Sylvester Cleary, of Forestville, New York, suggested to me, on a Sunday Morning in the Summer of 2016, at Forestville Wesleyan Church (“Church on the hill”): it may be a good idea to invest in showing the Rocket Stoves at the Chautauqua County Fair already. The idea was: the sooner – the better. Even if there’s not a big result right after this – doing it now may plant the seed – make connections – and it will be well received at least after the next time around. Exposure was certainly imminent and pressing. I’ve pretty much gone to the fair every year since I was a little kid. I love the fair, and yearned for sharing.
So, I applied and found out that I needed to acquire liability insurance for the business, in order to vend at the fair. This was already a relatively big investment and now it was going to be bigger. I did research and found that this might be out of my range of affordability. I mean, technically, I couldn’t afford ANY thing more – but we’re talking a new business here, and it’s true – you sometimes have to lose money to make money. But MAN – the numbers I was being quoted were big. I guess something about “I make and sell ‘Rocket Stoves’ – outdoor wood-burning cooking appliances” sounded like a high liability. It’s only FIRE. … Anyway, it felt hopeless. I had sent out a call for help on Facebook, asking for recommendations and received many – I tried all of the recommendations in addition to my own findings – and none worked. I felt like giving up. But, then It happened. Derek at Mayville Tremaine in Fredonia was able to swiftly provide a quote that was significantly lower than I expected. $340 for twelve months. I went with it, as a necessary investment better sooner than later. So, I’m not just covered for the fair, but all other events as well. Thanks to Derek, thanks to all those who worked to get me a quote, and thanks to those who made recommendations.
The prepping had begun. Of course, someone said, “You should have a bunch of stoves there for people to buy on the spot.”. That was very true. With the week that I had, I figured I could crank out a dozen units. I needed more materials.
I found myself making trips to Home Depot after work, on my way home. I had been buying Portland Cement for a while and now I was buying it a lot more frequently. So… this was bound to happen…
by the way, if you were trying to buy perlite at home depot but there was none, that was my fault.
I was pushing myself to accomplish my goal. Hands were dried out, body was covered in cement from bare-feet to hair, and the house was a catastrophe. BUT, I was doin it.
I had accomplished my goal. Now I had twelve units in addition to the six units I already was using for demonstrations.
I still needed fuel to use for my demonstrations during the whole week of the fair. Went looking around for already cut timber. Found some nice sized logs I could buy along route 20 in Sheridan, but I thought that might not smell good. I called up my good friend Tom DeGolier who is an arborist, and I asked Tom about them – he suggested not using them if I could help it. But he said he knew where to find some good wood. Long story shorter – I found myself over at Tom’s neighbor’s helping Tom cut up fallen Maples, Beech, and Ash. Good sweet scented wood. Blessed. I now got special Maple from DeGolier territory, thanks to Tom.
It was Time to stack it at my spot at the fairgrounds. Will be burnin it proudly announcing that it’s Maple wood from DeGolier Maple Ya know? I even cut a bunch myself and split with Tom himself! Whata dude.
I realized: I have to work a regular 40 hour work week Monday thru Friday, so, only til after 5 will I be at the fair. Yes all day Saturday & Sunday, but who’s gonna be there Monday thru Friday til 5? Ma n Dad. and boy was I grateful.
My Mom, Amy Jackino, suggested holding a drawing for a free rocket stove, at the fair and she offered to sponsor it. The free rocket stove would be a Bare model with handles, a $50 value.
Thank you Dave the foreman from the Fredonia Fire Department for takin a picture of me playin guitar while cookin a (Stand Fast Farm’s Exclusively Grass Fed Beef ) steak over a rocket stove, for my people, at my favorite county fair, in my favorite county.
Fun was had. Still had work at the trucking company full time, Monday through Friday, during the day. But the fairgrounds was closer to work than home, so,
I camped right there at the fair.
121 people entered the drawing for a free Rocket Stove at the Chautauqua County Fair, sponsored by Amy Jackino (My mom!). After the crowd left Sunday night, the jar was shaken and a volunteer from Santillo’s stand blindly picked one slip from the jar. The name on the slip was Amy Kornacki.
Amy Kornacki, from Cheektowaga, NY won a free Rocket Stove. When Amy was called, an offer was made to subtract the value of the prize ($50) from a model of her choice, or to just take the prize. Amy chose to take $50 off a FrankenBruce ($120) and only pay $70. She said she loves it so much and she wants to give it as a present for her dad.
Thanks Amy! Thanks to all participants and the sponsor: Amy Jackino. Lets do it again sometime. (Always accepting sponsors).
The fair allowed me to show and tell the stoves to many people, I got to meet and talk with several cool folks, I learned a few things, received some awesome ideas, made connections, and sold six rocket stoves. It was a good, fun time. Sylv, this WAS a good idea.