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.