Yes its true – Friendly Fires is now open in the most cursed location in Carleton Place. How it came about is an interesting (we think) story. Although Friendly Fires gets asked to sell & service product across Ontario, we prefer to remain local (close to our service locations) and refer out of town business to other local dealers. However, over the past few years, we have been receiving increased inquiries from the Lanark area and considering I was originally from Ottawa, that area has remained an interest for us. There is (was) a strong demand for Carleton Place Fireplaces!
Early this year, a local heating & air conditioning company went out of business in Pakenham. It had some amazing staff and they were now out of work. We seized the opportunity and committed to opening a local store. Although finding the right team is typically the most difficult part of a new venture, in this case, finding the right location was the challenge for us. The Mississippi Mills community was incredibly welcoming early on (we committed to bring local jobs to the area) and considering we had the team and systems already in place, all we needed was a location!
We searched Carleton Place and surrounding area for a few weeks looking for the best location. We wanted an amazing showroom and adequate warehouse area to ensure proper stock. Fireplaces and BBQs are a destination, so we didn’t need anything prime. The only good spot was a run-down strip mall on Hwy 7 that had been empty for years and years. For anyone who commuted from Ottawa to Peterborough – mention ‘Valley Plaza’ – and they know the spot. The previous landlord had left the mall in total disrepair, and as such, no business had been able to succeed. We were up for the challenge, and our team and local contractors worked for 12 straight weeks and got the project done (15 bins of garbage were removed)! We have neat pictures of the progress (and hiccups) on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FriendlyFires1) and on our website under our Pictures section.
We could not be happier with the result. Its one of the nicest showrooms in our company. Everyday we get people dropping by thanking us for having cleaned up the mall, and a number of our local customers have dropped by and business (so far) has exceeded our expectations.
Although we are new to the community, we want to thank everyone for the warm response (and business). Looking back, its pretty amazing what the Friendly Fires team accomplished in such a short period of time. Our team never ceases to amaze me.
Drop by and say hi to Paul and keep your suggestions for new store locations coming – who knows where we will open next…..