Business profile: Ron’s Open Flame Shop

ZZ Ron's photo for business profileBy Jim Eastin

With the early morning temperatures in the single digits, it was a pleasure to be in a room full of wood and gas fireplaces. Ron’s Open Flame Shop is on Wears Valley Road across from the new McDonald’s. Standing with my backside to one of those fireplaces, it was a toasty place for an interview.

Ron Pierpont is a tall, outgoing man with a hearty personality and an expressive face. When you are talking with him you know you have his undivided attention.

“We specialize in new construction fireplaces and remodeling,” Ron says. “We do the trim work, iron work and electrical. We are a turnkey fireplace company. We will frame it, install it, run the lines and finish it with rock or whatever else you want.”

Ron told me that he was born in Milford, CT to a family that descended from the Pilgrims. He moved south to attend Salem College in West Virginia to become a science teacher. He found work there in a glass factory to help pay for school and a large part of that work was making tempered glass fireplace fronts. Since he had trained to be a science teacher at college, he came further south expecting to teach as his career. But when he got to Sevier County he couldn’t find a teaching job. In 1979, he went to work instead for Standard Kitchen and Hearth company as their operations manager. That company was the first one in Sevier County to offer gas logs with a remote control and it became a very big seller.

The trouble in those days was that gas fireplaces still required electricity to operate remotely. Ron was determined to solve that problem. He came up with a novel way to have a non-electric fireplace with remote control. It turns out that the pilot light of a gas fireplace creates a tiny electrical field and can be harnessed to create a small thermoelectric generator. Voila, a remote controlled gas fireplace with no outside electricity needed. It is a technology that is still used in fireplaces today.

Ron started his own business in 1982 and moved it into what was then outside of Pigeon Forge on Wears Valley Rd. They do pellet, wood, gas and electric fireplaces and stoves, and custom accessories.”

He prides himself on his customer service. “We bend over backward to please our customers,” he says.” Visit Ron Pierpont at the following address and website:

Ron’s Open Flame

513 Wears Valley Rd. Suite 7

Pigeon Forge TN 37863

www.OpenFlameShop.com

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