Spa retailers boost sales by offering grill products
When it comes to selling grills in his store, David Townley of Townley Pool and Spa in Little Rock, Arkansas, jokes that he wants customers to say how great his Big Green Egg store is, and that it also happens to sell pool chemicals and hot tubs.
Townley Pool and Spa has exclusively stocked Big Green Egg products since December 2016. Prior to that, they sold another brand, but people would walk into the store, see it didn’t have the Big Green Egg and leave.
“The Egg is an icon in the grill world,” Townley says. “It helps us anchor our store as the best of the best.”
Offering Big Green Egg products in his store encourages recurring customers. The brand often adds new accessories to its product line, and people with the Egg consistently need to purchase its high-quality lump charcoal to do their grilling.
“Eggheads, as they are called, are die-hard when it comes to having everything on brand,” Townley says. “We saw a record amount of charcoal being sold during the pandemic. People were staying home, cooking their meals on the Egg and spending more time together as a family. That was the silver lining in this whole thing.”
To capitalize on the increased popularity of grilling during the pandemic, Townley Pool and Spa offered a few virtual cooking classes to help educate its customers on all the things the Big Green Egg can do.
For other spa retailers who are considering offering grills in their showroom, Townley recommends staying on brand.
“Don’t go too wide in the category so that you can remain the subject matter expert,” he says. “Consumers want experts, loyalty and, above all, quality.”
Jon Chapman, CEO of Rich’s for the Home, which has multiple locations across the state of Washington, also saw an increase in grill sales over the course of the pandemic.
He says grills are the store’s number four category and contribute to the bottom line. The stores started offering grills in the mid-1980s because they were a good compliment to its other outdoor products.
Rich’s for the Home now carries several lines including Twin Eagles, Delta Heat, Blaze, Sunfire, Weber, Napoleon, Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg and Green Mountain Pellet grills.
“The pros are that grills work well with our outdoor products like spas and patio furniture,” Chapman says. “The cons are that they do require assembly, and the margins are lower than all of our other categories.”
While lead times for grills mirrored all of Rich’s for the Home’s other product categories, increasing to six to 12 months, the team did what they could to continue meeting customers’ needs.
“Our strategy was simple,” Chapman says. “Try to find stock anywhere we could in an attempt to keep up with the demand.”
On the manufacturing side, Sharla Wagy, vice president of marketing for Memphis Grills, says the company hopes to increase its number of spa retailer partners.
“Spa retailers have a continually growing database of loyal customers,” Wagy says. “Consumers would prefer to work with retailers [for outdoor products] that they’ve had good experiences with, so adding high-quality grills to their line-up is a great opportunity.”
She adds that wood pellet grills are the fastest growing category of grills and that customers enjoy Memphis Grills because they’re easy to use.
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“In addition to happy customers, Memphis Grills offer a profitable sale to the dealer as well as accessory items to bring the customers back into the store again and again,” Wagy says.
Jerry Scott, senior vice president of sales for RH Peterson Co., which manufactures Fire Magic Grills, adds that outdoor kitchens have become one of the most popular remodel additions for homeowners. He says many spa dealers that offer Fire Magic products, some of which are built-in grills, have had success adding grills to bundles for spa sales.
Scott advises showcasing grills in the showroom by displaying them as full outdoor kitchen setups, rather than just the grill equipment. “Placing a grill island that includes the grill, side cooker, drawers, doors and perhaps a sink and refrigerator helps the customer imagine an outdoor kitchen in their backyard,” he says. “Some retailers have also added a seating area and plants to complete the picture.”
Ultimately, Wagy best sums up the benefits to spa dealers offering grill products: “With the addition of grills and stone islands, spa retailers can provide the perfect oasis for outdoor fun.”
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