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from Patio and Hearth Products Report

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Swiss Grill Continues to Build Momentum in America

IRVINE, CA – Swiss Grill is a global organization with a sterling international reputation. After three years in the United States, that reputation has translated well to the American market where the UK-based company continues to gain ground.

Founded by the Hartwig family, Swiss Grill was inspired by the family’s Swiss Heritage and their deep-seeded love for the outdoors and grilling. The brand reflects that love and is designed to offer high quality at affordable pricing—with good margins for dealers and distributors.

The brand is extremely successful in other parts of the world, and is doing well in its third year of trading in the United States. Swiss Grill features cart grills, built-in grills, refrigeration and doors, drawers, and various other components.


The Zurich Z650D is one of many Swiss Grill models gaining ground in the United States market.

Swiss Grill was born out of a genuine passion and enthusiasm to create the ultimate grill, and still be affordable. Pricing starts at $249 (MSRP), and finishes at $2,399 (MSRP).

Swiss Grill barbecues deliver style and sophistication, as well as the functionality to cook like a professional. All the company’s barbecues are made from stainless steel components, and the strong burners guarantee the longevity that customers have come to expect of Swiss design.

Standard features on items such as the Zurich Z650D (pictured) include:
• commercial grade rotisserie;
• 1.2 mm tubular burners and sear plates;
• 8 mm stainless steel grids;
• party-ready bottle opener;
• an adjustable infrared side-burner perfect for searing meats or boiling pots and pans; and
• a Swiss style thermometer

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A Big, Beautiful Fireplace All Year Long


The 864™ TRV Clean Face GSR2 Gas Fireplace can put out major heat or cooler ambiance.

MUKILTEO, WA – Fireplace Xtrordinair is offering the 864™ TRV Clean Face GSR2 Gas Fireplace, the perfect solution for customers looking to have a big, beautiful fire that provides supplemental heat. Ideal for small to mid-sized homes or zone heating in large living spaces such as great rooms and living rooms, the 864™ TRV CF allows users to comfortably display a gorgeous, glowing fire all year-round while being able to control the heat output.

The large, clean fire view showcases the highly detailed Dancing-Fyre™ log set and glowing embers from any angle in the room. This all-glass appearance shows no visible face, grills or louvers—it simply highlights the fire. The 864™ TRV CF allows the option to sheetrock around the edges of the fireplace or to use a Tile Guide. The Tile Guide gives the ability to frame the fireplace with any non-combustible tile or stone, right up to the edge of the guide, for a more clean appearance.

All of the components on this fireplace can be operated with the GreenSmart™ 2 wall mounted remote control. The remote can operate in MANUAL ON/OFF, THERMOSTAT, or the efficient, money-saving GREENSMART™ MODE, where the flame modulates as the thermostat calls for more or less heat.

The 864™ TRV CF is able to achieve such a controlled heat output because of its huge turn-down ratio. This fireplace can go from 31,000 BTUs/HR down to 6,700 BTUs/HR on natural gas or 5,200 BTUs/HR on propane.  With this exceptional turn-down ratio, users are able to enjoy a wide variety of heat outputs and use the 864™ TRV CF 365 days a year.

Another control factor is the standard Accent Light. The Accent Light is adjustable and highlights the fire in six different settings, adding a warm glow to the interior of the firebox whether the fire is on or off. The Accent Light is lit from the top of the firebox and shines down onto the fire presentation, showcasing the highly detailed, hand carved 10-piece log set with burning embers. The Accent Light is ideal for warm summer nights to achieve the look of roaring flames and a stunning fire view without overheating the home.

The 864™ TRV CF can still boast a large heat output when desired. With 31,000 BTUs/HR and two 90 CFM standard blowers, it can really heat a big living space in no time. It is also available with an 8-inch top or rear venting option, allowing for maximum installation possibilities. With a massive glass fire viewing area, this fireplace is a show-stopper that not only serves as an excellent heater, but as a beautiful focal point in any home.

