A Talk With Lennox Hearth's Susan Herndon

When you have more than 7,000 North American dealers selling your products, a small change in the way you go to market can have a rippling effect.

There have been a couple of changes recently at Lennox International Inc., both designed to move the company forward and solidify its position in the hearth products industry.

Susan Herndon, formerly vice president and chief operating officer for Hearth Products, Inc., has moved up to president of the company, replacing Warren Hanselman. At the same time, Lennox International announced that it changed Hearth Products Inc. to Lennox Hearth Products.

“The name ‘Lennox Hearth Products’ leverages the power of the Lennox brand in the home comfort industry and communicates our key brand attributes of quality products, innovative design, and outstanding customer service to our hearth products customers,” said Herndon.

“It also eliminates confusion for our customers by aligning all Lennox hearth products under the Lennox name.”

Herndon said that the brand name goes a long way in the conventional gas products business; it only make sense to use name brand exposure to its maximum.

“We already had the core strength of gas technology and the fireplace market is simply one way to move from wood heat to gas,” she said.

Lennox Hearth Products now include:

  • Lennox Fireplaces;
  • Superior Fireplaces;
  • Marco Fireplaces;
  • Whitfield (pellet stoves); and
  • Earth Stove (wood-burning stoves).
  • “Sixty out of 100 new homes are built with a fireplace,” she said. “That market has really stabilized in the recent past. New construction is not as large as retail. Wholesale sales of hearth products is $680 million, while retail is $1.07 billion.”

    Herndon added that hvac contractors who are looking to enter the hearth products market should become a retailer. “Hvacr dealers need to be a retailer if they really want to be successful,” she said.

    “Retail means showroom. Hearth products offer so many decorative options that it’s hard to sell them from a catalog.”

    With the latest surge in home heating costs, the retail segment will see sales increases. “We anticipate the retail market to grow as heating costs go up,” Herndon said. “The largest retail growth is in the North Central region [of the U.S.]. Thirty-three percent of existing retailers are considering opening an additional hearth products store.”

    “We have full training and marketing help that is available,” she said. “Hearth products have moved from the basement into the living room. Everyone wants to see a fireplace burning. Since hvacr dealers are already running in gas lines, they might as well install hearth products, too.”

  • For more information, visit www.lennox international.com.

    Publication date: 10/23/2000

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