Patio & Hearth Blog

from Patio and Hearth Products Report

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Sales Promotions: Planned Timely Offers Increase Sales and Profits

—by Rachael Pritz, RB Retail & Service Solutions

Aside from outstanding customer service, hearth and home professionals agree that great deals help lure customers back into the retail store. Once someone owns a new wood stove, fireplace, BBQ or outdoor kitchen, it is important to stay top of mind with these potential repeat customers and it is critical to ensure they do not do take their business elsewhere.

Today’s software technology gives hearth and home businesses a guaranteed system for scheduling sales promotions. Superior business software allows you to create promotions with definitive start-and-stop dates that can be applied to products, services, or construction offerings. By setting all details in the management system and linking to outbound e-mail and other marketing communication tools, hearth and home businesses do not have to worry about missing market opportunities.

Pre-Planning Promotions
There are now technological tools available in some industry-specific business software programs that allow you to set your sale prices for specific sale dates so they automatically go into effect for each event. This automated process takes care of a big task that you will not need to worry about during the busy season or the week of your sale event preparation.

By selecting the products in advance and deciding on the sale prices early, you can be sure that your margins remain profitable. Whether you plan one, two or ten events per season, select your dates and make a solid plan in advance for each. This will make it easier to implement promotions during the season when you and your staff are busy taking care of daily operations. Here are some best practices examples to consider:

Pre-Season promotion- Many retailers and service professionals find success with offering an ‘early’ buy promotion on water care chemicals for the entire season at the start of the year. This creates a cash flow boost and helps customers feel as though they are offered an exclusive opportunity to get the best deal on water care products.

During the season promotion- Mid-way into the season, the BOGO sale on BBQ tools and accessories has proven to be highly effective with retailers throughout the country.  This type of promotion ensures product is moved which might otherwise be left on the shelves at the end of the season. The reason why this is valuable to the customer at this stage of the season is there is still plenty of time left to use them.

End of summer promotion- Offering 25% off on winter covers is a proven, highly successful end-of-season sale. This type of promotion also provides a cash boost as the season ends. It also creates the opportunity to up-sell service for closing and opening the following season.

Create opportunities with existing customers by following their buying habits. Today’s business software allows you to identify customer types for targeted marketing and promotion of specific products and services. Target the buying habits of your clients to make your promotions successful. Some industry-specific business software not only helps you create your lists, but also helps you build targeted lists of people who want to receive promotions about specific products and services.

Up-Sell Related Items
Putting the “related Items” that are pre-programmed in RB Retail and Service Solutions also helps to sell add-on items during busy sales promotion events. For example, Fire-Resistant Safety Gloves with Firewood Bucket, Replacement Filter with Ash Vacuum’s or Bellows with Fireplace Tool Sets, can quickly add large sums of additional profit.

For example, how much profit do you think you could make if every customer purchasing a new set of fireplace tools was being up-sold bellows? Let say a set of bellows has a $10.00 profit. If your staff were prompted by the software to suggest those bellows to 100 customers buying fireplace tools, that alone would result in $1,000 worth of profit from the related item feature. Imagine the gain if the item had a much bigger profit margin. In our POS software, the related item message will automatically pop up at the time of the sale so staff are prompted to sell add on items. Setup unlimited related items to up-sell then keep a few of those items close to the registers or on the service trucks for easy up-selling.

Start pre-planning your sales promotions now.  By doing so, you will contribute to a more profitable season and ease some of the in-season stress associated with the busiest times of the year. 

About the author: Rachael Pritz has been active in the pool industry for more than 20 years, which has provided her with an all-encompassing expertise in the trade. She worked at a local pool store while pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh, Pa. With her technical skills and industry knowledge, she joined the launch of RB Retail & Service Solutions in Pittsburgh in 2003. She can be reached via e-mail at

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Summer Grilling With Coyote Outdoor Living

All summer chefs, whether professional or amateur, are enjoying grilling and entertaining alfresco. Gathered with family and friends during long summer evenings, meals are enhanced by the flavors of food seared, grilled or smoked outdoors.

