As we enter the half way point of the fireplace season, its fair to summarize that the weather has not cooperated. Fireplace sales are weather driven – cold brings in customers (just like the winter tire or air conditioning industries). So one would assume that fireplace sales are down this year…. But, this is not the case. Our efficient wood and gas burning product sales are up again this year. And this does not include the benefit of our new Carleton Place Store store, which has surpassed our sales expectations.
I asked a new Friendly Fires customer this week why they were purchasing when it was so warm outside, and his answer: I’m tired of my hydro bills. When I inquired with our sales team, this was a common theme. Although saving money is definitely a reason that our customers have purchased from us in the past, never has a single reason polarized so many of our customers. This has also reflected on our alternative energy and solar business – customers are angry about their hydro bills.
Reflecting on the issue, its fair to assume that Government will not change – even if we do elect a different political party next election that will undoubtedly ‘promise change.’ Don’t we always seem to vote for a party that is ‘promising change’?
That said, I do find it empowering that a customer can purchase a product from Friendly Fires (or hundreds of other great retailers) that allow them to completely remove themselves from the reliance of Government when it comes to heating their home. Wood and pellet burning is rarely mentioned in the conversation of an efficient environmentally friendly way to heat – but the reality – its the only carbon neutral way to heat a home. I always find it interesting that Hydro subsidies thermostats, efficient lighting, etc… things that sometimes help reduce hydro consumption. Why not subsidize a product that can eliminate hydro consumption all together? Solar panels, gas and wood burning products allow home owners an environmentally and cost effective way to heat their homes. And looking at how politicians manage these hydro monopolies, it would appear that its a bright future for fireplace & solar stores.
On behalf of all fireplace stores in Ontario, thank you Hydro One.