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Fireplace Supply Company opened Labor Day in Berlin

(Sept. 12, 2014) With winter just around the corner and some experts predicting a repeat of last year’s frigid temperatures, Berlin’s newest business is poised for a breakout year.

Owners Glen and Carla Rantz opened Fireplace Supply Company, Inc on Labor Day. Ocean City resident Betty Sturgis, a receptionist, has been working with the Worcester County Development Center since 1977. (Josh Davis | Ocean City Today)

Fireplace Supply Company, Inc., located on 10452 Old Ocean City Boulevard near Save A Lot, offers dozens of gas, wood and pellet fireplaces providing ambience as well as in-home heating.

Owners Glen and Carla Rantz opened the store on Labor Day.

“We’ve been in business since 1999,” said Glen. “We kind of evolved – when we first opened we were just doing construction. From ’99 through 2006 of course it was great over here on the beach and we really didn’t need a store.”

After opening a small office space in Pocomoke, the couple saw a need for an expanded retail space in Worcester County.

“We’re looking for local people who have gas fireplaces and wood fireplaces that need updating,” Glen said. “It’s a harsh environment on the beach here and most fireplaces only have a shelf life of about 15 or 20 years, so we recognize that there is a need to replace those.

“We’re also looking for new construction builders in general in the lower Delaware and Worcester County area,” Glen continued. “We’re looking to expand into that market. We’re trying to get everybody – we want everybody interested in our products.”

The store specializes in complete fireplaces and stoves rather than individual products like tools and accessories. Glen said the showroom is  “just a taste of what we have.”

“If you don’t see what you want in here chances are you can order it,” he said. “We’re a dealer for a lot of different brands and we’re trying to have something to appeal to everybody. We have zero-clearance fireplaces designed for new constructions and things and then we have inserts, gas logs, and we have stoves of gas, wood and pellets. It’s a small store, but you’ll find a lot of products that cover a broad area.”

Glen prefers to take a wholesale approach to his products. Carla, on the other hand, prefers gas units.

“It’s the most convenient,” she said. “All you have to do is flick a switch and you’ve got heat. They’re definitely more efficient than they used to be and we carry higher-end brands, so what we carry is definitely efficient.”

“You have several types of buyers,” Glen said. “You have the buyer that’s looking for ambience and wants a unit that puts out a little bit of heat but they don’t want the mess – they want the comfort and the ease. That’s somebody that falls into a gas fireplace category. You set the temperature and hit a button on your remote control and it’s beautiful.”

Other customers looking to avoid high heating bills due to out-of-date heat pumps could benefit from a pellet or woodstove.

“If a buyer strictly wants to save on their heating bills they’ll definitely want to go to a pellet or heating stove,” he said. “They want to see the savings at the end of the year. It’s a proven fact that if you’re comparing gas or oil to wood or pellets it generally runs about 50 percent cheaper to use that fuel rather than the other, so your appliance costs typically will pay for itself – if we have a season like last year – in one or two seasons.”

Glen said the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another harsh winter.

“Quite frankly it’s been one of the coldest summers I can remember – up until last week – in many, many years,” he said.

If their endeavors continue to be successful, the store could expand into carrying other outdoor items.

“We sell outdoor items, but we don’t have any room to show outdoor furniture and fireplaces,” Carla said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to get another spot.”

“That’s our five-year plan – maybe to have another store right beside us here,” said Glen. “There’s not really a place around here like that, so there’s kind of a need for it.”

For more information call 410-632-9944 or visit www.fireplacesupplyco.com.

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