The newly launched Coyote website,, is the place to find inspiration for the season with unique recipes, celebrity chef videos and product spotlights. Make sure to follow our social media influencer partners, @my100yearoldhome, @idreamofhomemaking,
@gatheredgrace and @inspiremehomedecor, and check out their posts about the Coyote products they love!

Our Asado Cooker promotion is ongoing through Labor Day and includes a one-year supply of charcoal, (up to 12 bags), and free shipping with every purchase.

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The Coyote Electric Grill on a Pedestal was featured in the celebrity lifestyle Modeliste Magazine and, in the Hampton’s luxury Social Life Magazine, a Coyote outdoor kitchen was the spotlight for the June issue. A new full page advertisement with a selection of Coyote products will appear in the August issue of Hearth & Home Magazine.

A great option for urban grill masters, or those with limited space, is an electric grill which heats up fast, is easy to clean, and you don’t need any fuel, just a nearby outlet. The Coyote Electric Grill is perfect for city dwellers, where outdoor entertaining spaces are highly coveted and scarce. A rooftop area, like the one featured above, can become a veritable outdoor oasis.
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According to interior designer, Kerrie Kelly, “A rooftop patio is truly one of the joys of living in the city. Whether you enjoy al fresco meals lounging in the sunshine or s’mores fresh off the grill under the stars and a blanket, the “above it all” views give a unique perspective to get away from it all.”

The Coyote Electric Grill, made of premium-grade 304 stainless steel, has a powerful 120V – 1300W heating element that is capable of reaching 550° F within minutes and is guaranteed to last for over 5,000 hours. The safety features include a built-in surge protector, a Teflon grate that eliminates flare-ups and a 60-minute timer valve. This makes this product particularly appealing to families.

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Leslie Saeta, founder of the engaging Instagram account @my100yearoldhome, recently featured the Coyote Electric Grill on a pedestal in a beautiful oceanside setting. As noted in the post, “We have a balcony off our kitchen at the beach house and I finally found the right sized barbecue that fits. The Coyote Electric Grill is 18” wide and has a 156 square inch cooking area. I love that it has a 60 minute safety timer with a surge protector too. The compact Electric Grill on a Pedestal makes summer possible in smaller unique spaces.” Leslie adds, ”Make sure you are all set for lots of grilling outdoors. I think I might have some barbecue volunteers with this amazing view!”

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Leslie has a devoted following who have accompanied her on her journey to lovingly remodel a home, built in 1915, where her husband was raised. They purchased the home in 1969 and have shared the redesign of the kitchen, family room, two downstairs baths and the outdoor patio. A few years later they added a pool and remodeled their master bedroom, two upstairs baths, and the third-floor attic. Their last major remodel was to update the art studio (The Carriage House) and an outdoor kitchen. The authentic nature of the remodeling projects is described by Leslie, “We have always preserved the architectural integrity of our home so we have been lucky. Our seventeen-year-old remodel is still in style.”

What could be more delicious than kabobs by the beach this summer! Make sure to visit @my100yearoldhome for design, entertaining and lifestyle inspiration.

Affordable Outdoor Kitchens (AOK) was formed in the spring of 2011 with one thing in mind, to provide the very best outdoor appliances and furnishings to contractors at a price that puts outdoor kitchens within the reach of their customer – the homeowner. Most contractors send their homeowners to the internet to shop for products – without the benefit of an expert, such as an AOK specialist, who can guide them toward the products that will meet their specific cooking needs and budget. AOK has been carrying Coyote Outdoor Living products for three years.
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To what do you attribute your success in the marketplace?  Our success is based on our knowledgeable staff and the customer service we provide. We know our grills. Every feature on each of the grills we carry – all the accessories, how many BTUs, how the rotisserie mounts, etc.

