Category Archives: Blog

Fall is Coming: Get Your Grill Ready the Right Way

football

Fall is finally here. Autumn brings us many great things like cooler weather, beautiful leaves, and most importantly, football. While it may be time to pack away your swimsuits and beach chairs, don’t rush to put away your grill just yet. If you’re like most, you turn your house into football game day headquarters during the fall months. And what’s a good football game without some outdoor cooking?

Fall is the Prime Time to Grill

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 76% of consumers polled in a survey said that fall is the prime time for outdoor grilling because of the cooler weather. Despite daylight-saving time making days shorter and nights longer, about 75% of consumers indicated that they intend to use their grills well past Labor Day.

Why is Grilling so Popular?

Outdooring grilling is a favorite activity that people love for a number of reasons. Aside from the obvious of grilling tasty foods like burgers, hot dogs and steaks, and adding more flavor to foods, grilling is a simple and fun way of bringing your friends and family together. While grilling certainly makes for a great activity, especially during football season, it’s important to take good care of your grill to ensure it performs at its best year-round. A well-maintained grill will not only keep your food safe but bring out the best flavors in your favorite foods.

Make sure your grill is ready to fire up this fall with these tips:

  1. For safety precautions, set up you grill in an open, well-ventilated space at least 10 feet from your house. Make sure it is away from overhead surfaces, dry leaves and other objects.
  2. Place a grill pad under your grill before you start cooking. This will protect your deck or patio from any drips of grease that may miss the drip pan.
  3. After each use, clear away grease and ash by removing the bottom tray from under the grill and removing the excess grease.
  4. Keep the grate clean and brushed. Turn the grill on pre-heat and once it is hot, use a stainless steel bristle brush to remove any ash and debris. For a deep clean, remove the grates when the grill is cool and using dishwashing liquid scrub it with a wire brush.
  5. Don’t forget to clean the outside of your grill. You can use a paper towel and cleaner and carefully wipe away about dust or debris.
  6. To ensure your grill is protected when not in use, cover your grill with an island grill cover. This will prevent leaves, rain or snow from covering your grill which can cause damage. It also keeps bugs and outside animals away from it.

Home Improvement 101: Going Beyond Backyard Basics

home improvement concept The real estate market in the United States has been on a rebound since the dreaded 2008 recession which is good news for realtors, homeowners and home hunters! In fact, the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index report, published in June by the National Association of Realtors®, found that the real estate climate remained strong in many local markets. Also noted in the report, Realtors are strongly confident about the real estate outlook over the next six months.

However, homebuyers are facing a tight inventory on the market.  This is subjecting millennials (ages 25 – 34 years old), the largest portion of homebuyers accounting for 32% of all buyers, to a house hunting challenge. And interestingly enough, millennials make up 68% of first-time homebuyers which shows a generational shift. The reason as to why the market is tight and challenging for homebuyers may be due to the fact that current homeowners are opting to take on home improvement projects rather than selling their house.

Big Boxed Gains

Two national home improvement stores, Lowes and Home Depot, experienced an increase in their stock prices by 40% compared to last year’s numbers according to a recent article from US News. What does this mean? More people are hitting the stores to purchase supplies and materials for home improvement projects. And given the massive jump, home improvement stores took in revenue of $144 billion in 2014 which is safe to assume this year’s profits are expected to be more. But out of all the major chains and over 5,300 stores across the nation, Ace Hardware took the win for the highest customer satisfaction.

What Are Homeowners Improving?

backyard kitchen Statistics from a three-year period, 2009 to 2011, show that homeowners spent a total of $359 billion on home improvement projects. These numbers indicate that homeowners are willing to spend a few dollars to improve their houses and the improvement movement is booming; just in 2012, they spent $284 billion. But that’s not all – figures from 2014 were reported at $303 billion and 2015 is expected to exceed $320 billion according to the Home Improvement Research Institute. This begs the question: what projects are homeowners taking on?

For starters, the average amount spent on all home improvement projects came to $3,200 where 57% of owner-occupied housing units made improvements (43.7 million housing units out of 76.1 million). Of those homeowners who decided to take on home improvement projects, 37% were do-it-yourselfers and 63% hired professionals. While there were plenty of renovations that involved various interior updates, approximately 20 million projects that took place were exterior improvements. About 20% of those projects consisted of backyard upgrades such as patios, detached decking, outdoor kitchens, landscaping and more.

More homeowners are turning their backyards into year-round living spaces with things like fire pits, speaker systems, lighting and anything else you can imagine. Outdoor cooking spaces are among the most popular improvements that include high-end grills with grill covers, counters with storage, hidden mini-fridges and covered decking. It’s without a doubt that backyards are no longer that drab space behind your house because homeowners are taking them to the next level.

Not to mention, real estate experts agree that renovating your backyard will be a distinguishing factor if you decide to place it on the market. If two homes are for sale in the same area that are similar in size, the one with the stellar backyard can be expected to sell faster and first.

Are you ready to improve your backyard’s appeal and function with the above trends? Start designing your backyard paradise and let Creative Covers create a custom grill cover to protect your new investment!


 

Sources:

  • http://www.realtor.org/reports/realtors-confidence-index
  • http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1031
  • https://www.hiri.org/?page=Media
  • http://www.statista.com/topics/1732/home-improvement/
  • http://www.census.gov/how/pdf/home_improvements_text.pdf
  • http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/08/05/why-millennials-are-dominating-the-housing-market
  • http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2015/07/27/why-lowes-and-home-depot-stock-is-soaring

3 Tips for Beating the Weather as an Outdoor Vendor

shutterstock_254989831The summer is in full effect and everyone everywhere is enjoying everything the season has to offer! This prime time is the perfect opportunity for outdoor vendors and merchants to capitalize on the influx of shoppers. Even though the sun may be shining, the weather can drastically change in a moment’s notice and that means you have to be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you. Whether you run your business under a tent or with a pop-up cart, protection from the elements is crucial because you can’t afford the risk of damaged or ruined merchandise. So what can you do to protect your outdoor business.

  1. Weather Check

One of the most important things you can do every day before you open up shop is check the weather! While the summer is generally a sunny season, it is also susceptible to precipitation that can vary from a light and quick drizzle to an intense and lengthy thunderstorm. Depending on the days’ outlook, prepare to be either opened or closed during certain times of the day. As a general rule of thumb, view hour-by-hour conditions and make the best judgement call before you set everything up.

  1. Custom Equipment Cover

Is your outdoor business operated on a cart, kiosk, table or tent? Whichever kind of set up you have, you must always be mindful of how your merchandise could be affected by a quick change in weather conditions. It’s a fact that the weather forecast can instantly change which makes it extremely important to have outdoor equipment covers to protect your business and products. By having equipment covers readily available, you can turn your business from open to close just as fast as the weather changes. This is very beneficial because you won’t have to run around with merchandise in hand to find it protection.

  1. Storage, Storage & More Storage

As another safeguard against unpredictable weather, make sure you have rainproof storage boxes, large plastic tubs (with lids) and plastic bags. In the event it starts to downpour while your outdoor shop is open, you can quickly place merchandise and products into these storage solutions. Additionally, the plastic tubs and boxes can act as display tables and overflow storage for products.