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Industry News

Industry News - March 2009

Glen Raven Continues Sponsorship of Outdoor Spaces Program
For a second year, Glen Raven Custom Fabrics and Somfy Systems are continuing their sponsorship of the Outdoor Spaces program, a nationwide effort that is educating consumers on the benefits of awnings. The central element in the Outdoor Spaces program is an interactive Web site, www.outdoorspaces.com, which includes extensive information on the benefits of awnings, as well as consumer information on how to secure the most suitable awning for a home. A dealer locator is accessible on the site, searchable by city or by ZIP code.

“Numerous factors are coming together that make awnings increasingly desirable,” Doug Dubay, awning market manager for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, explains. “Consumers are sold on the need for energy conservation and protection from damaging UV rays, and they want to enjoy more time outside at home. Awnings are the ideal solution.”

To encourage consumer visits to the Web site, Glen Raven and Somfy are running ads in leading consumer shelter publications. Glen Raven is also sponsoring search-engine placements and Internet advertising. The Sunbrella public-relations team is contacting consumer publications and Web sites on a national, regional, and local basis to provide additional education on awnings.

Treasure Garden Appoints Jeff Dorough VP, Sales & Marketing
Treasure Garden Inc., a leading manufacturing of specialty umbrellas and accessories based in Baldwin Park, Calif., is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff B. Dorough as vice president of sales and marketing. Over the coming weeks, Dorough will be traveling and visiting various overseas facilities. He has spent many years in the casual-furniture and accessories industry and most recently served as vice president of sales and marketing for OW Lee.

New Educational Program Available at Selkirk University
Selkirk Corp. announces its newest online course at Selkirk University: SuperPro USA Product Knowledge 101. The new SuperPro USA course addresses United States-specific content designed for the hearth market. The course is hosted through Selkirk University’s USA campus/SuperPro USA faculty. Additional courses are continually in development. This leading-edge online training tool is another example of Selkirk’s commitment to providing training and education to its customers.

SuperPro USA Product Knowledge 101 takes the student through three separate 30-minute segments on basic knowledge, sales and system design, and installation basics. For more information, visit www.selkirkuniversity.com.

Three Birds Casual Expands Into Canada
Three Birds Casual is pleased to announce the appointment of Veritas Essentials Inc. as the exclusive Canadian representative of Three Birds Casual. With this appointment, Three Birds Casual puts into place a key component in offering the North American market its affordable premium-quality teak product line.

Veritas Essentials is proud to introduce the wellrecognized Three Birds Casual teak brand into the Canadian market, which will allow retailers to approach a broader consumer segment than was previously the case.

Veritas Essentials calls upon the extensive business background of Susanne Desranleau, president, and her many years of experience with both franchised retail businesses and a successful import/distribution business. Assisting Desranleau with the strategic expansion program is Bruce Geiger, who also has extensive experience in introducing new import products, in brand management, and in implementing full distribution-support systems in the Canadian market.

Desranleau says, “Having an opportunity to introduce and expand the Three Birds Casual brand in Canada is exciting. This is a premium-quality teak product line—one that is functionally designed, engineered, and built with a quality second to none. Further, the product and Three Birds Casual organization embody the environmental stewardship and responsibility principles that Canadians demand. Best of all, the beautifully designed and fully supported conception-to-completion approach of the Three Birds Casual group makes this a teak product line retailers cannot wait to bring onto their floors.”

Canadian retailers can contact Veritas Essentials at (780) 497-7400, (877) 497-7477, or susanned@shaw.ca.


303 Products Makes Change to Packaging
To make things easier for 303 Products retailers and distributors, as of April 1, all 303 Products in the 16-ounce size will ship in cases of six, instead of cases of 12. “The new six packs will ease the fulfillment process,” Fred Scuncio, company spokesman, explains. “They will also improve ordering/reordering through traditional distribution, particularly with respect to the smaller retail outlets.” For more information, call (800) 223-4303.

Selkirk Introduces New Smart Choice Lifetime Warranty
Selkirk Corp. has introduced a new version of its Smart Choice lifetime warranty, offering upgraded warranty coverage for installations that are performed by professionally certified technicians. The new warranty went into effect January 1, 2009. The new warranty coverage applies to all Metalbestos, SuperVent, SuperPro, and other Selkirk brand products that are covered by its Smart Choice lifetime warranty.

If installation is performed by professional installers certified in Canada by Wood Energy Technical Training or Association des Professionnels du Chauffage, or in the United States by the National Fireplace Institute or the Chimney Safety Institute of America, Selkirk will provide replacement product with a similar or like quality of available product, free of charge, for a full 15 years from the date of original installation. After 15 years, replacements are discounted 50 percent.

