You might think it’s impossible to find someone who can talk passionately about outdoor grills and how to make them a successful addition to your spa store. That is, until you’ve met Gary Butler of Saber Grills.
Saber started in 2011 and was birthed out of a desire to build a better barbecue. That desire is actually more like a mission for Butler. “We looked at hundreds of grills on the market, seeking areas of improvement,” he says. “We wanted to uncover the perfect cart design, the very best cooking system and exceptional product durability. Then the goal was to package the best of these elements into a barbecue product line we could be proud of and one that would be the very best of its kind.”
Saber’s grill lineage is solid. Its parent company is W.C. Bradley, which was formed in 1885 and is the parent company of the Char-Broil brand — one of the first grill companies in America, having made its debut in 1948.
The quality of the stainless steel, SAE 304 versus commonly used 430 or 430R, is a big advantage, Butler says. In metallurgy, 304 steel provides excellent resistance to a wide range of atmospheric environments and corrosion. Butler says using this grade of steel gives consumers a resilient, heavy-duty grill. “If you do the shake test or lift the lid, the touch points on the grill are ergonomically solid, as is the structure of the grill frame,” Butler says. “Our cooking system is infrared, which means customers cook with 100 percent radiant heat, which gives even heat distribution across the entire cooking system. This system virtually eliminates flare ups; it’s a better cooking experience. Plus, you can cook with the lid open without worrying about lost heat or temperature variation.”
Selling grills is a way for spa retailers to differentiate against big-box stores; it adds another revenue source, and maintains customer retention and repeat business. For greatest sales success, Butler suggests also making sure your staff is trained on the grill and comfortable talking about its benefits. “We urge our retailers to stage regular cooking demonstrations on weekends,” Butler says. “Having a dedicated section for the grills and accessories is important. We’ve discovered stores that keep the grills on display year-round become go-to destinations for this type of product.”
“Saber is a grill for a specialty retailer,” Butler says. “They can earn a nice margin on the product. Add personal service, setup, delivery, post-sale activity, expert product knowledge and regular product demonstrations, and you’ll be able to use Saber Grills to prevent customers from going to a big-box store.”
John Antilla of Aqua-Quip in Seattle says his relationship with Saber Grills is more like a partnership. “They’ve sent representatives to our outside sales events and helped staff a booth for us at a home show, where they did onstage presentations about infrared cooking and grilling,” Antilla says. “That’s a level of commitment you just don’t see from manufacturers. They have a real passion for jumping in and helping you to successfully compete in your market.”
Saber offers attractive programs to get a new dealer up and running including discounts, prepaid freight and low minimums. “We have a program which includes a co-op or rebate,” Butler says. Dealers are supplied with in-store collateral material such as catalogs, POP displays and floor displays. “When we start a relationship with a dealer, it’s less transactional and more strategic for us,” he says. “We see that relationship as an investment. Our philosophy is centered on customer intimacy; understanding their business, understanding consumer satisfaction with the product and really making sure we deliver the best possible experience for the dealer and their customer.”