The 864™ TRV CF GSR2 Gas Fireplace by Fireplace Xtrordinair is not only a stunning fireplace, but a wonderful heat source that can be installed in any room and enjoyed in any climate. It is capable of boasting an impressive fire that can heat large areas or to set the perfect ambiance without all of the heat.

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Innovative Hearth Products Continues Momentum with New Astria Georgian™ Wood-burning Fireplace

Astria_PhotoThe Astria brand’s new Georgian™ wood-burning fireplace features a large viewing area and makes a perfect focal point for any room. It is firebrick-lined, featuring a patented Mosaic Masonry™ technology.

As a result, the Georgian offers the real look of a site-built masonry fireplace. Available in 36-inch, 42-inch and 50-inch models, this wood-burning fireplace has multiple interior options, such as Red Herringbone, Ivory Herringbone, Red Stacked Split, Cappuccino Stacked, Standard Grey Herringbone, Rust Herringbone, Creamer Stacked, and more.

Numerous fireplace door finish options are available, including Black, Brushed Brass and Platinum. The combination of style choices enables the Georgian to be customized to a homeowner’s preferred taste. Whether customers are looking for a traditional or contemporary wood-burning fireplace, this product has the ability to transform unadorned living spaces into cozy retreats.

The Georgian is a fully-insulated fireplace, ensuring trouble-free operation in colder climates. It has a durable powder-coat finish which makes the fireplace scratch-resistant with carefree handling. This wood-burning fireplace also comes with a standard cast iron grate with andirons, a tight fitting damper and mesh fire screens.

The Astria brand Georgian features Innovative Hearth Products’ 12DM double-wall wood-burning chimney. To safeguard the Georgian’s longevity, it is backed by a 20-year limited warranty.

Retailers interested in learning more about Astria’s Georgian wood-burning fireplace can contact Innovative Hearth Products’ directly at For additional company information, visit

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Dimplex Wins Vesta Award for Electric Products


Opti-V™ authentically recreates the sensory experience of sitting in front of a wood fire.

Dimplex Opti-V™ dazzled audiences and took home the 2014 Vesta Award for the Electric Products category at this years’ HPBExpo in Salt Lake City. Winners of the prestigious award are chosen by a panel of judges selected from the ranks of retailers, distributors, designers, laboratory scientists, affiliate leaders, and other industry leaders.

The unique patented design combines flickering flames with three-dimensional LED logs that sporadically spark and crackle. With the perfect blend of magic and realism, Opti-V™ has created the most unbelievable flame effect yet, resulting in award-winning fireplace technology.

Opti-V™ is the first electric fireplace to authentically recreate the sensory experience of sitting in front of a wood fire. Using a unique and patented combination of real fire footage displayed on a high-definition LCD screen with a clever illusory technique, Opti-V™ renders scenes of flickering flames which dance amidst a refractory brick effect, between carefully molded logs, providing a true three-dimensional depth-of-field. With the addition of an audio element of crackling logs, the illusion of experiencing a true wood fire is startlingly real.

“Dimplex is always thinking and developing different ways to create the best fireplace experience possible and Opti-V™ is the newest expression of our innovation,” says Jane Laurie, Director of Marketing at Dimplex. “We’re really starting to blur the lines between illusion and reality with Opti-V™ and opening up the possibilities for interesting and creative applications.”

The proprietary illusion that Opti-V™ uses to create its convincing effect is called Pepper’s Ghost; a reference to John Henry Pepper, the university professor that invented the technique in the mid-1800’s.  Pepper’s Ghost famously makes ghosts come to life at Disney’s Haunted Mansion attractions. Dimplex uses Pepper’s Ghost to give the amazing depth and dimension to the Opti-V™ flame effect.

It requires the use of two full sets of Dimplex’s patented LED inner-glow logs, one visible and one hidden, which reflects off a precision glass panel. This creates the illusion of a three-dimensional firebox with flames that appear as they would in a natural wood fire. Combined with the use of real, high-definition wood flame footage that includes sparks and sound, there has never been a more realistic electric fireplace.

