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Hearth & Home May 2017

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Trends to Track

Don’t think for a moment that watching trends is only for the big boys. Consider that trends just might offer opportunities for your business.

In this issue of Hearth & Home, there are three articles highlighting trends that offer such opportunities.

Think Safari

The first one is Luxury Camping, or Glamping (glamorous camping) as it’s being called. “Glamping is a way to experience the great outdoors without sacrificing luxury,” according to Linda Clark of

Think safari, with great meals, fine wines and other creature comforts. But that safari could be in your backyard, or at a ranch in Colorado, or on an island in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Not surprisingly, Millennials are the group primarily driving this trend.

So, where do you, as a retailer, fit in?

Why, you sell them some of the gear they will need, e.g., camp stoves, portable outdoor kitchens, portable gas fire pits, mini-kamados, coolers, etc. If you’re already selling barbecues, then entering the glamping movement will be a simple exercise – just start telling someone, everyone, that you can help them turn their camping trip into a luxurious adventure! (See article “Camping in Comfort”)

The Agrihood Movement

You’ve undoubtedly been exposed to the food-to-farm trend, buying and eating locally grown food, and why not? It’s fresh and, if you do your due diligence, it’s also healthy and safe.

While glamping is usually for a couple or a family, or a few close friends, the agrihood trend is usually on a much larger scale. Agrihoods are residential communities with homes centered around a working farm. They can also involve smaller plots of land for gardening, e.g., urban gardens are taking over abandoned lots and rooftops in big cities.

Millennials are in the forefront of this movement, and it’s all about food. So, retailers, get out the cedar planks, griddle pans, woks, wood chips, Himalayan salt blocks, etc. You might even consider expanding into high-quality garden tools, heirloom seeds, or decorative garden ornaments. (See article “Agrihoods”)

Experiences Over Things

The shift is away from buying “stuff,” to spending that money on experiences (once more, it’s being driven by the Millennials). An experience could be concert tickets, a weekend getaway, dinner out, an art lesson, a few hours at a spa, or even a real safari.

Frankly, this is a trend that makes perfect sense and resonates with many other groups beyond the Millennials, e.g., Baby Boomers certainly like various experiences (bucket list, anyone?).

Some say that the appeal of experiences is being fueled by pressure to post them on Facebook or other social media (We prefer not to believe that). Does selling a customer an outdoor kitchen qualify as selling her an experience? Of course it does, as does selling her a fireplace, or a fire pit, or gorgeous patio furniture. That’s the way those products should be sold, for the experience and lifestyle they provide. (See article “Experience Preferred”)

More Stories in this Issue

Political Blockade?

By Bill Sendelback

Through the first three quarters of 2016, sales of gas fireplaces moved at a walk; in the fourth quarter they started to trot; now they’re at a full gallop.

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A Feather in Their Caps

By Richard Wright

For 41 years Sam and Claudia Halsey have run a successful and profitable hearth business in 1,200 sq. ft., and made a lot of friends in the process.

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Straight Talk

By James E. Houck

It’s time to face the truth about the EPA’s Standard of Performance for New Residential Wood Heaters.

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By Lisa Readie Mayer

The Foodie generation wants to live in farm-based communities; that trend is growing rapidly throughout the land and retailers should take advantage of it.

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Artful Merchandising

By Mark Brock

Having, or finding someone who has, the skill to make your store and products enticing to consumers is the best way to increase your business.

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Experience Preferred

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Consumers are choosing experiences over things. Here’s what that means for barbecue and outdoor living retailers.

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Barbecue Anytime and Anywhere

Barbecuing is not just for summer afternoons on a back porch or patio … but also for breakfast, a chilly late fall evening around a fire table, or even in the winter snow.

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2017 March Business Climate

In early April, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare March 2017 sales to March 2016. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 227 useable returns.

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