Introducing the Sutter blog
By way of introduction to the first “official” Sutter Blog, a little history seems in order. I’ll try to keep it brief and edit out the juicy parts for later…
Starting a business in Seattle in 1979 was in many ways no different than starting one today. There’s nothing like youthful exuberance mixed with naivete to propel a person forward.
After spending three years at a woodstove manufacturing company, I was convinced that there were better products and a better way to bring them to the marketplace.
This was the genesis of the Sutter Home Woodstove Co. Catalog. A little later on, I found an old, vacant building in Ballard that appeared much different in 1979 than it does today.
On the cusp of the energy “crises,” it made sense that high-efficiency cast-iron wood stoves could bring some energy independence to folks willing to cut, stack, store, and age their heating fuel. In 1980 I was joined by my future business partner John Miner.
I soon learned that many of our customers were unfamiliar with the nature of wood heat. I discovered that our real job was to inform them of how these products could be safely installed and operated. The need for reliable information presented in an understandable fashion has shaped our philosophy ever since.
Developing cleaner woodstoves, gas stoves, and fireplaces
As more and more stoves came into use in the 1980s, it became apparent that wood smoke and particulates from improper combustion were contributing to unhealthy air in our Emerald City. As a result, woodstove manufacturers developed cleaner burning technology and we saw the evolution of gas-fired stoves and fireplaces. Today, you can see the evidence of this technology in a broad selection of products with both fuel choices.
In the early days, the business was highly seasonal with stove sales and installations concentrated heavily in the months from September to March.
In 1982 we opened a second location in Kirkland. Several years later, in 1986, we added barbecues to our product selection and moved our Kirkland store to Woodinville.
In September of 2011, we moved our Seattle store from Ballard Avenue to Leary Way in Ballard, or as we like to call it; “Freelard” (between Ballard and Fremont). The following year we were pushed out of our Woodinville location by the ever-expanding “Napa North” wine-tasting area. Unable to find a suitable re-location and influenced by the busy “season,” we elected to consolidate our business in the newer Leary Way location.
With our newer, larger facility we are able to display more products. And thanks to our talented team, we offer installation, estimations, and service crews from Vashon Island to Bellevue and Mercer Island to Mukilteo.
A condensed history like this makes me feel a bit underwhelmed by what we have accomplished over the years. However, from 2 people in 1979 to 25 people today, we believe that more growth is in our future.
Written by Mike Duval, Sutter Home & Hearth founder.