Hearth and Home Publisher Richard Wright sits down with True for the special August issue of Hearth and Home, “The Outdoor Room.” We’ve highlighted parts of the interview below; however, see the full article in this issue of Hearth and Home!
We’re aware that True has been around since 1945, but when did the outdoor line begin?
Proctor: “Officially, we launched in 2008.”
Oh, what great timing (Laughs)!
Proctor: “(Laughs). Wasn’t it though? We had dabbled a bit in it beforehand—we did the HPBExpo—but we really didn’t have our act together until 2008. It’s funny. We started making coolers for the soft drink industry and didn’t diversify into the commercial restaurant side of the business until about the early ‘70s, and really didn’t get that going until about ’81-’82. Of course, you couldn’t pick a worse time to enter a new market than either. So we’ve got a historical track record of entering the market when it’s down, but at the same time that tends to be a good thing because of the strength in our commitment to the product. We’ve done our due diligence, and being a family-owned company we’re able to ride that wave a little bit as opposed to some of the public companies out there that don’t necessarily have the patience.”
What’s your best-selling product for the outdoors?
Proctor: “It’s probably the glass door refrigerator or the refrigerator drawers. Those are two very popular models we sell a lot into outdoor applications.”
I assume all those products are going into something you and I would call an Outdoor Room. Correct?
Proctor: “I would say, yes, for the most part. We do have some customers that have a simpler outdoor venue, or outdoor kitchen, that you might not classify as a room. But most of the outdoor kitchens that our product goes into is a pretty elaborate space just because of the premium grade, the nature of our product and our customers who want something that is going to be able to be used, just as they use their indoor appliances. They want to create a space that is functional in the outdoors, and there are not a lot of products out there that will hold up year ‘round to the demands of the various climates like our product does.”
What have I not asked about your products or the Outdoor Room that you would like to discuss?
Proctor: “What really makes us distinct compared to a lot of other brands is in the use of materials. It’s pretty common with cooking equipment such as barbecue grills or burners, to use a certain grade of material and certain parts that have been weatherized for outdoor use. We take that same approach with our units. What’s distinct is that we use a 304-series stainless steel throughout the entire unit and that is something a lot of companies do not do, especially on the refrigerator side because it adds cost. By doing that, the product becomes something that can be installed on a beachfront property and not be susceptible to the damaging effect of saltwater. The other thing that is very unique with our product is we have a dual UL rating for both indoor and outdoor use, so you don’t have to go to another SKU. You don’t have to add a huge upcharge. It’s simple, and a testament to our brand.”