Country Stoves started trading in 1979
The business was started by Martin Jarvis who had trained and qualified as an engineer. Having worked in the family engineering business for 15 years, the time came when he wanted a complete change of direction and had a "burning" desire to start his own business. A disagreement was all it took for Martin to resign at a board meeting, and he left on that day.
Having every intention of setting up his own engineering business, he started looking for suitable premises, however a recession at that time and a general downturn in engineering forced him to put his plans on hold. As a stop gap, a tool-hire business was set up (Country Garden Tool Hire) hiring out garden machinery alongside a further business (Country Gardens) which was involved in tree surgery and log supply.
As it happened, Dutch Elm disease was rife at the time and the demand for the removal of infected trees was colossal, Country Gardens became very successful. The demand for logs was also increasing as a result of the rising prices of oil and gas.
Having an endless supply of logs to hand Martin decided to install a Norwegian wood-burning box stove in his 200 year old cottage. Up until this time the heating was created by an open fire and an old oil-fired central heating boiler that barely managed to heat the water let alone the radiators. That little stove transformed the cottage which instantly became warm for the first time. It also had a hot plate on which you could boil a kettle.
The rest is history!
The interesting point about the box stove was the controllability
The box stove could be turned down at night with two or three logs burning slowly until morning which meant it could then be loaded up again to keep the home warm throughout the day. The remarkable thing was that significantly less fuel was being used for far greater heat. Martin realised that this was because the old open fire had burnt without control and lost much of the heat up the chimney. It had also created draughts which were eliminated with the sealed-in installation of the stove.
Martin quite naturally developed an interest in wood burning stoves and, having experienced a certain amount of difficulty in locating one, considered the possibility of selling them himself. One day in October 1979 he was driving through Cookham and noticed that the old greengrocer's shop had closed down. The lease was being sold by an estate agent who was situated immediately next door. One quick look around the premises and he decided on the spot the buy the lease.
Now being fully committed, a new company was formed dealing in stoves and the doors opened at Country Stoves on the 5th of November 1979.
The rest, as they say, is history.