Tereaux Offers a New Angle on Outdoor

Tereaux CEO Derek Frye, left, and CMO Matt Biondi in the company’s booth at the 2024 BrandSource Summit.

New appliance business launched at BrandSource Summit

By Janet Weyandt, YSN

For more than 10 years, appliance expert Derek Frye harbored a secret wish to get into outdoor cooking. Professionally, that is. And then he decided he needed to change his life, and the two goals matched up perfectly.

He was working as head of sales for U.S. luxury brand ZLINE when the brainstorm occurred.

“I was living in Texas at the time, and I decided the food is really good down there,” he said. “I needed to change, or my life expectancy wouldn’t be what it should be. That led me to move to the Tahoe area in Nevada, to be outdoors and get moving. I wanted to do grills over a decade ago, but I had no idea how.”

He figured it out in the fall of 2022, when he left his employer and went all-in with his brainchild: Tereaux, a new outdoor appliance company that made its industry debut at the 2024 BrandSource Summit. There, the company launched its first product line of high-end grills and established a close link between the new business and independent appliance retailers.

Focus on Independents

One way Tereaux is cementing its relationship with independents is what Frye calls the shop-local pricing structure: The company will price its products so that independent dealers aren’t hurt by e-commerce dealers’ ability to undercut traditional retailers’ prices.

“It’s just a way to protect the independent dealer,” he said. “We think with the right dealer buy-in, it’ll be successful.”

It’s also good for Tereaux to align itself with independents, Frye said, because those are the dealers who really know how to make customers happy.

“You have higher returns rates with e-commerce than independent dealers,” he said. “If you want to be known as a company that provides the best experience, make sure the channels you use are providing that better customer experience.”

Frye and his team are working to build solid and long-lasting partnerships with BrandSource members.

“If I’ve got enough independent dealers that have their own websites, what do I need e-commerce for?” he said. “We’ll do the marketing; we’ll drive customers to your independent business. If you’ve never done outdoor, or if it’s failed in the past, I challenge you to give us a shot. We’ll bring customers to your door and it won’t be a product everyone has.”

Committed to Outdoor Living

Frye said now is a great time to get into the outdoor category because the industry has been sluggish for the past several years.

“Right now with traditional overstock, there’s an opportunity for a new player in the industry,” he said. “From COVID, a lot of the bigger manufacturers didn’t plan on a slowdown on some things, so I think there are opportunities that are out there. They’re more focused on getting rid of the inventory they have. There’s going to be a lot of changes in the outdoor grill space in next few years.”

And Tereaux wants to be on the leading edge of that change. Plans include expanding to other outdoor living categories including furniture and possibly off-grid camping, Frye said. The through-line is making it fun, efficient and feasible to do more living outdoors.

“As we continue to grow and our product line continues to grow, we’re going to have products for everyone: Outdoor furniture, firepits, camping products, grills,” he said. “A lot of those things are more geared toward your average American than the built-in grill, which is more of a luxury item. In order to launch properly, we wanted to launch with our best product first and we feel really strongly about having the best grill for the best price on the market.”

A Natural Partnership

Frye said he chose BrandSource because it’s the best fit with his goals for the company.

“Obviously, being in the appliance industry you meet a lot of people, but I always really, really loved the BrandSource staff,” he said. “It’s member-owned, and because of that there’s a better sense of community than some other places.”

The company’s mission of encouraging more quality outdoor time is a perfect fit with the culture of BrandSource, Frye added, and working with independent dealers to make it happen is Tereaux’s formula for success.

“We’re not in this to make money, we’re in this to see how many people we can bring along on the journey with us to success,” he said. “That success to us means providing for our dealers, for our customers and for our local communities. We’re in this to make a difference and we feel this is the best avenue to do that. I challenge you to keep me honest on that.”

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