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Hearth & Home July 2020

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Good News & More News

July has always been our Fabric issue. It was selected to coincide with the ICFA Preview Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. That show is really the first time patio retailers get to see next year’s offerings of both fabrics and frames (see new fabrics in "Inspiration Is Everywhere").

It wasn’t always that way. We’re old enough to remember when manufacturers found a four-day market in September to be sufficient. Then along came a new CEO at Brown Jordan, who had the brilliant idea of beating other manufacturers to the retailers’ wallets.

He lined up 18 18-wheelers (or so the story goes) and headed for Lake Las Vegas where he had struck a deal to exclusively place Brown Jordan furniture throughout the grounds of the Hyatt hotel (I think).

Well, the stampede was on! The ICFA and its manufacturers decided to create a three-day show at the Merchandise Mart in July, and it existed until the coronavirus came to town.

Will it exist once more when it’s safe to go out?

Who knows? But the better question is – is it really necessary? That’s a question that always stimulates conflicting answers. Most patio manufacturers like it for it gives them a chance to work with their larger, most important customers at a leisurely pace (unlike the hectic atmosphere of Casual Market Chicago in September).

But this is a new day, with a new reluctance to gather in groups unless absolutely necessary. If the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) can handle 4,400 exhibitors and 170,000 attendees in four days, and the International Builders Show (IBS) can accommodate 95,000 attendees in three days, then it stands to reason that Casual Market Chicago could easily do so in four days. Just sayin’.

Need Some Good News?

Leave it to writer Lisa Readie Mayer to uncover sunshine on a cloudy day, or terrific sales in the time of COVIC-19. Case in point . . .

“One of the neat things we’re seeing is families are reuniting around the grill,” says Lisa Gilliatt, owner of The Grill Works in Marion, Iowa. “People are home, they have time to cook, and they’re looking for ways to keep the family busy.”

By May, Gilliatt’s grill sales were up 78% over last year, with growth across all grill categories, accessories, and fuels. “We’re selling grills so fast we can’t keep them in stock,” she says. “We would receive 45 grills on a Monday, and they were all presold. We would have another 95 grills coming in the following two weeks, and most of those were already presold.”

For more good news, see "A Mirror of 2008!".

Much More Than Electric Fireplaces

If you believe that Glen Dimplex is just a manufacturer of electric fireplaces, you’re wrong, and not alone. It also manufactures wood-burning hearth products, other domestic appliances, cooling, ventilation, and renewable energy sources.

Want to learn more about Glen Dimplex? See "The Electrification of Comfort" and meet Robert Bartucci, chief executive of Glen Dimplex Americas. He’s someone that you really should know.

Be careful. Be smart.

More Stories in this Issue

Inspiration Is Everywhere

By Larry Thomas

It could be found at a trade show in Milan, the fresh colors on a new car, on a runway in Paris, or in a Netflix movie – it could even be from the feathers of a peacock.

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A Mirror of 2008!

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Some retailers are thriving, not just surviving, during the COVID-19 pandemic; tired of using an old grill, homeowners are buying new grills, pizza ovens, furniture, and other outdoor products.

» Continue

The British Are Here

By Bill Sendelback

At the recent HPBExpo in New Orleans, a number of British companies were displaying for the first time. What follows are snapshots of each company.

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2020 May Business Climate

In early June, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare May 2020 sales to May 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 229 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: On the Banks of the Arkansas River

Two Foot Ten Foot (yes, that’s the company name) was brought on this project by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects (yes, that’s the company name) to help design and fabricate two custom fireplaces with large, organically-shaped chimneys and custom gas-log sets.

» Continue