Consumers may register their purchases through Selkirk’s online product registration at www.selkirkcorp.com or return the product-registration card included with the installation instructions. This extended coverage is a commitment by Selkirk to stand behind the high-quality work of the wide network of professional installers using Selkirk products.

The Companion Group Names Tom Lengyel Key Account Manager for Mass-market, Sporting-goods, and Grocery Divisions

Tom Lengyel has joined The Companion Group as a key account manager for the mass-market, sporting-goods, and grocery divisions. Lengyel has 12 years’ experience in the barbecue industry. He will be based in Atlanta.

Lengyel’s many years in the industry include working most recently for Landmann USA, manufacturer of firepits, fireplace grates, and charcoal and gas grills. He worked with accounts such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, Cabela’s, Bass Pro, and Ace Hardware, to name a few. Prior to working at Landmann, Lengyel was with Royal Oak Charcoal, the largest manufacturer of private-label charcoal in the United States. Lengyel lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage daughters and is an avid barbecuer.

TUUCI Introduces New Web Site
TUUCI, a global leader in innovative shade structures, has redesigned its Web site (www.TUUCI.com), coupling enhanced functionality with sleek design that makes navigating the company’s product lines a smooth and visually appealing experience. The site will serve as a design and planning resource for customers seeking high-quality, marine-grade shade structures.

“We wanted to give our customers a Web destination that helps them envision the limitless possibilities for outdoor spaces,” Dougan Clarke says. Clarke is founder and CEO of TUUCI, which was established more than 10 years ago with a mission of creating innovative shade equipment that combines beauty with durability and ease of use. “We can customize our products to fit any outdoor area or specific customer’s needs, and our new Web site demonstrates those endless design possibilities in an easy-to-navigate visual presentation,” Clarke says.

HD Expo in Las Vegas Scheduled for May 14–16
Now, more than ever, the hospitality industry is trying to turn today’s challenges into tomorrow’s bottom-line solutions. To meet these demands, designers, purchasing agents, owners, operators, and architects are turning to the Hospitality Design Exposition & Conference, which will be held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas on May 14–16, 2009. This year’s HD Expo will focus on the critical tools, products, and services that turn insight into opportunity and help attendees gain a competitive advantage that lets them move forward during the economic downturn.

HD Expo draws more than 11,000 industry decision makers, offering tips on navigating the economy in information-packed, idea-generating educational sessions that cover all facets of design and innovation. Networking events and a trade-show floor with more than 1,200 exhibitors in over 350,000 square feet of exposition space offer attendees the opportunity to experience what’s really new in product design and thought leadership.

R.H. Peterson Celebrates 60th Anniversary
2009 marks the 60th anniversary of R.H. Peterson Company. To commemorate that milestone, and in honor of Bill White, president emeritus, the annual sales-representative award for outstanding sales achievement has been redesignated the Bill White Top Achiever Award. Honoring excellence in sales, the award was presented to the company’s top performers at the company’s annual banquet, held in City of Industry, Calif., in February.

ICFA Announces Dates for Future Shows
The International Casual Furnishings Association has announced dates for both its Preview Show and the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market™ for 2010 through 2014.

Dates for the ICFA Preview Show are:
Tuesday, July 13, through Thursday, July 15, 2010;
Tuesday, July 12, through Thursday, July 14, 2011;
Tuesday, July 17, through Thursday, July 19, 2012;
Tuesday, July 16, through Thursday, July 18, 2013; and
Tuesday, July 15, through Thursday, July 17, 2014.

Dates for the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market are:
Tuesday, September 21, through Friday, September 24, 2010;
Monday, September 12, through Thursday, September 15, 2011;
Thursday, September 20, through Sunday, September 23, 2012;
Tuesday, September 17, through Friday, September 20, 2013; and
Wednesday, September 17, through Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Dudley Flanders of Lloyd/Flanders, ICFA chair, explains, “An overwhelming majority of our retail customers prefer that the Chicago International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market be held in September. A valid argument was made by some that the industry should sanction only one market, rather than a Preview Show in July followed by the Market in September.”

If the industry were to have just one market, however, the best time for it would be the last week in July or the first week in August, and those dates are not available, in the foreseeable future, because of already-established trade shows on the calendar of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, Flanders says.

