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Q&A with Cal Spas President Casey Loyd

What do Lou Holtz, Pamela Anderson, Jack Nicholson and Robin Williams have in common with top barbecue specialty retailers from around the world?

Celebrity impersonators
Celebrity impersonators
 PV6016 grill from Cal SpasPV6016 grill
 GPV3100 grill from Cal SpasGPV3100 grill

They were all part of the Cal Spas/Cal Flame 2011 WIN NOW Retail Expo at the Pacific Palms Hotel and Conference Center in City of Industry, Calif. held Jan. 11-13.

With a flair for showmanship that rivals P.T. Barnum, Cal Spas President Casey Loyd and his staff put on an entertaining and educational event that was attended by top retailers and distributors in the industry.

From the University of Southern California Drumline and Song Girls on opening day to the final awards banquet featuring a Journey tribute band, the event was a non-stop opportunity for retailers to not only see the new products from Cal Spas/Cal Flame for 2011, but to network with their peers to learn the best way to offer and sell their customers Home Resort products.

In the middle of all the excitement, education and product demonstrations, Casey spent a few minutes sharing his philosophy and thoughts about last year and the future. Our questions centered on the Cal Flame and Cal Designs product lines.

Norman: How was 2010?
Casey: Although it was a good sales year for those divisions, we used last year to invest in developing new products for 2011 that we feel the consumers will really respond to. We learned in the last two years that to peak consumers' interest, it always starts and stops with the products that you are offering.

Norman: What was your best seller in 2010?
Casey: By far, our Pavilion PV6016 BBQ Island. With a granite top, 4 Burner Grill, stainless steel refrigerator and storage space, it was priced right and our retailers' sales proved it was a big success.

Norman: What new product do you expect to be a winner in 2011?
Casey: That is hard to answer as we are getting such positive feedback from our retailers on our new firepits and tables, our new outdoor fireplaces and our newly designed cabanas. However, we feel our Grand Pavilion GPV3100 BBQ Island with our new Top Gun 5 Burner Convection Grill will sell well on the retail floor. It features a redesigned grill handle and window to see the food cooking that allows for ease and convenience when grilling.

Norman: How would you describe the health of the casual living industry?
Casey: Wounded, but healing fast. We see growth opportunities everywhere and that is what we are pointing out to our retailers at this event.

Norman: What is the message you have to retailers as you look to the 2011 season?
Casey: Come to the HPBA Expo in Salt Lake City in March and see all our new products. Work hard and stay focused on your core business and targeted customers. Build relationships with everyone that comes in the door. Get involved in your community and the industry. Improve the curb appeal of your store and help your customers feel good about their purchases by giving them excellent customer service they won't find at a big box retailer. Customers will part with their money if they see value in what you are offering. Did I say come to the HPBA Expo? You need to be there to see the excitement in the new barbecue products we have to offer.

Just like P. T. Barnum, Casey ended our brief time together by saying, "Excitement and enthusiasm sells and you have to be selling all the time or your customer will buy from someone else." And then Casey was off to share his excitement and passion with another customer.

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