Innovative products heat up HPBExpo
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, April 1, 2009
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo brought the latest grill, patio furniture, accessories and hearth innovations to Reno, Nev., last month.
Most of the vendors asked described the March 19-21 show as good while extreme descriptions ranged from fantastic to steady to slow. A number of exhibitors were new to the show while many returning vendors used it as an opportunity to make product extensions.
The New Product Pavilion was busy early in the show and educational seminars were full, although overall attendance appeared less than last year's HPBExpo in Atlanta and two years ago when the show was last in Reno. Display booths were generally smaller and many vendors displayed either indoors or out, when they previously have taken booths in both spots.
With the NCAA basketball tournament playing on two screens inside its booth, Team Grill appealed to the interests of sports fans with high-end gas grills customized to match the popular logos and colors of 18 universities. The first teams included the national champion Florida Gators, Oklahoma Sooners, UNC Tar Heels, Michigan Wolverines and Georgia Bulldogs. Additional schools, franchises and brands will be added to the licensing agreement over time.
“College sports fans are the most passionate and dedicated when it comes to their teams,” said John Upham, executive vice president. “With the introduction of the Team Grill line of patio and tailgating grills, students, alumni and fans everywhere can always show their support, while hosting a backyard barbecue or tailgating before the big game.”
From innovative and affordable grills and smokers to state-of-the-art outdoor kitchens, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association announced the industry's latest trends and hottest products. Shipping more than 16.7 million grills and smokers in 2008, the industry reached a new height as 77% – three out of four households – own an outdoor grill or smoker.