In Memoriam
Paul Birnstihl, a salesperson in the hearth industry for 20 years, passed away on January 5, 2009. The first three years of his career were spent at Nelson & Small Distributors, and then he worked at Sandhill for three years as national sales manager. At that point, he created his own independent representative company, Birnstihl Sales, with the New England states as his territory. The major lines he represented were HearthStone Quality Home Heating Products and Hearthland Appliances.

Birnstihl served on the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association’s Education Committee and on two long-range planning committees, the Affiliate Restructuring Task Force and the Affiliate Leaders Committee (as chair). In addition, he served on the HPBA Board of Directors for many years, was on its Executive Committee, and was the 2005 HPBA chair.

Survivors include his daughter, Stephanie Birnstihl-Lawrence, 23, and his son, Daniel Birnstihl, 21. He also leaves behind Diane Keegan, his fiancée, and Diane Rossi, his ex-wife, to whom he was married for 30 years. Rossi is executive director of both the Northeast HPBA and the Mid-Atlantic HPBA.

EcoSmart Fire Qualifies for Federal Tax Credits
Customers can receive up to 30 percent of the price or $1,500 in tax credits for the purchase of any EcoSmart Fire. These tax credits are the result of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which has made significant changes to the tax credits available for purchase of nonbusiness energy property.

EcoSmart Fire recommends that you consult your tax advisor for details specifically relating to your individual circumstances.

Planning Underway for the 2009 International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo
Pool, spa, and backyard product manufacturers and suppliers who want to save a step in the sales process should plan to exhibit at the 2009 International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo, where they will increase their bottom lines, build brand awareness, and meet face to face with ready-to-buy attendees. The Expo will be held November 16–18 in the Bayside Halls at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

The 2009 event is expected to attract more than 11,000 total attendees. In addition to pool and spa builders, retailers, service technicians, distributors, landscape architects, and design agencies, the show will also draw a large number of executives and senior-level managers.

PSP Expo: A Vital Resource for Retailers
Bringing builders, retailers, service professionals, and landscape architects face to face with manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers in a high-impact selling environment, the PSP Expo is an excellent resource for products, education, and networking. More than 600 exhibiting companies will fill over 2,000 booths and draw over 11,000 attendees, and 70 educational seminars will address industry issues and trends.

Other highlights include the new-product pavilion, green pavilion, backyard-living pavilion, APSP great ideas community, Genesis 3 pavilion, live workshops, and exhibitor product clinics. The Expo ranks 101st in the 2008 Tradeshow Week 200. The official show sponsors include the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals and Pool & Spa News.

RAIS Appoints Jason Perry National Sales & Marketing Director
Danish contemporary stove manufacturer RAIS, Inc., has appointed Jason Perry to its top U.S. headquarters national sales and marketing post.  A longtime industry professional, Perry started in the stove business in 1985 as editor of Wood ‘n Energy magazine (now Hearth & Home), followed by marketing executive positions at Vermont Castings, Majestic Fireplaces, and (most recently) DESA Heating. As national sales and marketing director, Perry will work closely with the RAIS sales and dealer network to develop and implement strategies that take the RAIS brand to the next level.

Design Specialties Expands Into New Plant
Design Specialties, Milwaukee, a leading manufacturer of glass doors for fireplaces, is pleased to announce the completion of its new 40,000–square-foot plant in Milwaukee. The new facility was built specifically to house a new state-of-the-art powder-coat line, as well as a number of other capital-equipment upgrades. The new equipment purchases total approximately $600,000, and the new plant more than doubles the company’s current space. These investments will allow the company to improve lead times and quality, which are already regarded as among the best in the industry.

In Tough Times, Kinglsey-Bate Invests for Growth
Kingsley-Bate recently announced a significant investment in its U.S. warehouse capacity. The investment expands the company’s warehouse space to more than double its previous size, to 125,000 square feet. This is the third time that Kingsley-Bate has expanded its warehouse space since 2001.

“At the rate our business has been growing, we’ve simply outgrown our space,” Clay Kingsley, president, says. “We added 60,000 square feet in 2006, but at the pace sales kept climbing, we quickly realized it just wasn’t going to be enough. The new space not only enables us to increase stock levels on current products, but gives us more latitude to bring in new product categories.”

The expansion also allows the company to support retailers better during the current economic climate. “This is more than an investment in our future growth,” Kingsley adds. “We know that 2009 will be a challenging year. Store traffic is down, and retailers want to carry less inventory. On top of that, converting retail traffic will be more competitive than ever. Shipping special orders quickly can be the difference in winning the sale. The additional warehouse space allows us to meet these challenges with increased stock levels and faster order processing. We wanted to make sure we could deliver quickly for our dealers, and we will.”

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