Latest News


“Step Into Swim™” 10-Year Campaign Announced

Imagine a decline in healthcare cost inflation, reduction in drowning tragedies, improved qualities of life and health, all contributing to industry growth. This can be achieved, according to the National Swimming Pool Foundation® if we simply teach more and more people of all ages to swim. The non-profit, philanthropic organization is launching the Step Into Swim ™ Campaign this year, in an effort to improve public health and reduce drowning. The 10-year campaign will initially partner with nine organizations that teach children, adults, and minority populations to swim. Increasing the numbers of swimmers also builds demand for public and residential...

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ICFA Announces Apollo Award Finalists

The International Casual Furnishings Association has announced finalists for the 2012 Apollo Awards. The program recognizes retail excellence in the sales and marketing of outdoor furnishings.

Finalists must demonstrate outstanding accomplishments and commitment to customer service. The ICFA membership will vote via an online ballot for a winner in each category later this summer. Finalists will be honored and the winners announced at a gala awards banquet on September 22, 2012, during the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago.

Finalists in the 2012 competition include:

Single Store Category Authenteak, Atlanta Daylight Home and...

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NorthCape Goes North of the Border

NorthCape is pleased to announce the addition of its fifth warehouse in North America, creating a new distribution center in the greater Toronto area. The state of the art 20,000 square foot facility is located in Mississauga, Ontario and will inventory and support some of NorthCape’s most popular collections.

We see a great growth opportunity in Canada. We look forward to expanding NorthCape’s North American business and are pleased to have a strong team leading the charge, says Tom Murray, President of NorthCape International.

Tirro Luckino, an industry veteran, will be the general manager...

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Fire Up Your Grills for National BBQ Day on June 23, 2012

As if you needed another reason to invite your friends over for a BBQ this summer!

On June 23rd, Meal Exchange’s National BBQ Day, proudly presented by Napoleon Gourmet Grills, will be asking people to celebrate locally grown food with a BBQ and a few friends.

“National BBQ Day connects people to each other and to their food system,” said Dave Kranenburg, Executive Director of Meal Exchange,. “National BBQ Day was born out of demand from our supporters for more ways to support Meal Exchange’s work of achieving hunger alleviation and increasing access...

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Associated Energy Systems 2012 Spring Break

With a lot of excitement and beautiful weather, over 100 people attended this annual event. Attendees were treated to a full day of technical and business-building classes. Class topics ranged from IPI Gas Valve Troubleshooting to How to Design and Sell Outdoor Kitchens. When folks weren’t busy learning, they were able to visit with all the vendors at the on-site tradeshow. It was an excellent opportunity to see many items that debuted at the HPBA Expo earlier in the year. Another added attraction was the multitude of Show Special Buys and the world famous Closeout Corral – both of which...

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Comvest Announces Acquisition of Lennox Hearth Products

The Comvest Group (“Comvest”), through its Comvest Investment Partners IV fund (“Comvest IV”), is pleased to announce the acquisition of Lennox Hearth Products (“LHP” or “the Company”) from Lennox International, Inc. (NYSE: LII).  LHP is a manufacturer of fireplaces, fireplace inserts, free-standing stoves, gas log sets, accessories and venting products.

John Caple, a Managing Director with Comvest, said, “We are excited about the opportunities for LHP to be a leader in the hearth industry.  LHP has invested significantly in the last few years in innovation and new products, and we are looking forward to the...

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Remembering Al Bradtke, Former Empire Representative

Longtime Empire sales representative Al Bradtke, passed away on Wednesday, April 25, at the age of 98.

Bradtke served as a Navy SeaBee during World War II. He worked for Whirlpool for more than 18 years before striking out on his own as an independent sale rep in 1983. The Bradtke Sales Agency represented Empire for more than 15 years and was instrumental in carving out a market for Empire’s vent-free heaters in the southeast.

Empire initially imported vent-free heaters from Spain under the brand name “Corcho.” Bradtke’s strong advocacy of the then-new technology earned him the nickname ...

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HPBA Young Guns News

As we begin the process of making the Young Guns as great as we can possibly make it, we want to take a step back to say thanks to the people that have gotten us to this point: Jack Goldman, the President & CEO of HPBA, Rodge Holland, the Chairman of the HPBA Board of Directors, as well as the entire Board who both supported and approved the group’s formation. We also want to thank the first committee members (list below) who have offered their time and expertise to help make Young Guns possible.

The Young...

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