Hearth Insight
February 2022
Joint Northwest HPBA & Oregon HPBA Reception at HPBAExpo!
After a long day at HPBAExpo 2022, you're invited to attend the Northwest HPBA & Oregon HPBA mixer - an informal opportunity to network with your northwest affiliates at the HPBAExpo in Atlanta!

Stop by and say "Hi!" We hope to see you there!

Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Location: Der Biergarten - Visit Website
Legislative Update
from our NWHPBA Lobbyist, Carolyn Logue

The Washington State Legislature hit the technical midway point on February 15 with the cut off for bills to be out of the House of Origin. This means that most bills are dead if they were not advanced to the other body. Of course, as the budgets are negotiated, we will see bills come back to life as necessary to implement the budget. So, nothing is truly “dead” until they adjourn the session.

The next cut off day for bills to be out of their opposite house committees is February 24th so there is a mad scramble to keep bills moving in order to keep them alive and to have a chance before the March 10th adjournment.

“Decarbonization Bills” -- NWHPBA Grassroots Work Successful …

It has been “whack a mole” for NWHPBA chasing down and working with our colleagues to kill anti-fuel choice and natural gas bills. Of the four bad bills, two are now dead and one has been amended successfully.

HB 1767 – Targeted electrification: This bill would have allowed PUDs to create programs to move customers away from gas and wood heat. Of particular concern was the possibility of depressurized gas lines in the event large groups of customers were moved off of natural gas within the PUD’s service area. Also, the inclusion of wood could have resulted in interference with established woodstove changeout programs and left people without a secondary source of heat. NWHPBA testified and members signed in to oppose. THE BILL DIED ON THE HOUSE FLOOR

HB 1766 – The “Clean Heat” bill: This bill would have effectively led to the destruction of the natural gas infrastructure in Washington state. It required natural gas utilities to migrate customers away from gas appliances and prohibited any new natural gas infrastructure outside of existing service areas. NWHPBA also testified against this bill and members provided support in the hearing. This bill died in committee.

SB 5722 – Clean Buildings Performance Standards: This bill takes an existing program requiring the Department of Commerce to adopt energy management and benchmarking requirements for buildings over 50,000 sq ft and lowers that to 20,000 sq ft. Utilities are authorized to provide incentive payments to help business owners meet earlier energy management requirements. This bill was mostly worked on by building owners groups and NWHPBA provided back up support. The bill has been modified so most organizations are now neutral.

 …But There Is More Work to Be Done…

There is one bill left for us to focus on stopping ESHB 1770 would “strengthen” Washington State’s Energy Code by:
  • Requiring new buildings to be net-zero ready, requires all homes to be solar ready, adds greenhouse gas emissions reductions to the energy efficiency goals. Moves up the date that energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission 70% reduction to 2031.
  • Requires each city, town, and county to enforce the Washington State energy code for residential buildings or adopt a new statewide residential reach code.
  • Requires the State Building Code Council to adopt a statewide residential reach code.
NWHPBA testified and members amped up grassroots phone calls and sign ins at both the committee and the floor level but the bill continued to move and passed the House on a narrow 51-47 vote. 
The bill had a very fast hearing in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee today (February 17) which means there might be some momentum to move the bill through the Senate. Thanks to all the NWHPA members who signed in to oppose this bill. We had over 700 signing in CON compared to 400 signing in PRO. Your NWHPBA lobbyist joined in a long list of people testifying against this bill.  WATCH FOR MORE GRASSROOTS CALLS TO ACTION! WE NEED THE SENATE TO STOP THIS BILL!

Good Hydrogen Bill Advances

In an attempt to be proactive, NWHPBA has been working to move SSB 5910, a bill that would create an “Office of Renewable Fuels” and would provide more direction and work to advance the use of hydrogen in the state, particularly to replace natural gas or to blend with existing infrastructure. This is a good bill to counter balance the “ban natural gas” movement because it clearly works to try and utilize the existing infrastructure to work on replacing rather than banning. For NWHPBA, it of course would mean the need to explore products that would utilize hydrogen, but it is more clearly a pathway of change, not elimination. This bill passed the Senate 49-0 and has a hearing in the House Committee on February 22nd.