Designed for the built-in recessed look, Opti-V™ technology is available in two inspiring sizes to suit any installation: Opti-V™ Solo is 30 inches wide x 17 ¾ inches high and Opti-V™ Duet is 54 ¼ inches wide x 17 ¾ inches high. Opti-V™ allows for a completely customizable wall treatment with zero-clearance for a seamless look that suits the most beautiful designs. It can be hardwired and there are no gas lines or venting to consider.

It is completely maintenance-free and operates with 100% efficiency at less than one cent per day. Opti-V™ is a fireplace like no other. The flames flicker and dance like gas, but it’s not gas. It crackles and sparks like wood, but it’s not wood. It’s virtually magic!

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Vesta Award Winners Make an Impact at HPBExpo

At this month’s Hearth, Patio, Barbecue Expo (HPBExpo) in Salt Lake City, a number of manufacturers won Vesta Awards for product innovation and  product excellence. The Vesta Awards are sponsored by Hearth & Home Magazine. Here is an overview of some of the Vesta Award winners. Congratulations to all.

Dimplex_PhotoVesta Award for Electric Products

Dimplex Opti-V™ dazzled audiences and took home the 2014 Vesta Award for the Electric Products category at this years’ HPBExpo in Salt Lake City. The unique patented design combines flickering flames with three-dimensional LED logs that sporadically spark and crackle. With the perfect blend of magic and realism, Opti-V™ has created the most unbelievable flame effect yet, resulting in award-winning fireplace technology. Opti-V™ is the first electric fireplace to authentically recreate the sensory experience of sitting in front of a wood fire. Using a unique and patented combination of real fire footage displayed on a high-definition LCD screen with a clever illusory technique, Opti-V™ renders scenes of flickering flames which dance amidst a refractory brick effect, between carefully molded logs, providing a true three-dimensional depth-of-field. With the addition of an audio element of crackling logs, the illusion of experiencing a true wood fire is startlingly real.

kamado_PhotoVesta Award for Charcoal, Wood Barbecues & Smokers

The Kamado Rocket is designed to outperform any other type of smoker/grill on the market today. It is 100% handmade to the highest quality right here in the USA, offering more standard options and capabilities than all other smokers/grills combined. The Kamado Rocket combines the traditional Kamado style grill with 21st century engineering to bring the best cooking experience on the market. The Kamado Rocket acts as a grill, smoker and convection oven. It is the ultimate three-in-one BBQ Grill.

Duraflame_PhotoVesta Award for Fireplace Products
The Duraflame® illuma® vent-free bio-ethanol fireplace is a contemporary-styled freestanding fireplace with a log set that features a patent pending burner technology that allows the flames to emanate from the surface of the logs – a first in the industry. The fireplace uses Duraflame’s unique, no-pour illuma-fuel® liquid bio-ethanol fueling system that enables users to safely refuel the appliance while it’s still burning for uninterrupted enjoyment. This was the second Vesta Award that Duraflame has received in their illuma bio-ethanol product line.

The_Vision_PhotoVesta Award for Wood Products
The Vision is the industry’s first and only see-through wood burning stove. It is non-catalytic EPA approved with very low emissions averaging at 3.6 g/hour. The firebox is made of high grate stainless steel for a quicker heat transfer and more durability. It comes completed assembled with two heat-activated blowers, a sealed ash pan, a built-in barbecue grill and a patented automatic air control. The user can load this stove on either side. Maximum log size: 24 inches.

CalSpa_ImageVesta Award for Outdoor Room Equipment
The Master Chef Outdoor HPB Island features an illuminating countertop with raised bar seating for up to ten guests to comfortably enjoy a wide range of eye-catching innovations including under counter lighting, a kamado grill and a large open cooking space.   At the center of the island is Cal Flame’s exclusive Four-Burner Convection Grill – built to provide superior heat distribution and designed to reduce grilling times. The Cal Flame Convection Grill provides an 800 square inch cooking surface with (4) 15,000 BTU high powered burners that grill, simmer, and sear your favorite meats to perfection.  Programmable LED lights add ambiance and décor while two cascading waterfalls, a luminous fire pit, and heart warming fireplace provide a calming therapeutic show that is sure to soothe the senses.

