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Marketing Maneuvers

The Best Protection for Outdoor Furniture

303 Products is fast becoming the most trusted name in fabric care and furniture care among specialty outdoor-living retailers. Dennis Praegitzer, founder and CEO, has built a brand that manufacturers, including Sunbrella®, are recommending to customers to protect and enhance their patio furniture and fabrics.

Praegitzer created the formula for 303 Products in 1980, when he was working in aviation. 303 Aerospace Protectant was the first ultraviolet-sunscreen surface treatment in the world created specifically to protect aircraft from ultraviolet light and the elements. After a number of years, Praegitzer expanded the 303 Products brand and began selling products to the marine and automotive industries (and, recently, to the outdoor-living industry).

Nearly 1,000 specialty patio stores across the United States carry 303 Products on their retail floors today. “When people drop thousands of dollars on outdoor furniture, they expect it to last,” Praegitzer says. He explains that most people don’t know that even the finest outdoor fabrics can lose water, stain and mildew repellency after a period of time because the factory-applied chemical naturally wears away. Fabrics need to be cleaned and retreated regularly with products that are gentle and effective. 303 Products offers four formulations proven to keep outdoor furniture looking and performing as originally intended.

303 Fabric Cleaner™ and 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner™ remove even the most difficult stains from cushions, umbrellas, awnings and canopies. They are perfect for precleaning fabric before applying 303 High Tech Fabric Guard™, which restores water repellency and repels dirt and oil-based stains to keep fabrics clean and looking like new. They are effective on all synthetic and natural fabrics.

303 Patio Furniture Cleaner™ safely removes leaf stains, bird droppings, tree sap, barbecue smoke, oil and grease from teak, plastics, polyethylene, vinyl, fiberglass, powder-coated metal and stainless steel. 303 Patio Furniture Protectant™ is the world’s most powerful ultraviolet sunscreen that prevents fading. It brings back a like-new finish that repels soil, body oils and suntan lotions.

Sunbrella recommends 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner and 303 High Tech Fabric Guard to its customers. “They know that 303 Products won’t damage their fabrics,” Praegitzer says, and will keep the fabrics performing as they should. He works closely with Sunbrella and specialty retailers to educate customers on the how-to aspects of fabric care and furniture care.

The 303 Products Web site was created specifically as an education resource for all of the company’s product lines (including those for the marine and automobile industries). More than a million site visitors per month—15 million per year—can obtain tips on how to maintain outdoor furniture, including specific instructions for Sunbrella fabric care.

Another part of 303 Products’ education effort is providing retailers with fabric-care brochures (free of charge) that they can give to their customers who purchase patio furniture. 303 Products sends the brochures out by the thousands, even to retailers who don’t carry its products. “Our goal is to educate consumers, not just to sell products,” Praegitzer says. Glen Raven regularly refers customers with questions about fabric care directly to 303 Products to ensure that they are using the right product to get the desired results.

303 Products recently expanded its product sales into Europe and Scandinavia. “Our first year, we sold 100 cases; now, we’re selling tens of thousands of cases per year,” Praegitzer says. Customers can easily find local retailers who carry 303 Products by visiting www.wheretobuy303.com, a new Web site that includes a store locator. Any retailer who carries 303 Products and fills out the company’s factory support form is included on the site. As the demand for the company’s products increases, Praegitzer plans to continue to grow the business, while maintaining his focus on providing a high-quality product. “The most important thing to our company is to deliver a great product and great service. Price is secondary,” he says. “Retailers and manufacturers recommend us because we’re looking out for their best interests, which ultimately leads to happy customers and more sales.”

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