Click here to read more!
President's Messge
Hello Fellow Hearth Peeps! I know it has been a few months since I have been able to write a message to all of you that make our industry tick. I am sure we all experienced another busy season of ups and downs and all arounds! From massive traffic through our doors to scheduling headaches every day due to employee shortages, product shortages, and freight delays. Once we all come out of this, we will all deserve Medals of Retail and Wholesale Valor!

Gas Bans
Gas Bans continue to come in from small municipalities around the NW. The latest came in OHPBA territory and my backyard, in Milwaukie, Or. The city council was told by the Mayor on a Thursday they would vote for the City Gas Ban on the following Tuesday! Can you believe that audacity! With quick notice, Harvey Gail with OHPBA, NW Nat Gas Co., and myself went to quick work rallying grassroots troops to write letters and call to testify during Tuesday’s meeting prior to the vote. To say the least, all did a fabulous job and we were able to stop the vote and force the City Council to step back and create some focus groups to look at all sides concerned before bringing it to a vote down the road. In other words, they had no idea how strong the Milwaukie city residents and companies would be affected and were against such a policy. This exercise truly showed that pushback done properly is effective and necessary.
The Truckers Rally in Ottawa Canada is another example of when citizens in mass get together the Government must listen at some point. Although the Prime Minister is still fighting the rest of Canada is seeing the light and backing down. I am not stating I am on either side, only showing what forces can do when up against a governmental issue that citizens and companies disagree with.
I am continually calling out all of you to stand with your association and fellow dealers, distributors, and manufacturers in fighting these gas bans that can truly crush many businesses. We must be vocal and active to overcome these attacks upon our livelihood!

HPBA Expo 2022 – Atlanta, Ga.
We are just weeks away from seeing one another face to face at our industry Trade Show in Atlanta, Ga. Some of you have reservations about the Covid issues, others are not totally thrilled with Atlanta as a location, but it is happening, and it is an Event we all should attend if we can. Your mere presence at Expo puts dollars into our association from National HPBA based on the attendance of members from our affiliate to Expo each year.
Atlanta has many wonderful sights and venues aside from the tradeshow that make the trip worthwhile. Downtown offers the Best Indoor Aquarium I have ever been to with a tank full of the Giant 40 ft. Whale Sharks. Downtown is also home to the Coca-Cola museum that has a theatre running nonstop with years and years of all the famous TV commercials as well as kiosks of free drinks Coca-Cola makes for other countries and their unique taste buds! Stone Mountain just outside of town is an incredible place to visit as it is the largest granite stone in North America. A boulder of granite that is a sub-terrain and an above-ground mountain. There is a carving on the side of the mountain of the 3 Confederate Generals Lee, Jackson, and ??! The carving is much like Mt. Rushmore and the size is deceiving. You would not imagine that a school bus would fit atop one of the horse's noses that the generals sitting on. You may also take a beautiful tram ride to the top of the mountain and walk around freely on top of Stone Mtn.
The most fascinating spots in Atlanta are the civil war plantations that are still intact and can be viewed on tours and self-drives.
Look for the flyer for our Wednesday night 6-8 pm NWHPBA/OHPBA Mixer get-together at the Der Biergarten ( Da Beer Garden for you slow ones! )
We all need and deserve a break and I hope to many of you in Atlanta!

Please, please send in your 2022 dues payments as soon as possible. These funds are mainly used to fight legislative issues and we have many this year! I am also requesting all dealers to press independent installers and service companies to join our association family, as we all need to support one another! I challenge every single member we have, to recruit one new member this year. Anyone that recruits 3 new members that have never before been a member will receive a Gift Certificate from Me personally for their Favorite Restaurant for $200.00. / $100.00 for 2 new members. Proof of payment and new member status to be verified by NWHPBA staff.

