The President’s Perspective: June 2024

Published by Christy Reed on

The President’s Perspective: June 2024

Matt Doll

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Next year (2025) marks 20 years since I started American Fire Glass out of my garage. I was 24 years old and had absolutely no idea how to run a business. 

From my first HBExpo in 2006, this industry took me in as a young kid and helped me become the business leader that I am today. I am forever grateful that I have “grown up” with all of you. 

We’ve been through a lot together.

For the last decade, almost anyone could have been successful selling hearth, patio, and barbecue products. We have all benefited from low interest rates, rising home values, and customers not thinking twice about spending on home improvement plans. 

But those days are over.

Having stock is no longer good enough. We need to create experiences that make our customers feel they truly benefit from our offerings. Many consumers are cutting their spending and only purchasing products they “need.” It is our job—as it’s the job of every industry—to create an experience so big that customers feel like they “need” our products too!

We need to create experiences that make our customers feel they truly benefit from our offerings.

So how do we create an unforgettable experience?

To learn more, I went on the road and visited our top customers all around the country. I visited over 100 brick-and-mortar stores, showrooms, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities. 

And they all had one thing in common: They created an unforgettable experience.

Here’s how they did it:

  • Knowledgeable Staff: The best stores have employees who are experts in fireplaces and barbecues, providing detailed product information and personalized recommendations.
  • Interactive Displays: These stores feature working fireplaces and barbecues for live demonstrations, allowing customers to see and feel the products in action.
  • Comfortable Showrooms: They create a welcoming atmosphere with comfortable seating areas and ambient lighting, simulating a cozy home environment.
  • Product Variety: The top stores stock a wide range of products, from budget-friendly options to high-end models, catering to all customer needs and preferences.
  • Online Presence: They maintain an informative and user-friendly website with detailed product descriptions, customer reviews, and a blog with helpful tips and guides.
  • Special Events: Leading stores organize in-store events—such as seasonal sales, BBQ cook-offs, and holiday promotions—to engage the community and create excitement.
  • Convenient Locations: The best stores are easily accessible, with ample parking and convenient hours.

Hopefully, this short list of simple strategies will help retailers of hearth, barbecue, and patio products continue to win in the new economy. Wishing everyone much success this year and for many more years to come!

Matt Doll

Matt Doll

Matt Doll is the Founder and CEO of American Fire Glass. He spends his days working on the vision, strategic growth, and culture of the business.

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