Rich’s Has a Rich 32-Year History

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Larry Marianne Chapman “In 1979, Larry Chapman was an executive with Sears Roebuck in Los Angeles when he decided to move his family to the Seattle area and enter the real estate business which, at the time, was booming.”

The cover story in the March 2011 issue of Hearth & Home* magazine features Rich’s, and includes the story about how Rich’s came to be. We thought you’d enjoy reading excerpts from Bill Sendelback’s fantastic feature, “Finding a Way”:

“Just when the family was settled in Seattle, the real estate boom was over and Chapman was looking for another job.

‘Larry, have I got a business for you!’ said Chapman’s sister, Ann. That business was selling wood stoves, then a skyrocketing market but something about which the Larry and Marianne Chapman (pictured, right) knew next to nothing.

Two months later they were dealers for Orley Wood Stoves, a now-defunct Oregon manufacturer of a unique cylindrical, ornate wood stove.

‘We didn’t sell much that first year,’ remembers Larry, ‘but we learned a lot, and boy, did we have fun.’

It all started with that first 2,000 sq. ft. showroom in Lynnwood, Washington, that has now grown into five stores surrounding the Seattle-Tacoma market and totals 72,000 sq. ft. of showrooms.

What began with just one brand of wood stoves has now grown into

  • Barbecue grills and accessories
  • Patio furniture
  • Outdoor rooms
  • Spas and hot tubs
  • A complete selection of hearth products

Larry Chapman and his wife, Marianne, still run the show at Rich’s. Their son, Jon Chapman, is in charge of corporate operations and daughter Jennifer Parrick plans the yearly redesign of product displays in all the stores.

Jon Jim Dennis
Above: Jon Chapman, operations manager; Jim Van Normal, general
manager, and Dennis DeMartini, sales manager.

The article concludes:

“The folks at Rich’s are reluctant to toot their own horn about their success. But Perry Ranes, director of sales for Travis Industries (manufacturer of Lopi, Avalon, and Fireplace Xtrordinair hearth products), sees many other things that will continue to make Rich’s successful and profitable.

‘Rich’s focuses on the little things – clean windows, restrooms and parking lots. Their stores have a high-end feeling. They reach out to capture customers and are not afraid to do research and try something new. When their competitors are standing around, Rich’s finds ways to move ahead.’”

Fast Facts About Rich’s

Showrooms:

  • Lynnwood (flagship store and company headquarters): 22,000 sq. ft.
  • Bellevue: 15,000 sq. ft
  • Tacoma: 15,000 sq. ft.
  • Tukwila/Southcenter: 15,000 sq. ft
  • Silverdale: 5,000 sq. ft

Number of employees: 65

*Hearth & Home is the leading trade journal serving the hearth, barbecue and patio furnishings industries.

More About Rich’s in Hearth & Home Magazine

 

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