What are the three keys things to consider when choosing or planning an outdoor kitchen?  Most customers and many of the contractors building their jobs have never had an outdoor kitchen. The outdoor kitchen space is much different that owning a cart grill with side shelves. It is just like the indoor kitchen; it will become a gathering place for friends and family. We always recommend creating an area that invites guests into the cooking space and ideally allows for a center island or a seating area adjacent to the grill. We ask customers what they like to cook. How do they envision using the area? Will they need refrigeration? The most overlooked item in an outdoor kitchen is counter space.

What is it that appeals to your customers about Coyote grills?  Our customers love Coyote grills because of the high BTUs, they are attractive, and it has a great sear burner option. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the laser cut grate options. Customers who like to cook fish and vegetables are hooked immediately on this option. Also, customers like that they can get ceramic briquettes.
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Why are outdoor kitchens becoming more and more popular?  Outdoor living spaces in general have become more popular. This used to be a feature found only in homes with year-round outdoor living climates – like California & Florida. Outdoor kitchens are a sought-after feature in an outdoor living space. Adding a kitchen and a fire feature to any back yard completely changes the way an area is used. It becomes your house outdoors and people can’t get enough of it. Once someone has experienced an outdoor kitchen at a friend’s house – they want one!

It is a family business, tell me one thing about you as a family that nobody knows, and people would find interesting?  People always marvel at all of us working together. How do you do it? That must be crazy! Do you guys argue?  The answer is simple. We are a family first and business owners second. Each person in this business, just like our family, brings unique qualities and strengths to the table. Being a West Virginia gal, I always loved the Farm Bureau slogan, “We pull the most when we, pull together.”

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The Outdoor GreatRoom Company Asks: Are Gas Fire Pits Safe for Pets?

Your pets are part of the family. As a family company, we have many dog dads/moms and cat parents who love their fur babies. Whether you have a furry family member or are simply an animal lover with many tail-wagging visitors, it’s important to know whether a gas fire pit table is safe for your pets. The short answer: yes but like children, ensure you constantly monitor your pets around the fire table. With many beautiful days ahead, it makes sense your dogs or cats want to spend plenty of time outdoors with you. A warm gas fire pit is perfect for extending your days outside and relaxing with your favorite critters. We compiled some top fur parent tips when shopping for a fire pit near you.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 10.33.36 AMThe gas fire pit table must be extra durable for evenings outdoors with your favorite animals – we know how easily our pets can destroy even the most heavy-duty toys. Shop for a gas fire pit that features powder-coated metal, a composite wood look, or a durable concrete blend. Powder coating resists scratches, rusts, and knicks – a perfect match against an occasional paw or two. Composite fire pits offer the wood look without splitting or rotting to protect your family and curious fur kids from unwanted slivers. A concrete blend, like Supercast™, is strong to last many evenings outside with your four-legged friends.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 10.35.51 AMWith a wide selection of fire pits in the outdoor living industry, a propane or natural gas fire pit offers maximum control and predictability. The Crystal Fire® burners offer the most realistic flame appearance and eliminate the unpredictable smoke or flying sparks of wood-burning fire pits – giving you one less thing to worry about while your kids and dogs are outdoors. An adjustable valve lets you control the flame for consistent warmth and the right amount of glow whenever. Within seconds a natural gas or propane fire pit can ignite for an instant fire or turn off to save time at the end of the evening.

Screen Shot 2019-04-25 at 10.37.08 AMOne of the most important tips for fire pit shopping is to look for a gas fire pit that’s UL Listed. UL certification requires heavy testing to ensure safety and quality in your home. By purchasing a UL Listed fire table, you can rest assured that you have one of the safest and most reliable options for your family.

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Pro tip! Don’t forget to purchase the most-loved fire pit accessory for dog and cat owners too: a glass wind guard or folding wind guard. A wind guard keeps kids’ hands, waggin’ tails, or curious wet noses away from the fire. It also protects the flame from wind and debris so your energetic family can head outside even on windy days. The folding wind guard is great for a convenient 2-in-1 burner cover and wind guard, but both options are best for pet households.

