The story of A Cozy Hearth Fireplace & Stove
Brian Bartholomew is the owner and operator of A Cozy Hearth Fireplace & Stove, LLC (www.acozyhearth.com), located at 1086 State Fair Blvd. in the town of Geddes. With a background of more than 15 years in the hearth industry, Bartholomew knew he had the experience and knowledge necessary to help customers make the right choices for their homes.
Bartholomew contacted the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College in August 2014 for guidance in pursuing his dream of opening and owning his own hearth retail operation after being downsized by his former employer. He wanted to put his experience to work and stated that “after being in the fireplace business for 15 years, seven in retail and eight as a manufacturer’s rep, I decided to open my own store. My goal is to listen to people’s needs and then give them the information they need to make an informed decision.”
I assisted Brian through the 20 hours of training to meet his Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) requirements. He successfully completed the “Fast Track to Business Start-Up” workshop, which covers business startup and operations from A-Z over three days and 20 hours of instruction.
Following his training, I met with Brian over two sessions to advise on his business plan, including reviewing his startup finances, marketing plan, and additional components required to ensure an efficient and successful startup.
Bartholomew says that “having never operated my own business I went to the SBDC for help building my business plan. They helped me to define who my customers would be and how to reach them through different marketing avenues. They teach you to look at things from different angles to make sure you cover all of your bases before making any decisions.”
A Cozy Hearth has been open since the fall of 2014. The business — located in a 1,950-square-foot, one story building — provides sales and service for gas fireplaces and inserts, gas stoves, pellet stoves, and wood fireplaces. It also offers grills and smokers for all of your summertime fun cook-out needs, and it is a Big Green Egg and Green Mountain Grills authorized dealer.
Firmly established, Bartholomew is now looking to grow his business. He recently re-opened his case with the Onondaga SBDC to connect with a BAIL (bankers, accountants, insurance agents, and lawyers) team. The BAIL team is often not only helpful but also necessary to grow and develop any business. Bartholomew is committed to constantly learning and growing to keep A Cozy Hearth Fireplace & Stove, LLC’s future glowing bright.
Advisor’s business tip: Take advantage of the relationships that the Onondaga SBDC office and advisors cultivate with various professional business-to-business service providers in the area.
Frank Cetera is an advanced certified business advisor at the SBDC located at Onondaga Community College. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org