They have been keeping homes warm and cozy in the lakes area since 1997

The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. Winter is coming.

(L to R) Andy Braatz, fireplace and HVAC installer, and Jerry Aaberg, fireplace sales, at The Fireplace Store in Alexandria stand in front of the electric fireplace area in their new showroom. Andy and Jerry have been helping with their gas and electric fireplaces for many years. Photo by Jim Palmer

What better way to bring warmth and comfort to your home or cabin during the colder months than a fireplace.

The Fireplace Store in Alexandria has been helping families with their fireplace needs since 1997. They offer a wide selection of gas and electric fireplaces, many of them displayed in their newly remodeled showroom. On top of that, The Fireplace Store also offers a full suite of installation services.

“We like to do the complete project from start to finish,” said Jerry Aaberg, who has been selling fireplaces for about 28 years.  “We can frame it, stone it and have it installed. We like to make it a turnkey operation so they don’t need to call anyone else.”

The Fireplace Store is a division of Ellingson Plumbing, Heating, A/C & Electrical. This allows the team at The Fireplace Store to provide venting, gas piping, electrical and stonework in a very efficient manner without having to hire multiple contractors.

In addition to having all-inclusive service, The Fireplace Store also offers peace of mind. Each fireplace installed comes with a 12-year parts and labor warranty option.

Can’t decide which style of stone you want to use to decorate the face of the fireplace, or how big the mantle should be? The Fireplace Store can help.

“Because of our experience, we can also give ideas and suggestions,” said Andy Braatz, who has 20 years in the HVAC industry and 16 years working at The Fireplace Store.

Does your fireplace just need a face lift with new stone?  Do you want to convert a wood fireplace to a gas fireplace. Looking for a backup heat system? Or a supplemental heat system? Looking for a corn or pellet heater? A more efficient fireplace?  New installation? A retro fit? They can handle all of those things. In fact, if it has anything to do with fireplaces, the team at The Fireplace Store can handle it. They work with gas fireplaces, gas fireplace inserts, contemporary wall-mount gas fireplaces, electric fireplaces, free-standing stoves, classic wood-burning stoves, wood fireplaces and outdoor fireplaces. They also offer a full line of stones, mantels, hearths and outdoor fire tables and bowls.

“We can get pretty much any stone or accessory that you want,” said Jerry.

The Fireplace Store carries several leading brands including Minnesota based Heat & Glo, Heatilator, Quadra-Fire, Regency, Modern Flame, Dimplex and Boulder Creek Stone. All their brands are on full display in a brand new showroom.

Jerry and Andy have witnessed several changes and trends in the fireplace industry over the last 20 years. They have also seen their share of fireplaces that have been in need of repair or are not working quite right.  They said one mistake people often make with fireplaces is wanting a unit that is just too big for the space.

The Fireplace Store’s brand new showroom features more than 40 gas and electric fireplaces. It is located at 2510 South Broadway Street in Alexandria. Photo by Jim Palmer

“People want to go big, but sometimes they want to go too big,” said Andy. “Or they want to put too big of a TV above the fireplace.”

And if they have a fireplace with too much heat for the space, there may be options.  

“When they get into a bigger fireplace, sometimes we can direct some of the heat to other rooms in some cases,” said Jerry. “There are more options today than there was in the past for directing air into other rooms.”

“The industry has been adjusting to the fact that people want a bigger fireplace, so they are giving people more options.” said Andy.

While gas fireplaces continue to be the most popular, electric fireplaces have gained some popularity in recent years.

“Electric fireplaces you get the ambiance of a fireplace without all the heat,” said Jerry. “There is some heat that comes off the electric but it is often more for looks. That is why it often works good in bedrooms. If you put 20,000 BTUs in a regular-sized bedroom it isn’t going to take too long before it is way too hot. For a situation like that, electric is a good option.”

Jerry added that electric fireplaces are cost effective and can be used in nearly any room because they don’t require a gas line or duct work. And the look of an electric fireplace is unique. 

“Electric fireplace companies are now designing their own look and that has helped improve sales,” said Andy. “They aren’t trying to look like the gas fireplaces anymore.”

Technology has also evolved, not only in electrics, but all models. New, easy-to-use remotes, touchscreen controls and cool glass technology are some of the more recent advances.

One question/concern that often come up from homeowners looking into gas fireplaces revolves around safety.

“Professional installation and maintenance by a qualified technician help ensure the performance and safety of a fireplace and its venting system.” said Jerry. “We always encourage people to ask questions about fireplace safety. Once they see the process and see the testing that I do they feel better about it.”

The Fireplace Store has installed hundreds and hundreds of fireplaces in the area and have hundreds and hundreds of satisfied customers. Much of their growth is a result of repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals.

“That means, hopefully, that we are doing something right,” smiled Jerry.

Testimonials like this one affirm Jerry’s statement.

“We had a great installer who answered all of our questions and did a very clean and professional install. I would absolutely recommend this company,” said Jake D.

Helping customers install a fireplace that works well in their home is very satisfying, said Jerry and Andy. And so is reconnecting with repeat customers.

“I took out a fireplace the other day and replaced it with a new one,” said Andy, “The old fireplace was one that I had installed 16 years ago. There was a shim in there that I wrote measurements on. I have done a lot of fireplaces but I remember that one.”

To enhance the entire fireplace shopping experience, The Fireplace Store has completely revamped its showroom.

“Sometimes it can be hard to visualize what you are looking for, but if you come in and check them out in person, it really helps,” said Jerry.

The new showroom includes nearly 40 operational fireplaces on display from all the brands carried by The Fireplace Store.

Jerry is really excited about the new models added to the showroom.

Andy Braatz from The Fireplace Store works on the installation of a gas fireplace. Photo by Jim Palmer

“We have a see-through gas fireplace, so you can have one fireplace that can bring two rooms of enjoyment,” he said. “We have the luxurious Foundation Series gas fireplace with all the bells and whistles.”

One of the gas fireplaces is even glass free.

“We have the Phoenix TrueView gas fireplace with a glass-free view and the authentic look of a traditional wood fireplace with the simplicity of gas,” said Jerry.

Not everything in the showroom is brand new. In fact, one of the highlights of the showroom is very old.

“One of our display fireplace mantels is made from 160 year old reclaimed barn wood from our owner’s farm,” said Jerry.

If a customer knows the size of the fireplace area, Jerry said he can give them an estimate on a fireplace right on the spot.

“Or you can also just give us a call and we can come over for a free in-home estimate,” he said.

  The Fireplace Store is located at 2510 South Broadway Street in Alexandria (next to the movie theater). They can be reached by phone at 800-595-8645. The Fireplace Store is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m.-noon. If those times do not work, Jerry will find a time that works.

“Come on in and take a look,” said Jerry.

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