CULVER CITY, CA – After almost 35 years owning and operating Armand’s in Culver City, Calif, Howard Steinberg is in the final stages of selling his beloved business. The establishment on Venice Blvd. has long been one of the best specialty grill and hearth dealers in Southern California, but Steinberg and his wife, Simone, thought the time was right for personal and professional reasons.
The new owner of Armand’s is Dillion Clark, an employee of Amand’s who will now take a “leap of faith” into ownership. Steinberg’s advice for Clark and others in the business is simple, yet timeless. “Give the absolute best service to your customers,” he says. “Stand out from the online companies. It’s all about service. I believe that the brick-and-mortar model is absolutely the future of the business. A lot of people are making mistakes with fireplaces and barbecues when they work with online companies. They are getting the wrong thing and are not satisfied.”
Steinberg bought the business from his Dad, Stanley Steinberg, who was focused on the sewing machine and vacuum cleaner sector for many years.
Steinberg remembers how the industry looked in 1979 when only a few brands dominated the premium “permanent mold aluminum” segment of the grill business. Most people were still asking, “What’s a Gas Grill?” Eventually, the outdoor sage dealt with many well-known brands and many huge sales. “I have had several purchases in the mid $40K range, and that was for the full outdoor kitchens,” remembers Steinberg. “Lynx was my biggest brand. I also did a lot with FireMagic and Twin Eagles. From a quality standpoint, they are two of the best, and they offer a wide array of accessories.
“The best thing I liked was dealing with customers,” he adds. “I spent time in my customers’ homes doing assessments for fireplaces and barbecues. There were hundreds of great sales.”