PLATTSBURGH — Repairing large masonry pizza ovens. Constructing stone crypts and vaults. Matching antique bricks after a structure gets damaged. And oh yes, the basic service of building, cleaning and repairing chimneys. These are just a few of the services provided by Duane Bibeau of Bayside Chimney and Stoves.
Add to that the sale and servicing of a complete line of gas, pellet, electric and wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, and Bibeau decided he needed a simple way to relate all this to his customers.
So, to display all these wares and services, the company recently completed a new showroom at it’s headquarters at 10 South Platt Street in Plattsburgh.
The business wasn’t always as diversified as it is now.
“We started the chimney business first,” Bibeau said, explaining that it involved cleaning, repair, scanning, inspections, rebuilds and new construction.
His father was a mason, and Bibeau worked with him off and on from a young age all through secondary school and college.
When he graduated, Bibeau got a job at Wyeth and did chimney work in his off hours, running from one occupation to the other. When his Wyeth job got outsourced, he was able to focus on his chimney business full-time.
After trying various sites, Bibeau moved into his current location last September. With extensive renovations, he was able to maximize space, incorporate bays for his trucks and create office and storage areas. The recently complete showroom was the icing on the cake.
Not all his business involves chimneys or fireplaces.
“We do a ton of masonry repair work,” Bibeau said, citing an example at Paul Smith’s College when a tractor-trailer truck backed into some of their special brickwork.
Fortunately, Bibeau buys and stocks a wide variety of used brick and was able to make the repair.
“If you have a chimney built in the 1800s, chances are we can match that brick,” Bibeau said.
While about 20 percent of his business is non-chimney-related masonry, chimney work still accounts for about 40 percent.
“Now, with the stove shop, it just keeps growing,” Bibeau said.
The showroom has allowed customers to make informed decisions.
“When we get to a customer’s home, they have a level of comfort dealing with us,” he said.
If a fireplace, wood stove or other heating system is beyond repair, Bibeau can offer a new one with the latest technology, designs and innovations.
Currently, gas fireplaces are among the most popular items. Bayside can do all the masonry, finish work and wiring.
“If you want to have a flat-screen TV above it, we can run all the cables,” Bibeau said.
Rather than starting over, lots of customers are staying put and improving what they already own.
“I think with the economy the way it is, people are investing in what they have, not selling it and buying something different,” he said. “It’s a lot more cost effective.”
Many people who are tired of burning wood have switched to pellet stoves.
“The bags are easy to handle,” Bibeau said of the pre-dried wood pellets, explaining that there’s a hopper on top that feeds them into the stove.
You still can have a flame, but without all the dust and mess associated with wood.
“We see quite a bit of savings for people,” Bibeau said.
There are even window units and pellet grills for smoking or barbecuing. They recently prepared 60 pounds of pork loin, top round and chicken for their Christmas in July sale and open house.
Even modern woodstoves are much more efficient with a secondary combustion system that burnes flue gases. But Bibeau still has chimneys that have to be cleaned several times a year as the result of improper drafts or insufficiently cured or improperly stored wood.
“It burns the smoke again so the emissions are a lot less and you get more BTUs for the same amount of wood,” Bibeau said of the new stoves.
Stainless-steel chimney liners that aid in the proper drafting of the appliance can make the system even more efficient.
And when it comes to cleaning, Bibeau has a tow-behind lift and can service chimneys without ever stepping on the roof.
They provide service from Rouses Point to Ticonderoga and from Malone to the Paul Smiths area.
“I enjoy trying to educate people,” Bibeau said. “When we finish a job, it’s a safer environment for them than it was before we got there.”
For more information, call 569-7470 or visit www.baysidechimney.com.