Napoleon_PhotoVesta Award for Gas Barbecues
The TravelQ Portable Gas Grill from Napoleon Gourmet Grills features quality construction backed by a 10-year limited warranty. Additional features include:
• dual stainless steel burners with JETFIRE™ ignition;
• ultra compact design, easy to setup and use;
• extra large 285 square-inch cooking area with cast iron cooking grids;
• superior wind proof design holds the heat in; and
• locking lid with fold-away legs.

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Hot Off the Grill

Forshaw Exterus SIZZLER

Exterus provides consumers with the ability to design a unique, custom outdoor kitchen.

Forshaw of St. Louis, which is already well-established in the patio, hearth, and barbecue industry, is now making a mark with its customized outdoor kitchen line, Exterus. Forshaw’s history extends back to 1871 when a cabinetmaker from England, Joseph Forshaw, began making wood molds for castings used in coal stove parts. This led to the formation of his own company, which became the largest supplier of coal stove repair parts in the area.

The family-run business has continued to grow with its fourth generation, Rick and Joe Forshaw, establishing a network of dealers throughout the country for wood fireplace mantels and an extensive array of custom patio, hearth, and barbecue products. Now Forshaw has again expanded its product offerings with the addition of a unique outdoor kitchen line, which is gaining ground in the industry.

Forshaw officially launched Exterus at HPBExpo in Orlando in March 2013, but it started becoming part of Forshaw’s product offerings before that as the company entered the rapidly expanding outdoor-kitchen market. Exterus was a natural progression for the company as it fit in with the rest of the products Forshaw sells and complements them well, according to Rick Forshaw Jr., who manages this new division.

Forshaw explains that the company has both the manufacturing tools and experience in place, so the addition of the line was a logical choice for expansion. He adds that Forshaw was able to fill a void in the industry by delivering fully custom, made-to-order outdoor kitchens. “We saw an opportunity to grow it,” Forshaw says. “We thought we could deliver a high-quality, value product.”

The company operates a retail store in St. Louis, Missouri, which specializes in patio, hearth, and barbecue products, as well as outdoor kitchens, while it also operates as a distribution center. By offering a high quality product at a fair price, Forshaw has developed its own niche in a competitive industry.

Forshaw explains that the many years of experience in the industry have given Forshaw employees an in-depth understanding of outdoor products, as well as what customers are looking for in their outdoor space.

Exterus provides consumers with the ability to design a unique, custom outdoor kitchen complete with built-in grills and a variety of accessories to enhance any outdoor dining experience. Forshaw’s exterior modules are crafted with galvanized steel framing and covered with ready-to-finish Permabase to form a strong, mildew-resistant structure.

Exterus is very convenient because its modules can accommodate any grill or other outdoor kitchen appliance. Instead of having to coordinate with several different companies’ cabinetry, customers can custom order everything they need from Forshaw. This enables customers to design an outdoor kitchen even if their grill, refrigerator, and side burner are made by different manufacturers. Forshaw says this improves the customer service experience for both the retailer and end consumer because Forshaw is truly a one-stop shop. “We’ve made it easy to sell while offering the custom element,” Forshaw says.

Exterus modular cabinets also offer a great, cost-effective alternative to masonry work. They are easy to install, less expensive, and still offer a beautiful aesthetic. Another advantage of the modules is their versatility. The lighter construction of the modular units compared to traditional masonry framing allows for easier positioning and installation without the need for heavy machinery. The lighter construction is also engineered to support the heaviest grills on the market. Installation can occur as quickly as two days, and consumers can also work directly with an Exterus dealer for the installation process without having to find a contractor to complete it.

In addition to being durable and convenient, Exterus achieves masonry décor with veneer stone, which Forshaw says is very popular. “We’ve seen a trend coming back to man-made veneer stone,” he says.

According to Forshaw, the popularity of the line will lead to future product additions. Angled cabinets and raised bars will be added, which add more opportunities for customization.

