By Tessa Raebeck
At the flick of a switch, Mike Scanlon can make fire come out of water. Under his direction, an ordinary pond or fountain erupts in flames in a matter of seconds, creating an equally majestic and effective outdoor fire pit.
At Sag Harbor Fireplace, which Scanlon co-owns with his wife, Allison, fireplaces and stoves are available in all shapes and styles, from a fountain fire pit to a traditional mantled hearth.
“We do pretty much everything with fireplaces and wood stoves,” Mike said Monday, “We provide maintenance, we do repairs, pretty much soup to nuts – whatever needs to be done with a fireplace, we can do it.”
In its showroom on the Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike, Sag Harbor Fireplace has wood fireplaces and stoves, gas fireplaces and stoves, gas and wood burning inserts, gas logs, fireplace doors, outdoor products, wood fired ovens, cleaning products and more.
In business for over 11 years, Allison and Mike pride themselves on being “a small company servicing a small marketplace.” Mike runs the store and manages the service crews and Allison is behind the scenes, taking care of the bookkeeping and paperwork.
By limiting their clientele to homes located between Montauk and Westhampton, the Scanlons aim to ensure all employees are experts and all fireplaces are built from the ground up, with ample input from clients.
The entire business consists of the couple and four servicemen who have been working for the company for anywhere from five to 12 years.
“So,” said Mike, “I have guys who know what they’re doing…there are so many different fireplaces and things out there, so it takes a long time to learn. So I don’t want to expand in a way that I have to continue to hire more people, because then the people I hire won’t have the expertise that’s required to go out and do the work.”
That expertise is extensive. Sometimes Sag Harbor Fireplace collaborates with designers and architects to create a fireplace, but sometimes the design, installation and maintenance is an entirely in-house effort.
A part of the business that’s grown immensely in recent years is providing efficient, “green” fireplaces.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed by the federal government in 2009, includes a 30 percent consumer tax credit of up to $1500 for the purchase of 75 percent-efficient wood burning stoves. Because it is a tax credit, rather than a deduction, it either increases a consumer’s tax refund or decreases the amount of taxes they have to pay, dollar-for-dollar.
The credit has furthered an already growing interest in efficient energy sources.
“I have a number of fireplaces now that are built as fireplaces,” said Mike. “They burn looking like a fireplace, but they heat more like a wood stove. So, you’re getting the efficiencies of the wood stove, but the look of a fireplace.”
The efficiency and ease of use of these new fireplaces, Mike says, allow homeowners to be less dependent on oil. The Sag Harbor Fireplace showroom is heated with a wood or gas stove and the Scanlons’ home is heated with a wood burning fireplace and a wood stove.
“So,” said Mike, “the technology is definitely out there if they want to not be so reliant on fossil fuels.”
Outdoor fire pits are another growing trend in the hearth industry, especially gas fire pits.
“The gas fire pits,” Mike said, “give ease of use and a very large flame with no smoke.”
“And the best part about them,” he added, “is if you’re going outside and you’re going to be outside for an hour, you turn it on, it burns, you turn it off and you’re done.”
Sag Harbor Fireplace can design the burners in any shape or form, including those with flames that seemingly come out of water.
“It’s a matter of finding something that they like,” Mike says of his customers, “and there’s pretty much something for everybody who wants to burn wood and heat their house.”
The Sag Harbor Fireplace Showroom is located at 1434 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike in Sag Harbor. For more information, call (631) 725-0636 or visit sagharborfireplace.net.