Now fetch a safe gas fire pit near you. We want to see your furry friends relaxing under the fire pit, too. Share your pics on Instagram!

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Modern Fireplace Surrounds: Unlimited Design Ideas

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With fireplaces it’s all about the quality of the flame.  However, all the accumulated design details around the fireplace can be almost as important.  In this month’s feature story we take a deep dive into the evolution of fireplace surround trends and feature our custom fireplace surround builder tool so you can design your dream surround today.

Evolution of the Fireplace Surround

61 Outstanding Fireplace Designs For the Modern Home

Dwell Magazine online recently published a great article outlining amazing fireplace designs for modern homes.  European Home products made the list 4 times!

We’re not biased or anything, but here are the fireplaces worth checking out on the Dwell: Outstanding Fireplace Design list:

#17:  Meijifocus by Focus Fires
#37:  Bathyscafocus by Focus Fires
#52:  Ergofocus by Focus Fires
#60:  Lucius 140 by Element4

Full Dwell Article Here

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European Home: Wine Country to Boston


Modern Prefab in CA Wine Country You’ll Love (and you can rent it for yourself!)
Let’s Talk Prefab. Join us as we sit down with Christy Beaver, the in-house Interior Designer for Method Homes as she talks a recent project in Sonoma County she is affectionately calling WineCamp featuring the J Series outdoor fireplace by European Home.

A Modern Prefab in CA Wine Country.

In the Media
Stanton Schwartz Redesigns a North End Condo 

The latest issue of Boston Magazine features a condo renovation project in Boston’s historic North End.  Stanton Schwartz Design had one primary objective in mind: to incorporate the building’s location into every aspect of the design. Flanked by the Boston Harbor and a private marina (where the new homeowners just so happen dock their boat), the property boasts water views on both sides.

Clear Creek Architects

Hampden Design + Construction

Interior Designer
Stanton Schwartz Design

Fireplace Installation
Boston Fine Home Details


Read the full article here…

Fireplace News
Innovations Drive Electric Fireplace Market

Maligned in the Past, Electric Fireplaces have Surged in Popularity.

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Electric Fireplace Innovations

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Get Your Outdoor Room Ready for Winter

With glimpses of winter already appearing, it’s important to prepare your patio for the season ahead. We’ve got the answers to all your backyard winterizing FAQs.

Should you bring your patio furniture inside during winter?

While our powder-coated outdoor furniture is extra strong and durable to resist the outdoor elements, we recommend keeping your furniture in a shed, garage, or other sheltered location. Since weather can be unpredictable, you can rest assured knowing your backyard furniture will remain clean and new for longer. If you are unable to store your patio furniture indoors, we suggest at least bringing the cushions inside to stay clean and dry.

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Click Here to read more…



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The Outdoor Greatroom Company asks: Are Gas Fire Pits Safe?

A backyard fire pit is great for gathering family and friends, providing warmth, and adding ambiance as the natural focal point. But are gas fire pits safe to use in your backyard or commercial patio space? Like most other products, not all gas fire pits should be treated the same. That’s why it’s important to purchase your fire table from a reputable brand that is dedicated to safety first. While it’s important to have a beautiful flame, stylish designs, and convenient features, search for a fire pit that manages to do all of that plus prioritizes safety. When choosing a propane or natural gas fire pit, keep these points in mind:


UL Listing

Rather than guessing whether a safety claim is trustworthy or not, leave it to the experts by choosing a UL Listed gas fire table. Usually UL certification is listed as a feature or the UL Listed logo is displayed somewhere. Why is UL Listing so important? For a product to become UL Listed, it must undergo vigorous testing inside and out to ensure safety and durability. Therefore, you can rest assured knowing your gas fire pit has been tested to withstand outdoor elements and other possible dangers.


