The 2023 NEHPBA “Stoke the Fire” Event Kindled Collaboration and Recreation > Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
August 15, 2023

The 2023 NEHPBA “Stoke the Fire” Event Kindled Collaboration and Recreation

A bout of rain interrupted the cornhole tournament in the Outdoor Living area. However, the more than 220 outdoor dealers were undeterred and fired up their stoves. Socializing and dining on homemade grilled meats, smoked bacon, and outdoor-oven pizzas brought warmth to vendors and attendees despite the wet weather.

For those who preferred a dry evening, the NEHPBA offerings included an indoor display featuring 25 vendors of everything from hearth products to venting, savings programs, and insurance options. The event’s enormous success was due in no small part to the indoor and outdoor vendors who enthusiastically shared their wares and skills with the crowds.

The energizing Justin Bousquet of Napoleon brought additional excitement when he hosted the event’s auction. Rich Sedgwick took home the square raffle prize, a signed and framed Josh Allen NFL jersey.

Of course, the event was more than just fun and games. The featured presentation NESCAUM, NYSERDA, EPA: How Do They All Fit & What You Can Expect in Wood brought together a panel of experts including V.P. Berger of Hearth & Home Technologies, Chris Neufeld of Blaze King, Chris Schroeter of Napoleon, and Bret Watson of tul. They discussed what evolving standards from these organizations mean for the HPBA industry and offered valuable guidance to manufacturers, vendors, and distributors.

In addition to the featured panel, Rich Sedgwick, Executive Director of the National Fireplace Institute, shared wisdom during his invaluable NFI Core and Gas Review courses. These opportunities, alongside tech education training and sweep education courses, attracted more than 65 participants. The “Send Your Tech” training was a crowd-pleaser that NEHPBA hopes to offer again at future events. Similarly well-attended were the five business roundtables, that offered strategic discussions on topics including health insurance options for small businesses, strategies for marketing and staffing businesses, and guidance around how to respond to gas ban legislation.

President & CEO of HPBA Jill McClure participated throughout the three-day event conversing with retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and vendors to learn more about how HPBA can best support industry stakeholders. McClure also hosted a fruitful discussion in the Outdoor Living area during her Monday Coffee & Mingle with the President event. The NEHPBA team is grateful to McClure for her dedication to the industry and her enthusiasm throughout the three days.

The event organizers thank all who participated, from sponsors and vendors to presenters and attendees. Next year’s “Stoke the Fire” event is scheduled for May 5-7, 2024, and promises to build on the flames sparked by this year’s impressive display.

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