Go BIG. Then go home! That was my mission this past March as I traveled for the first time to the HPBExpo in Dallas, Texas. And, what an entirely incredible experience – a destination event for those fueled by the flames of live fire cooking and outdoor lifestyle!

The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) is an international non-profit trade association representing the interests of the hearth products industry in North America, and has done so for nearly 40 years. The association includes distributors, manufacturers, manufacturers’ representatives, retailers, service and installation firms, and other associating companies. Members of the HPBA manufacture, import, distribute, sell, service, and represent products that include:

  • Factory-built fireplaces, gas logs, inserts, and hearth accessories
  • Wood, pellet, coal, gas and electric stoves
  • Barbecues, grills, ovens, smokers and outdoor cooking accessories
  • Patio furniture and outdoor lifestyle accessories

HPBExpo was on my culinary bucket list for several reasons, but this year I made it a point to attend, as we are beginning construction on our brand new outdoor kitchen and entertainment space. At the event I was able to get hands on with the industry’s finest barbecue, grilling and smoking equipment, while connecting with new and old friends, brands on the forefront of the industry, and shake hands and learn from titans of the association, like Dante Cantel and Brian Eskew of Twin Eagles Grills – I’m so dang proud to be working with these gentlemen and the Twin Eagles family as I build out my backyard kitchen and outdoor entertainment space.

From this event I directly connected with the most knowledgeable of folks in the design, engineering, and manufacturing business, while also getting a feel for the products and gathering introductions to trusted dealers in my marketplace, who seamlessly align product to design and installation. So critical to leverage local experts and specialists when constructing an outdoor entertainment space.

Via the HPBExpo and folks at Twin Eagles Grills I was introduced to local dealer and design specialist, Mike Smalligan, of Fireplace Gallery in Nunica, Michigan. After meeting, consulting with and reviewing Mike’s resume of work – I have complete confidence in him to be a key partner on this job. They will tag team with my builder, Brian Martin of Prime Homes, to help design our brand new outdoor kitchen space – Complete with wood fire pizza oven, breathtaking Twin Eagles Grills products, and all anchored with a stone bonfire pit nestled near the wooded area of our backyard. I may never go inside again!!

Very excited to get started on this project in the weeks ahead and greatly appreciate the collaboration of industry expertise to creatively guide the project and see through construction of the space that will be home to our family birthdays, bonfires with the best of friends and long holiday weekend over the barbecue. -Cheers, David