Forshaw says his company is a great place to purchase outdoor kitchen products because the knowledge and retailer support it offers is unparalleled in the industry. “We understand how to sell these products because we sell them 365 days a year at our retail store.” He adds that Forshaw’s experienced sales team understands that great retailer support is dependent upon identifying customers’ level of product knowledge and meeting them at their experience level (whatever that might be). This helps the customer understand the product and select the proper option for an ideal kitchen setup.

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Focus on Crucial Merchandising Details

Carol_DausA day doesn’t pass without some mention of another brick-and-mortar chain closing stores and eliminating jobs. As I sat down to write this message, Radio Shack had just announced its closure of 1,100 stores, or 20% of its locations. It appears that its much-discussed Super Bowl ad (a humorous parody of itself featuring 1980s celebrity stars Hulk Hogan and Mary Lou Retten) confirmed what consumers already knew: Radio Shack was stuck in a time warp and didn’t know how to compete in a youth-oriented, digital world.

The few times I popped into my neighborhood Radio Shack during the past several years, it felt as if I had wandered into the Wayback Machine. Products were old-fashioned, displays were dreadfully boring, and staff was unable to answer questions. Compare these unappealing (and empty) stores with crowded, energized Apple stores. It’s ironic that a company like Radio Shack, which helped define modern electronics retailing, totally missed the mark on changing consumer behavior.

We’re all aware of retailers in the patio furniture, outdoor grill, and hearth categories that have closed because they couldn’t compete successfully in today’s changing retail marketplace. But if you look closely at some of these shuttered stores, it’s easy to understand the reason for their demise. Despite selling the same products offered by healthier brick-and-mortar stores and online sources, the businesses that went belly-up did not focus on the details of merchandising.

This attention to the details of merchandising explains why Radio Shack stores are closing while Apple’s Genius Bars continue to multiply. Even Target has recognized that a more interactive approach to merchandising results in greater sales. For instance, during the past year it rolled out Beauty Concierges, consultants who are trained to offer impartial advice rather than pushy sales pitches.

Many independent outdoor-living and hearth retailers are improving customer experiences by offering complementary home visits. A local indoor/outdoor furniture retailer in Orange County, California, equips its design staff with iPads, so that during home visits they can show customers which products will complement their design preferences and lifestyles.

Some of the most successful brick-and-mortar stores understand the importance of selling shopping experiences rather than simply selling stuff. This is exactly what IKEA, Disney, Apple, and savvy outdoor-living retailers, such as Season Four, do on a daily basis.

Does your store’s vibe resemble a Radio Shack or an Apple store? If it’s become dated and dull, focus on making the shopping experience fun and distinctive for your customers. A few subtle changes will help your customers feel good about their shopping experiences, and they will reward you with purchases and return visits.

Carol Daus is editor of Patio & Hearth Products Report.

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A Waterproof Version of the Legendary Upholstery Fabric

Sunbrella in the 2012 Coastal Living Idea Home

Sunbrella® Rain features a back coating that is completely waterproof.

Already known for its water resistance, Sunbrella fabrics are now offered as Sunbrella® Rain, a 100% waterproof version of the legendary upholstery fabric.

The fabric features a back coating that is completely waterproof when cushions are constructed according to pre-set guidelines, preventing water from getting inside the cushion. This fabric offers a quick-dry solution that allows people to immediately continue lounging once the rain has stopped.

Sunbrella Rain is available in more than 200 Sunbrella upholstery fabrics and is covered by the same 5-year limited warranty as other Sunbrella fabrics, including coverage against loss of color or strength from normal use, exposure to sunlight, mildew and atmospheric chemicals.

For a brand that started out as an industrial-grade awning fabric in only six colors, Sunbrella fabrics have come a long way. From awnings, to marine, to casual furniture, Sunbrella fabrics have led the industry with extensive styles and colors while providing unparalleled performance.

In the early 1990s, Sunbrella unveiled its softer side with fabrics targeted at the interior design trade and now available in design showrooms across the country. Today, Sunbrella is used in a variety of innovative new products that offer creative solutions for consumers and the design community.