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Hearth & Home November 2016

Who Reads Hearth & Home?
Bob Zacharski, for one!

Madison Heights, Michigan

Occupation: Owner, Water 1, LLC dba Viscount Pools East.

“Viscount Pools East is a full service swimming pool, hot tub, and billiard retailer. I’ve been pursuing the entrepreneurial American Dream from a stock boy position back in 1974 to an owner/operator of one of the premier pool and hot tub retailers in the state of Michigan.”

Special Interests/Hobbies: “When you work in a retail environment and eventually become an owner, your life revolves around family and business. I have been very fortunate to have an exceptional wife and four tremendous children, great in-law’s and three fabulous grandchildren.”

How Is Your Business Faring this Year? “Sales in 2016 were robust over the last two years due to fantastic weather and an incredible drive by the staff to make the sale. Outstanding customer service tipped the profit scale and I was really happy with this summer.”

Problems Facing the Hot Tub Industry: “Consumers have a misconception on price, maintenance, operating cost, and installation of their backyard paradise. The other problem is that consumers over-buy because they believe they need the biggest, most powerful and fanciest hot tub, when in reality a great tub is available to them in the $2,999 to $5,999 range. These tubs are well built, reliable and amazingly affordable.”

Health of the Hot Tub Industry: “The hot tub market is slowly rebounding from the heydays of 2007-08 when industry numbers were at their highest. Unfortunately, we lost approximately half of the volume of hot tubs in the downturn. The industry has since seen only single-digit growth over the last three to four years.”

Years Reading Hearth & Home: “About a dozen years ago, I was at a local store picking up a new gas grill. I noticed Hearth & Home on the counter and started reading it. I quickly realized that the magazine held a fantastic wealth of information for myself, a spa dealer, as well as readers who sell hearth, patio and barbecue products. I signed up to start receiving my own subscription.”

Reasons For Reading Hearth & Home: “I receive about 10 different trade magazines a month, and Hearth & Home tops out as the best. It really serves as a resource for outstanding products, trends and designs. It has actually given me a tremendous amount of knowledge about selling and marketing.”

More Stories in this Issue

Business as Unusual

By Lisa Readie Mayer

How the co-founder of Breeo Industries and his wife are growing a business off-the-grid while traveling and camping from New England to California and back again.

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The Road from Bali

By Tom Lassiter

The thought of an outdoor beanbag chair took Australian Steve Anderson to China, then to the U.S. market with a far greater line of outdoor furniture.

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Anarchy & Resolve

By Richard Wright

Four men and one woman are laid off; a new company is formed; products they create win multiple awards.

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Courting Custom

By Bill Sendelback

With the return of new construction, once again many hearth dealers are chasing custom-home builders.

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A Life Well Lived

By Tom Lassiter

Randy Trull is a southern gentleman, quick with a smile and a story; he’s also a serial entrepreneur whose career has woven through many (most?) aspects of the textile industry.

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Helping Others

By Bill Sendelback

Merging the warmth of the heart with the warmth of the hearth has served Stoll Fireplace well throughout the years.

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2016 September Business Climate

In early October Hearth & Home faxed a survey to specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare September 2016 sales to September 2015. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 203 useable returns.

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Parting Shot: Self-Contained!

Designer and television host Kelly Edwards came to builder Art Steedle with an unconventional request: build a home out of a 20 ft. marine shipping container for a TV segment on Tiny Homes.

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