Name of Company: Hearthstone
Name: David Kuhfhul, President
Location, email, phone website: 317 Stafford Avenue, Morrisville, VT 05661 www.hearthstonestoves.com, (802) 888-5235, dave@hearthstonestoves.com.
Description of your business/work? Hearthstone assembles and distributes wood, gas, and pellet stoves and fireplaces in Morrisville, Vermont for the north American market and Japan. We also import and relabel some products of high enough quality to wear the Hearthstone badge that we acquire from Germany and New Hampshire. We’ve had as many as 86 employees. We manufacture stoves made from cast iron and soap stone. Our brand is probably the most respected one in the industry because of the soapstone and high quality cast iron. Our cast iron comes from our parent company in Spain.
How long have you been in business? Hearthstone was founded in Morrisville in 1978, went bankrupt ten years later and was purchased by Industrias Hergom, a company from Spain.
How did you move to Morristown? I actually live in Lake Elmore. I got tired of commuting from Warren.
What do you like best about Morristown? Morristown is the hub of Lamoille County- this is where we shop, we go to the movies, Lost Nation Brewery, our bike trail is huge. There’s a lot here. It’s growing in a really positive way.
What new business would you like to see move to town? As a manufacturer in Morrisville, it’s a very tight market. We could use some technology based companies, something that would allow local young people to stay here. We could use a better manufacturing base.
What is on your wish list for the next five years of your business/career? The industry faces challenges so we are trying to point in some other directions. We are diversifying our business and looking at other relevant products to make since we have a foundry. That includes cookware and BBQ and fire pits.
Personal background: I’m from Staten Island. I’ve had a diverse background. I originally started my education in environmental sciences and eventually went to the College of Staten Island to finish up with an engineering degree while I was working for Proctor and Gamble. When they were closed the factory, I had a call from a headhunter in Vermont and moved to Williston. Later I worked at Energizer in Saint Albans and came here for an informational interview in 1995 and ended up joining Hearthstone. I live in Lake Elmore with my wife, Olena. I have a step daughter, Viktoria who is in college and another step daughter, Sandy, in San Diego. My son Tom sells drones for Northrop Grumman and my daughter Meagan works at Liberty Mutual in Boston. I have one grandchild and another on the way. I have camp on Butler Island on Lake Champlain and am building a skiff out of mahogany.
What was your first job? I was always tall and when I was ten I lied and said I was 12 to get a bicycle newspaper delivery job.
What was your most fun job? I’m going to say Hearthstone. In the beginning years we were growing 40% and growth is so much fun. We just had to figure out how to grow to keep up with the market and industry. We were always exploring new ways to do things, new technology, and hiring the best people you can find.
Favorite quote? The poem Today by Thomas Carlyle. The first stanza sort of sums it up: “So here hath been dawning/Another blue Day/ Think wilt thou let it/ slip useless away?”
If you could have dinner with one person dead or alive, who would it be and why? My grandfather, Percival Leason. He was a very well-known Australian artist and philosopher who studied the history of art and civilization and the cycles of human existence. He was just a complex individual that had deep thoughts about many interesting things. I read his biography and I guess I’d like to know more about him. I have a vague memory of him at four years old before he died.
What book did you read last? Issac’s Storm by Erik Larson
Wild card? Hearthstone is considered one of the best places in the area to work. Our pay scales are consistently high, our benefits packages are good. It’s a great company with a good philosophy and a good place to work. I’m proud to have driven this business for almost 20 years to where we’ve gotten to today. We have an amazing team of people we’ve built over the years.