we sent out a survey to all our hearth retailers asking if they were, or knew of, a woman in an administrative position in a hearth shop. We defined that as someone who is an owner, co-owner, CEO, president, or general manager.

About 50 women responded. Our writer, Mark Brock, interviewed 20 of them, and asked a somewhat-short series of questions. The women opened up and talked about being a boss in a male-dominated business. What those women had to say was so interesting that Brock decided to tell the story strictly in their words. (See "Yes, We Can!")

Selling to Women

Our writer, Lisa Readie Mayer, explains how women shop and buy, and how to reach them. Given that women buy most everything, this is an article you shouldn’t miss. (See "Understanding the Sheconomy".)

More Stories in this Issue

Yes, We Can!

By Mark Brock

It’s not easy being a woman in the hearth industry, but these 20 bosses know how to handle rudeness – in a nice way.

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Barlow Tyrie at 100

By Tom Lassiter

The iconic British manufacturer of teak outdoor furniture reaches its centennial year, and it’s still family-owned.

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Nørwegian Røøts

By Bill Sendelback

Thanks to Eva Horton and Bret Watson, Jøtul North America is in its fifth decade in North America; it has 100 employees and 1,100 dealers (and, yes, wood is still important!)

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2020 March Business Climate

In early April Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare March 2020 sales to March 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 220 useable returns.

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