Idaho, Montana Members!!
NWHPBA members in Idaho and Montana, I would love to hear from you on any needs you may have or ideas on how NWHPBA can be of better service to you, etc. How can we provide education services or any help with any type of state and county legislative needs we may not be hearing about? You are our eyes and ears, and we are here ready to help! Just ask and we are there. Email me (Scott Ongley) at sho12ga@msn.com or call me at 360-606-6731 with any and all your needs.

Thank you,

Scott Ongley
NWHPBA President
New Region 9 National HPBA Representative
Chris Patterson
Western Hearth Distributors 

Been in the industry for 11 years as part of the family business. 
Co-owner with my wife Annie Patterson and father to 4 kids. Graduated from BYU in Provo, UT. Camping, traveling, and enjoying making memories with Family.
An Honest Conversation with Nick Nelson
(An Owner in a Market Smaller Than Yours)
Pocatello is probably smaller than your market. There are 87,000 people living in the entire county. The town might pull 100,000 people regionally.

In this small town, Nick’s Fireplace Outfitters is very successful, and it stands apart from other retailers based on the environment Nick creates for his staff and his customers.

So much gets made of the large retailers in large markets with large staffs. But as I travel
the western United States, most of you—the retailers who make up the hearth industry—are small retailers in small markets.

With that in mind, here’s a snapshot of Nick’s community and his business:
• Pocatello has a family income of less than $50,000. People there are conservative with their money, generally aren’t concerned with “the Joneses,” and won’t part with a penny unless they know that their money is being well spent.
• Heat is the number one priority in this market, yet Nick has had success helping clients see the long-term benefits from purchasing higher-priced, value-added brands.
• Nick’s Fireplace Outfitters likes to grow at 8%-10% per year, but it’s supported 44% growth this year—all with the same small staff.
• Nick’s install team averages two installs per day, but they can scale up to three fireplaces and two hot tub sets in a day.
• In the past five years, Nick has doubled his business from $1 million to over $2 million in sales.
• His product mix is 55% hearth, 35% spa, and 10% barbecue and outdoor products.
• His brands include American Hearth, Mendota, Pacific Energy, Blaze King, Kuma, Bullfrog, and Green Mountain Grills.
• Nick has hearth margins that are well above 40% and spa margins well below 40%. Each year, he grows his margin, and today he sits close to 45% gross store margin.
• He has done all this with four full-time employees and one full-time subcontractor. His team does all of their own installations and offers a full line of services.
I recently sat down with Nick to learn how he’s created such a name for himself in such a short amount of time. During the interview, he spoke openly and honestly about his business, his lines, and his reps. Nick is an encouragement to me—and I bet he will be to you too.
Click here to read the interview.
Membership Renewals
For those who have not yet renewed, your membership is crucial and allows us to continue to advocate for the health of our industry. While 2021 was full of unprecedented events, we are thankful for our NWHPBA community. With the help of one another, we were able to support each other and share our successes through tough times.

Renewing your membership is easy, and we have many options for your convenience!
  • Renew online and pay via card or check
  • If you select to pay by check, you will be directly invoiced and can mail us a check.
  • Call us directly at NWHPBA and we can renew over the phone with you
  • 253-525-5153 (Due to COVID, if you do not connect with us, please leave a voicemail, and Katie, our Executive Director, will return your call within 24-48 hours)
"This industry can feel really secluded and alone. Maintaining my membership has allowed me to build relationships and really get to know the other members. This has opened doors and encouraged brainstorming to solve industry wide issues as well as internal ones within my business that someone had already been through and knew a great solution for."

-Ryann Blake, Chimney Techniques
We want to hear from you!!!
The NWHPBA Communications Committee publishes the Hearth Insight monthly. If you have a story or article you would like to have shared, submit below to be included in our upcoming editions!!!
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