Proper Installation

Should you choose liquid propane or natural gas to fuel your fire pit? All of our fire tables come set up for LP but can converted to NG with the included conversion kit. Both are viable options, but it depends on your preference and what works for your space. Consult a trained professional if you’re unsure. Your local dealer will most likely have a recommendation for a professional to help with setup, or they may offer those services themselves. If you’re looking for a gas fire pit for your commercial space, the Outdoor GreatRoom offers extra safety features and custom designs for your commercial spot.


Read the manuals first, during, and after. Before you begin, read through the manual. When installing or getting ready to use your fire pit, have your instructions in hand. After you’re finished, read through the manual again to make sure you’ve correctly completed the steps and didn’t miss anything. Pro tip: keep the manual in a safe place for easy reference.

As a family company, The Outdoor GreatRoom is committed to safety for your family and guests. When you purchase an Outdoor GreatRoom fire pit, know you’re getting the latest styles and innovations, stunning flames and cozy heat, plus durability and safety you can trust.


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The Outdoor Greatroom Company Espouses Benefits of Adding a Gas Fire Pit to the Outdoor Room

Whether you have a deck space, patio area, or even a poolside spot, your outdoor space is an open, blank canvas full of possibilities. But where do you start? With so many options, it seems natural to begin with the focal point. A gas fire pit offers a clear focus to draw guests into your outdoor room. The stunning design invites guests to sit down, relax, and enjoy the dancing flames. But what are other benefits of a gas fire pit in your backyard area?

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Gas fire pit tables are an outdoor living staple to extend your time outdoors every day and even lengthen your entire outdoor season. The glow of the fire illuminates your surroundings to keep the ambiance going and break up the darkness of the night. The warmth wakes you up in the morning as you take in your peaceful surroundings. It also keeps you and your guests cozy during those afternoon chats that turn into late-night conversations. As fall introduces cooler weather, the welcoming warmth keeps you cozy and content in your outdoor living room.

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While the traditional look and sounds of a wood-burning fire are appealing and sometimes nostalgic, gas fire pits can be designed to adopt a similar look. As for safety, our gas fire tables are clean burning and eliminate unpredictable smoke that can intensify allergies and other sensitivities. With safety as a priority, our gas fire pits are UL listed, meaning they have been thoroughly tested for the outdoors.

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Even though safety is crucial, gas fire pits offer other convenient benefits. They are perfect for an instant fire after a dip in the pool or when a sudden chill goes through the air, thanks to the quick-start ignition. This feature also ensures the fire is easy to control. As a Minnesota-based company with plenty of experience with unpredictable weather, we create our gas fire pits with durability as a priority. That’s why we choose high-quality materials, thorough processes, and attentive experts to ensure we create gas fire pit tables you can trust. With many of our products Made in the USA, we are dedicated to overseeing every step of the way.

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Aesthetically, a gas fire pit on your patio or deck offers a beautiful, lasting look. We offer gas fire pit tables in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles. Many of our fire pits are versatile to fit your ever-changing outdoor theme, too. If you are not quite sure what fire pit fits your outdoor taste, our dedicated experts can work with you to create a custom gas fire pit using our cost-effective processes. Our family-owned company has years of experience to create the fire piece of your dreams.

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Once you create your fire focal point, make sure to surround the area with plenty of comfy outdoor furniture, unique decor, and an outdoor kitchen. Tie the backyard living room together with a beautiful pergola and you’ll be set for a long, memorable outdoor season!



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European Home – 7 Stunning Modern Gas Fireplaces in Commercial Spaces

For architects and designers, commercial projects are a little bit like public art.  They can be enjoyed by all, however they also pose a number of design challenges that simply do not need to be considered for a residential project.  We picked out some of our favorite fireplace installations in public/commercial settings and talked to a handful of the architects and designers involved in these projects.

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See all seven projects…

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