I just returned from our annual national workshop, a 3-plus day meeting on Amelia Island just outside of Jacksonville, FL. If nothing else, it was a nice reprieve from our Iowa winter. While it was certainly not tropical (one day of sun, upper 60’s versus 3 days of rain, fog and low 50’s), I did go 4 days without seeing snow and ice on the decks, porches and patios around Central Iowa.
But, it certainly was something else…more than a nice reprieve from a harsh Iowa winter. Our annual meetings give us a chance to reconnect with our cohorts in outdoor living including our franchisor’s management and support team and the many Archadeck offices across North America. Our office was even recognized with a couple of awards (customer service, web site) at our opening banquet! Our meetings also provide a venue to learn about new and evolving support and product offerings, both from our franchisor and from the various product and service vendors in our industry.
- From TimberTech we learned about the value of their new ReliaBoard and the increasing number of deck railing options through their “mix-and-match” railing offering
- From Azek we learned of new deck board and deck railing styles and colors as well as the increased market share PVC-based decking like theirs is attaining
- Both Fortress Rail and Feeney Cable Rail provided benefits of using their unique and aesthetically-pleasing deck railing offerings
But for me, the most exciting new support and product offering we learned about relates to outdoor kitchens. As featured by HGTV, DIY and the Food Network among others, outdoor cooking’s popularity is due both to the desires to live outdoors and to live healthy. Whether on your deck, your patio or even in an enclosed space such as a screen porch or sunroom, outdoor kitchens help bring the indoors out! Check back here and on our web site (see link at right) for more information on how we can help you “Get Cooking in 2010!”
Overall, we had a great meeting and its good to be back in Des Moines and (re-)inspired for outdoor living spaces. Now…about this Central Iowa weather…