Penticton eco-friendly business that has been around for over 60 years sees great success during the pandemic

Heating homes for 68 years

Casey Richardson

“Community Cornerstones,” is a five-part series highlighting different longstanding local businesses every week throughout Penticton.

A Penticton business that focuses on designing super-efficient, eco-friendly hearth products has grown over many years from being a local business to an international one, boasting top of this line wood and gas-burning freestanding stoves.

“The company started way before my time back in 1953 and its modern version, as in what you see today, really it started in the late ’80s,” Alan Murphy, president of Blaze King said.

Since 1977 the company has focused on wood stove efficiency, working to put out minimal pollutants and making sure it follows Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.

“The whole wood industry has come huge leaps and bounds in being clean and if we can take a natural renewable resources and use them to heat your home in an incredibly efficient, incredibly clean way, it’s the future.”

Murphy joined Blaze King in 2011, becoming president in 2015. What attracted him to the company was the already standing reputation and the opportunities.

“Blaze King back in the day has always had the most efficient, cleanest-burning wood stoves in the world,” Murphy said. “What attracted me was the potential with the new legislation that’s coming on board for the company and I wanted to be part of that.

The B.C. government funds a wood stove exchange program alongside other municipalities and regional districts, exchanging rebates to replace older, dirty wood stoves with new and cleaner sources of heat, such as electric heat pumps, gas or pellet stoves, or cleaner-burning emission-certified wood stoves.

“For us, we have bio-energy, renewable fuel - wood, trees. And we have a lot of those in BC particularly. But it’s the way we transform that energy into heat for your home, that wood, fuel source.

In 1984, Blaze King saw certification awarded from Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality to their very first Wood Stove.

The company stated that by 1992, our catalytic wood stoves led the industry for efficiency and burn times and they began expanding their line of hearth products to include gas stoves and fireplace inserts.

Now because of their continued success and growth, Blaze King currently employs over 60 people in Penticton and 20 down in Washington,

“We have a wonderful, wonderful crew and they’re all engaged and specifically in these challenging times of COVID we’ve been able to keep going,” Murphy added. “Everyone had remained healthy and gainfully employed.”

The company even saw growth throughout the pandemic in sales, with people working at home and improving their interiors.

“We’ve been very lucky. We’re in an industry where there’s a lot of demand for home improvement and we’re in one of those home improvement industries. We had continuous, consistent employment in Penticton for decades and that just helps the whole community to grow. By growing the community we get support from our people around us and we all win.”

Next up for the company is a gas linear fireplaces, currently testing their newest development for approval. The company has also just invested over $1 million in new equipment.

“Ongoing research and development to push the boundaries of clean-burning renewable energy systems...This is what the future is really,” Murphy said.

To find out more about Blaze King and its products, visit their website here.

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